‘Beti’ is a feature film which ridicules gender discrimination which patriarchy has made the norm in society.
Monaka, a tailor by profession, belongs to the Byary Muslim community in Muththupadi, a small village in coastal Karnataka. His only daughter Julekha is dumb by birth. Monaka fortunately comes across Sulaiman, who is like an aspirant in search of a father-in-law who will arrange for his visa to fly to Dubai. Julekha and Sulaiman are married. Sulaiman wishes that he should have only a son. After living with his wife four about six months, he goes to Dubai.
Julekha gives birth to a daughter! Fearing the consequences of his son-in-law’s insistence on having a son, Monaka conceals the gender of the child while conveying the news that Julekha has delivered a child. Believing that the child is a boy, Sulaiman suggests that it be named ‘Salman’, but it is called by the name ‘Salma’ by Monaka’s family.
Five years later, Sulaiman plans to visit Muththupadi. Monaka’s family is scared to receive Sulaiman who would be coming to “visit” his child for the first time. All the people of the village standby Monaka’s family in confronting this crisis. They transform ‘Salma’ into ‘Salman’. The girl agrees to disguise herself as a boy lured by the desire of flying in an aeroplane. On his arrival, Sulaiman is ecstatic on seeing his ‘son’.
However, contrary to what was assumed, Sulaiman’s “visit” was not confined to only a week. When the fact that he had come with the purpose of taking his wife and child with him becomes clear, the story takes new twists. It becomes inevitable for Monaka’s family to pile up lies upon lies in order to project a single lie as truth.
Julekha’s parents, as those considered ill-fated to beget a girl, are quite successful in hiding the truth from their son-in-law. Ultimately, a situation brought about by tradition exposes the hoax. Julekha is a mute spectator to the efforts of her parents to pass off the girl child as a boy. More than the guilt that she did not bear a boy for Sulaiman, Julekha suffers within herself as she is unable to express the truth that she is not the mastermind of the farce being played out.
‘Beti’ is the story of the victory of Salma, the girl child, who is both the female and the male protagonist of the story of the interchange of gender. It dispels the myth that gender discrimination has religious sanction.
Screenpaly & Direction – P.Sheshadri
Producer – Basantkumar Patil
Story-Dialogues-Lyrics – Boluwar Mohammad Kunhi
Cinematography – Shivakumar. R
Music – Pramod Sapre
Editor – Kemparaju B.S.
Costumes – Anupama Sheshadri
Art – Mata Uppinangadi
Salma – Baby Revathi
Julekha – Siri
Ummatumma – Meera
Sulaiman – Sarvagna Acharya
Monaka – M.K.Mata
Kedlaya – K.G.Krishnamurthy
Adrama – M.N.Suresh