SITA is a 19-minute short film written and directed by Abhinav Singh that stars Shriya Pilgaonkar and child actor Om Kanojiya. With its moving story, the film examines the caste system and female foeticide in Indian society. It addresses the long-standing practice of casteism and how it is deeply ingrained in Indian culture and society.
SITA is currently available to watch on Disney Plus Hotstar.
The film begins with a man from a privileged caste driving near a temple late at night. He is a Lord Ram devotee, and for a few seconds, the director shines the spotlight on the idols of Ram, Lakshman, Sita, and Hanuman in the car. The man carries the body of a dead newborn baby girl and abandons her near the temple steps. While he may believe no one is watching, a young boy named Badri (Om Kanojiya) sees everything unfolding in front of his eyes.
When Badri discovers the deceased baby girl, he wishes to perform the last rites, but it is not as simple as it appears. Even though the boy explains that the girl belongs to the upper caste and describes the man who leaves the dead girl near the temple, the priest at the nearby crematory turns him down because Hindu casteism rules do not allow a lower caste to perform such rituals. Then Badri meets Maithili (Shriya Pilgaonkar), a mysterious woman sitting by the river in complete darkness, from whom he learns the harsh reality of life.
Om Kanojiya and Shriya Pilgaonkar are good in their roles. In fact, their gripping conversation serves as the film’s central theme.
SITA is a heartrending take on the brutal caste system and gender inequality prevalent in Indian society. The film has also been praised for its mystical feel. Finally, while the film may not be comfortable for everyone, its theme and the irrational social practice will strike a chord and leave you thinking.