Posted in: Movies, Tattle

Yeh Freedom Life review – a passionate slice of queer Delhi life

Beauty technician Sachi and cigarette seller Parveen yearn for ‘freedom lives’ where they can proudly flaunt their relationships with other women in this free-form film

An unnerving cacophony opens Priya Sen’s Yeh Freedom Life: it plunges straight into a health convention about women’s reproductive responsibilities. Lessons on childcare – demonstrated on creepy dolls – along with speeches on wifely and motherly duties are delivered in front of the camera. These reminders of compulsory heterosexuality recur throughout: in Ambedkar Nagar, a working-class area in South Delhi, they are plastered all over movie posters and permeate every household via long-running soap operas.

And yet queer love makes its voice known. Sachi and Parveen, the film’s subjects, yearn for the “freedom lives” where they can proudly flaunt their relationships with other women. Sachi, a beauty technician at an eyebrow-threading salon, adores her long-term girlfriend Sai and supports the latter’s plan to transition. Parveen, who works at a busy cigarette kiosk, has had her fair share of heartbreaks from lovers who have left her to marry. Eluding discussions of labels, Yeh Freedom Life looks at queer relationships in their most elemental ingredients: passion, jealousy and intimacy.