Bombay Eunuch

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Movie Info

This documentary chronicles East Indian groups of "third sex" individuals living in squalor in Bombay in the midst of a chaotic society that ousts them. The film begins by noting that for centuries eunuchs were considered semi-divine beings, heralded for their marital blessings and feared by many for their powers. When the land was colonized by the British, their ritual castration was outlawed and their religion diminished in the eyes of many of the land's inhabitants. As the climate changed, these hijiras (or eunuchs) were forced to live lives as prostitutes or beggars, despite the reported population of about 1.5 million. Among the figures recorded is Meena, a 38-year old caretaker who stands her own ground and provides shelter to younger outcasts. The brassy, gruff Meena is a respected den mother, but her "family" has many drawbacks, especially with many hijiras becoming infected with HIV due to lack of sexual disease information. When the hijiras travel to Bopha for a convention, they are rejected by its constituents as they are planning a life of sacred celibacy. After berating the film crew for their humiliation, Meena is found a year later with her charges, working as tax collectors for the government. Bombay Eunuch was shot on high-definition video and directed by Alexandra Shiva, Sean MacDonald, and Michelle Gucovsky.


Critic Reviews for Bombay Eunuch

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (4)

  • Bombay Eunuch is a short film with a unique subject matter. But you won't soon forget its people, its places or its sad, surprising revelations about all the sexes.

    Jul 20, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • A remarkably beguiling documentary, on a number of levels.

    Nov 16, 2001 | Rating: 3/4
  • Examines with an acute, clear-eyed compassion the sad decline in status of India's eunuchs.

    Nov 16, 2001 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • Starts out in the realm of queer theory, only to find itself sidetracked -- profitably, in this case.

    Nov 15, 2001
  • "Bombay Eunuch" (if you pardon the pun) just doesn't cut it.

    Dec 8, 2002 | Rating: 2/5
  • While never quite achieving the answers the directors set out to find, is still an interesting, voyeuristic peek into the lives of members of a society threatened with extinction.

    Nov 16, 2001 | Full Review…

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