After more than 50 years of being the world's largest democracy, a billion people are finally coming out in the open. What happens when Indians start talking about sex? What happens in a land of extreme wealth and extreme poverty?
On the streets of Bombay, KP (Rahul Bose), a hustler with a cell phone and a scooter, unlocks taps and sells water to the poor and Evian to the rich. While Didi (Farida Haider Mulla), his adopted ten-year-old sister, stalks the traffic lights selling flowers to earn her next meal.
Nan (Laila Rouass), an expatriate Indian from London, hosts an exploitative television show where people discuss their sexual secrets. The confessions are funny, kinky, and sad.
KP incurs the wrath of the gangster he works for when he brokers a deal independently and is brutally punished. He returns home dispossessed, and finds Didi missing.
Television and the mean streets of Bombay meet when the worlds of KP and Nan collide.
Searching for Didi, KP learns innocence lost cannot be regained while Nan discovers that television is helpless against the temptations of the big city.
KP gets enmeshed in a different world on Nan's show. Several stories emerge to form a vivid tapestry of the city. Nan's show becomes popular, but the voyeuristic confessions are removed from reality. It is still television.
Director Dev Benegal's first feature, English, August, won the Special Jury Award at the 12th International Film Festival, Torino, Italy 1994; the Gilberto Martinez Solares prize for the Best First Film at the Festival des 3 Continents, Nantes, France; and the Silver Montgolfiere (Silver Grand Prix) at the Festival des 3 Continents, Nantes.
Split Wide Open, Benegal's second feature, looks at subversive sexuality in modern India and how our notions of morality are challenged when sex and poverty collide.
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