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Highway Courtesans (2004) Online

Highway Courtesans (2004) Online
Original Title :
Highway Courtesans
Genre :
Movie / Documentary
Year :
Directror :
Mystelle Brabbee
Type :
Time :
1h 11min
Rating :
Highway Courtesans (2004) Online

In rural India, 6 years in the life on young Guddi Chauhan are examined, as she struggles against the centuries-old tradition of prostitution she's expected to honor.

User reviews



When I watched the movie, I felt like watching is again. While viewing it second time, it seemed like a normal movie when the fact was that, no, it's not a fiction but a real life documentary.

The initial effect lasted for several days. No doubt, the movie has made an ever lasting impression on my mind.

As the official synopsis says, it is the story of a woman who "breaks free from tradition and refuses to continue working on the road".

The efforts put by the production crew over a period of 10 years is worth an applause. But applauds are nothing, as I understood, the end of the movie clearly signified that 'there is a lot more work to be done' and the responsibility is on 'you'. Extremely motivating!


Tonight I saw the documentary film Highway Courtesans on DVD. It is about the Bachara tribe in the western part of Madhya Pradesh in central India. This tribe is known for the tradition of child prostitution, with families making their first daughters, as children, into prostitutes to support the family. The tradition is centuries old and is still practiced today.

The film follows six years in the life of Bacharan Guddi Chauhan from age 16 to 23. She has been a prostitute serving passing-by truckers and others I believe since age 11 or 12, but clearly is uneasy about this forced occupation. Along the way, she has garnered a boyfriend, Sagar, out of her clientèle. Sagar surprisingly seems not to mind her profession.

Guddi's misgivings lead her, against her family's wishes, to leave prostitution and learn enough to become a teacher in a village. How do her drunken do-nothing brother and tradition-bound father react to her independent streak? How does Guddi, as well as some of her peers in the community, Shana and Sungita, feel about the tradition and the role thrust upon them? Change is often a two-edged sword, and would fighting this tradition benefit these young ladies and girls? What other opportunities exist, where do they exist, and do ex-Bacharan prostitutes have hopes of marriage? Can they fulfill their desires to support their families? Why is Sagar vague about his plans to marry Guddi? We see Guddi's father sending her by bus to a larger town to get a proper education; will he support her and let her study? This 71-minute film that took approximately ten years to produce gives insight into these questions. It is difficult to come to terms with forced child prostitution, especially in modern times, and a documentary on this topic could leave one numb. Instead, the film is crafted in an accessible and warm manner. The prostitutes are victims, but somehow Guddi, Shana, and Sungita, are surprisingly strong and confident.

I am impressed with the access that the filmmakers were able to get to the people in the Bacharan village, and to the villagers' willingness to frankly discuss matters. By clearly documenting this story, the producers have used film to possibly make a big difference in the lives of these highway courtesans. But will this age-old tradition become a thing of the past? And if it does, will reasonable opportunities for villagers be available? We can only hope.

--Dilip Barman, Durham, NC (USA), August 17, 2006