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The World Before Her

World Documentary Competition

World Premiere

Canada | 91 MINUTES | English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati |


Young, beautiful, and ambitious, Ankita and Ruhi compete in the Miss India pageant for the chance at a career in the beauty industry, one of the few opportunities for women to find success and empowerment in contemporary India. On the opposite end of the spectrum from Miss India is Durga Vahini, the women's wing of the Hindu fundamentalist movement. Filming for the first time within a Durga Vahini camp, director Nisha Pahuja offsets the pageant narrative with that of camp leader Prachi, a fiery and compelling figure expressing a very different voice in the debate over women's issues.

Nisha Pahuja's The World Before Her dramatizes the tension between traditional and modern perspectives toward women in today's India through the juxtaposition of these two very different outlets for girls. Initially representing the two threads as mutually exclusive worldviews, Pahuja ultimately draws surprising parallels in the way women are perceived and the opportunities that are afforded them at both extremes, convincingly depicting each as real sources of both oppression and empowerment. The World Before Her is a riveting, thoughtful profile of the fundamental contradictions of a country in transition.

2012 World Documentary Competition Award Winner. Click here for additional screenings.


This film is appropriate for teenagers and up.


For the first time, the competition sections will have designated opening night films in both the documentary and narrative categories, highlighting the sections. The World Before Her will open the World Documentary competition, and Yossi will open the World Narrative competition, both on April 19.

Co-hosted by: 



Directed by Nisha Pahuja and Nisha Pahuja

Nisha Pahuja learned filmmaking while working as a researcher for some of Canada's brightest documentary talents. She co-wrote and directed Diamond Road, which received the 2008 Gemini Award for best documentary series. Her Bollywood Bound was seen around the world and won a Gemini in 2002.
Nisha Pahuja
Director of Photography
Derek Rogers, Mrinal Desai
Cornelia Principe, Nisha Pahuja
Executive Producer
Ed Barreveld, Andy Cohen, Nisha Pahuja, Mike Chamberlain
Ken Myhr
Associate Producer
Lisa Valencia-Svensson
David Kazala


Sales Agent
Ed Barreveld
Storyline Entertainment
115 Palmerston Avenue Toronto, ON M6J2J2
Phone: 416 603 8333
Press Contact
Ingrid Hamilton
Toronto,Phone: 416 731 3034
Print Origin
Cornelia Principe
Storyline Entertainment
Toronto, ON M6J 2J2
Phone: 416 603 8333
Technical Contact
Shasha Nakhai
Storyline Entertainment
390 Queens Quay West Toronto, ON M6J 2J2
Phone: 416 603 8333