by Eydie Mendoza

Annual Cinequest Film & VR Festival February 27 through March 11

While wearing a burka and niqab is a must in some countries, some career-oriented Muslim women struggle with entering certain fields of work around the globe.

In Purdah (Hindi/English and English subtitles) we meet three sisters who share their hopes and dreams.

“But what will our family and friends say?”, asks the girl’s father, when discussing their aspirations.

One might ask if it’s a personal choice because father says so, or because it is written as such. While all factors play some part in the lives of these three young women, certainly social, cultural and religious pressures are apparent.

Some women on the train state, “She puts on her burka on the train … wonder what she’s up to.”

The Mirza sisters’ documentary begins with an introduction to the entire family; the parents, two brothers and three sisters. This film captures Saba, Kaikasha, and Heena as they become women, sharing the hopes and the reality of what is possible because of their religious and cultural beliefs.

Saba, the eldest of the three, wants to be a model or a flight attendant.

Kaikasha is a 20 years old cricket player typically played by boys and men; no professional female players.

Heena, the youngest sister, dreams of being a fashion designer.

Both parents agree that “One should not kill children’s dreams.”

As these sisters become women, their mother explains that they might have to give up those dreams when they get married. Her advice is to choose their careers wisely and not waste time doing something that will not be approved by their future husbands.

Their father is slightly more reserved but supportive. Not only is he concerned about what others will say but that they might not get married.

Director/Producer Jeremy Guy, Producer Sushrut Jain, and editors Anisha Acharya and Salman Syed present Purdah, a documentary, started in 2011 and filmed in Mumbai, that captures Saba, Kaikasha, and Heena Mirza’s innocence, strengths, and support in day-in-the life vignettes.

Find out if Kaikasha makes the cricket team and what careers her sisters choose. This inspirational film about the sisters’ candid journey of self-discovery is a must see with family and friends.

The world premiere shows on Saturday, March 3 at 12:25 p.m. at 3 Below Theaters & Lounge (formerly Camera 3 Cinemas), 288 S 2nd St, San Jose, CA 95113. Check the online guide for updated times and locations at http://www.cinequest.org.

Eydie Mendoza has worked with underserved and underrepresented communities as a bilingual educator and counselor assisting families, care providers, teachers, youth and adults in pursuing their dreams for a better education and life within her roles at National Council of La Raza, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and College of the Redwoods in Eureka. She is a former SVL Editor-in-Chief of SVLatino.com and a former San Jose Pride Board Member. With membership to the Luna Park Business Association, the Latina Success Network, and a team member of the Silicon Valley Latino Leadership Summit, she is currently the Social Media and Website Coordinator for Santa Clara County Public Health and web producer for her own business EMpresenta.