The World Before Her

In the Indian metropolis of Mumbai, twenty young women from across the subcontinent compete in a beauty contest for the title of Miss India. In another part of the country, young women are brought together in a camp under very different circumstances. They belong to a Hindu fundamentalist movement and are being trained to fight for their beliefs; against the westernisation of India. Documentary filmmaker Nisha Pahuja accompanies the women from these two very different worlds over several months, capturing their similarities and differences on camera. Western ideals of beauty exist in the minds of the prospective models, but they are also called into question. On the other hand, young Hindu women organise themselves in a male-dominated society, but, in secret, they share the dream of an independent life. With illuminating insights into the protagonists’ camp and private lives, the film depicts womanhood in a country in the midst of upheaval between the traditional and the modern.