DFW SAFF 2018 Documentary Film Review “Ask The Sexpert”

 

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE

First, the Recap:

Let’s talk about sex. Needless to say, in this contemporary age, there’s no shortage of ability to find just about any information you wish on the titular subject. Inundated with it on TV, film screens, and the internet, learning about “going for it” pretty much has no bounds.  However, when it comes to legitimate sex education in India, the battle between those for it and those opposed is revealed. Meet Dr. Mahinder Watsa, aka: “The Sexpert”. At 90-years old, one might not assume this would be anyone’s primary source to turn to when it comes to wanting to know how to “do the deed”. Yet, especially for those who read the Mumbai Mirror, Dr. Watsa is the ONLY one to seek.

Having the willingness every day to sit in front of his computer for hours on end, Dr. Watsa answers questions from the simplest to absurd extremes from countless individuals writing in with their sex-related queries. In a country where sex education, and discussing sex in general, is still a cultural taboo, Dr. Watsa’s constant presence boils under the surface, not just online, but via the appointments he allows in order to counsel those in wanting need for advice. As one would also expect, there is vocal outcry from some who feel his column and racy topic is obscene and needs to be silenced, like professor and activist Dr. Pratibha Naitthani, who preaches abstinence and has even filed suit against Dr. Watsa.

Still, people, from children to adults, need to be taught about sex, its dangers, its joys, and the choices associated with it. Whose advice will you take?

Next, my Mind:

Delivered with a deeply relevant and unflinchingly uninhibited, often explicit, sensibility and visual presentation, director/producer Vaishali Sinha’s 80-minute documentary feature made an impressive DFW SAFF 2018 debut, treating the audience to a film that was revealing, candid, humorous, and necessary when it comes to illustrating the need for sex education in a country where it has been banned in schools throughout one third of the country’s States. Yet, despite the notions of sex being so overtly restricted, Dr. Watsa’s approach in answering what so often comes down to the most basic questions about sex readers send in or come to see him about in person has primarily stimulated and invigorated even more to search out his thoughts, even when the queries get rather–odd. Being frank, it is true that some of Dr. Watsa’s advice is flat out non-moralistic, but yet the unassuming, sometimes completely tongue-in-cheek manner in which he carries himself and the opinions he offers transcends this, hence garnering him the accolades and heartened fan base he has achieved.

But, as with any subject that stirs controversy, there is opposition, and for Dr. Watsa, this has taken form via the efforts of college professor and anti-obscenity activist Dr. Pratibha Naitthani, who flat out believes the information and advice Dr. Watsa provides is completely obscene and not fit for public consumption.  Very outspoken, which only drives her to make more definitive efforts to be a catalyst for the change she feels is necessary, Dr. Naitthani has made efforts to file suit against Dr. Watsa and his “Ask The Sexpert” column in the Mumbai Mirror.  Yet, he remains, and in doing so, it shines a perhaps uncomfortable light on the actual need of sex education in India. If you ask Mumbai Mirror Editor-In-Chief Meenal Baghel or Sex Educator Dilnavaz Munshi, who teaches the highly forbidden topic to her young students outside the structure of the school system and has worked directly with Dr. Watsa, they both agree about the necessity someone like Dr. Watsa represents and that regardless of overall opinions about sex, one way or the other, people ARE going to get answers from any source they deem worthy of exploring.

The film certainly paints a picture that there is that inexorable, inescapable requirement for allowing a county’s people to have the freedom to obtain said answers involved with such a contentious topic, and there’s also no denying arguments can be made both ways when it comes to exactly how it should all be addressed. But when you see this affable, humble man offering the recommendations and guidance he does to an adoring “customer” base, no matter how immodest at times his methods may seem, one hopes that it will ultimately present the impetus for change that will awaken the Indian government and lawmakers to find the solution. Meanwhile, whether sitting in front of his computer addressing hundreds of emails, meeting with people in his “office” at home, or enjoying some fun encountering a fan on the streets during a nice afternoon walk, Dr. Mahinder Watsa, along with his popularity and blunt advice, isn’t going away anytime soon. In total, “Ask The Sexpert” is an excellently sincere, truthful, and albeit explicit documentary effort that was willing to show it like it is and ideally wake up a country. So–ready to “get in on”?

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

 

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