Rajeev Masand

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Let’s talk about sex, doctor!

 
 

Ask The Sexpert

Could you discuss sex with your grandfather? Perhaps you could, perhaps not. And yet, millions of Indians have anonymously asked Dr Mahindra Watsa, 93-year-old sexologist, confused, explicit, and often absurd questions about sex in his popular newspaper column Ask The Sexpert.

That’s also the title of a beguiling documentary about Dr Watsa, directed by Vaishali Sinha and currently streaming on Netflix. In the film, the sensible doctor reveals that he has worked on propagating sex education in India for more than 40 years. But it was his Mumbai Mirror column and, these questions on sex that he answers every day with a rare combination of wisdom and wit that catapulted him to fame.

The film observes Dr Watsa closely – how he reads questions with a magnifying glass in hand, peering at the computer screen in his sea-facing apartment in Mumbai. But it’s his non-judgmental personality that endears him most to the viewer; the fact that very little actually shocks him. Questions, both odd and agonized, are tackled by him gently. It’s an attitude the therapist carries forward to the patients he sometimes attends to at home. The film captures these sessions without revealing the faces or the identity of his patients. Yet you can feel their emotions and sense the issues tangled up in this one act – the act of sex.

Through its protagonist, this film – Ask The Sexpert – also shows the urgent need to discuss a subject that many still consider taboo. It’s especially heartening to watch Dr Watsa dispense advice that is respectful of women’s rights. The film also gives a personal glimpse of the doctor, through his relationships with his family, friends and colleagues. It’s an enjoyable documentary that’s totally worth your time — here’s a man devoted to helping India comprehend sex. And in doing that, he’s quietly nudging us into a more progressive, empathetic society.

 

 

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