Meenakshi Shedde: Now coming: 70mm burqas

Updated: Dec 17, 2017, 06:28 IST | Meenakshi Shedde

Following a decree allowing women to drive in a certain Gulf Kingdom, authorities have announced that cinemas would also soon be permitted, as part of ambitious reforms for a post-oil era, that could shake up the cultural scene": news report

Meenakshi SheddeFollowing a decree allowing women to drive in a certain Gulf Kingdom, authorities have announced that cinemas would also soon be permitted, as part of ambitious reforms for a post-oil era, that could shake up the cultural scene": news report.

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

"Have you read the newspaper this morning, Maharaj?" Vidhushak asked Raja Andhayug. "In a certain Gulf Kingdom, they are allowing women to drive cars, and will soon even open cinemas and show films." Guru Tamasoma said, "This is terrible news. Now the rate of road accidents will go up considerably." Why do you say so, Guruji, asked Vidhushak. "Because all the male drivers will only watch women drivers, instead of watching the road," Guru Tamasoma replied.

Vidhushak informed Guruji that the Gulf Kingdom's His Highness Salman was preparing for more practical eventualities. As oil prices slump, he wanted to diversify into the entertainment sector. "From today, women can drive to the cinema or anywhere by themselves, and even watch a movie without being accompanied by a male guardian," announced His Highness Salman, to thunderous cheers by women citizen-subjects. Cinema images are haram, the mullahs thundered, but nobody paid much attention.

His Highness Salman is a distant relative of India's Prince Ash-Thrash Salman, aka Black Buck Khan, a humanitarian egalitarian, whose biggest hit till date, Maine Drive Kiya (MDK), was directed by his driver. His Highness announced, "We will invite the popular MDK star to inaugurate a new driving centre for women and even get him to inaugurate our first cinema."

Vidhushak asked a fortune teller to predict how events would unfold in the Gulf Kingdom, and this is what he predicted:

January 2018: All Gulf Kingdom women will leave their men at home as a present for suppressing them for so many years, and drive off to all-women cinemas, and have a blast. They will be permitted to wear 70mm burqas i.e. burqas with 70mm eye slits, in keeping with modern cinema theatre facilities and

IMAX options.

June 2018: Gulf Kingdom women will be permitted to wear 360mm burqas. The Interior Ministry will give its official approval for allowing women to finally dress as they please.

Because no men will be allowed in all-women theatres - they will be hived off to all-men cinemas - ensuring that all film screenings are halal.

August 2018: Haifaa al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia's first woman director, who made the wonderful feature film Wadjda, reveals that in a segregated society, she was obliged to direct external scenes requiring her to work with male actors, by directing them from inside a van, watching the scenes on monitors and issuing instructions with a walkie-talkie.

December 2019: Accordingly, women in the Gulf Kingdom direct 100 feature films in 2019, with cars and vans becoming the most popular mobile "shooting sets". His Highness Salman takes full credit for the rapid growth of the film and transport industries, saying he knew that allowing women to drive and permitting cinemas at the same time, would spark a double revolution.

A leaked report revealed that when India's Prince Salman went to inaugurate the first driving centre for women in the Gulf Kingdom, a smart woman manager got in at the front wheel and asked him with a naughty twinkle, "Shall I teach you to drive?"

Meenakshi Shedde is South Asia Consultant to the Berlin Film Festival, award-winning critic, curator to festivals worldwide and journalist. Reach her at meenakshishedde@gmail.com.

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