Born in Bihar, Manish Jha completed his graduation in Delhi and later came to Mumbai to pursue a career in cinema. The short film A Very Very Silent Film won him the Jury Prize for the Best Short Film at the Cannes. At 23, Jha happens to be one of the youngest directors to have won an award at Cannes. Mathrubhoomi is his first feature film.
Mathrubhoomi- A Nation Without Women - 2003 - Hindi
According to a recent report by UNESCO there are around 50 million women missing from the population of India due to gender discrimination. The film takes a look at the instability this social imbalance causes, which can be physical, emotional and psychological.
A girl is sold and married to five brothers. All five and the father-in-law exercise their conjugal rights in turn. She gets close to the youngest brother, the only one who treats her as a human being much to the chagrin of his father and brothers, and he is killed. She turns to her father for refuge but the father blinded with money too lets her down. After her attempt to escape with the low caste family servant boy unwittingly triggers off a caste war, she is clapped in iron chains in a cowshed and raped repeatedly by her family and the low castes as well. When she finally becomes pregnant, everyone claims paternity. In the throes of the devastating caste war that ensues over her, she gives birth to a girl.
Direction & Screenplay: Manish Jha