About the Film

Ask the Sexpert is a feature length documentary about Dr. Mahinder Watsa, a highly popular 93-year-old sex advice columnist for a daily newspaper in Mumbai. Despite sex being a taboo topic in India, the column’s brand of non-moralistic advice and humor has emboldened many to write in with their questions. The columnist gains popularity even while a ban on comprehensive sex education in schools is adopted by approximately a third of India’s states.

Watch the Trailer

The Team

VAISHALI SINHA

DIRECTOR/PRODUCER

Vaishali Sinha is an award winning filmmaker and co-Director/Producer of the feature documentary “Made in India” about the human stories behind the phenomenon of outsourcing surrogate mothers to India. The film premiered at Hot Docs Film Festival, has been the winner of several awards and aired on PBS in 2012.

ASK THE SEXPERT is Vaishali’s second feature length documentary. Vaishali has received support for her films from ITVS, the MacArthur Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Catapult Fund, Firelight Media, Playboy Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures, The Fledgling Fund, Center for Asian American Media, Mozilla, Ford Foundation, Nextpix and more.

Vaishali has also worked alongside Peabody award winning filmmaker Richard Wormser (Dir: Rise and Fall of Jim Crow) in New York. Vaishali speaks regularly at events and has acted as jury member at film festivals. She is originally from Mumbai, and now resides in Brooklyn, NY.

MRIDU CHANDRA

PRODUCER

Mridu Chandra is a New York based producer and writer. An alumna of the CPB/WGBH Producers Academy and the Tribeca Film Institute's All Access Program, her specialties span the breadth of story development and grant writing, line producing, archival research and clearances, and post supervising. Her films explore topics of civil rights and peace, gender and sexuality, environmental justice and the law, and have premiered at the Sundance, SXSW & Hot Docs Film Festivals, aired on PBS and HBO, screened for members of US Congress & the United Nations, and showcased at Museums & film festivals worldwide.

Additionally, she has taught documentary research, development, and rights clearance courses at The New School, NYU’s School of Continuing Studies, and at The New York Film Academy. She is currently working with the Tribeca Film Institute to direct a fund for the production and distribution of short independent documentaries and with Tangerine Entertainment to produce indie films by women directors.

SALLY JO FIFER

Executive Producer for ITVS

Sally Jo Fifer is President and CEO of Independent Television Service (ITVS), the leading provider of independently produced programs for PBS. Since 1991, ITVS has funded and presented more than 500 shows for public television—shows that explore complex issues, represent diverse communities, and express points-of-view seldom seen on television. Sally oversees ITVS’s core operations which include funding, production management, distribution, promotion, and outreach services. She is also Executive Producer of Independent Lens, a 29-week national series for PBS.

ANUP SINGH

CINEMATOGRAPHER

Anup Singh is Mumbai based Cinematographer with over 10 years of Professional experience. He has shot numerous food and travel shows for leading Channels like Fox, NDTV Goodtimes, ETV etc. He has shot several Documentaries latest being Human Leopard conflict in Northern India.
Ask the sexpert is his first Feature length Documentary film.

A cinematography graduate from Film and Television Institute of India, He has been privileged to work with award winning renowned Cinematographer Abhik Mukhopadhyay as his associate and operator for feature films like Kill Dil, Pink, The Violin Player and Idgah. When he isn't travelling or working, he spends his time working with non-profit organisation Sri Sarveshwari Samooh.

Myles Kane

EDITOR

Myles Kane has worked as a filmmaker for The New Yorker magazine and BBC television. He has edited the feature length documentaries WE ARE WIZARDS (2008) MADE IN INDIA (2010) and co-directed JOURNEY TO PLANET X (2012), WE WILL LIVE AGAIN (2013), and AN IMMORTAL MAN (2014, ESPN).

ASHISH RAVINRAN

EDITOR

Ashish Ravinran is a filmmaker from Singapore based in New York City. His short films have played in festivals in the UK, France, Canada and Singapore. Apart from writing and directing, he also works frequently as an editor. He recently edited and produced an ESPN '30 FOR 30' documentary about the cult writer Hunter S. Thompson which premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. He has a First Class Honors degree in History from Oxford University and attended the graduate filmmaking program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he currently teaches advanced editing.

IN THE PRESS

“An intimate look at the way Indians talk about sex.” – Huffington Post

“The film deftly moves between Watsa, his conservative detractors and gorgeous footage of young lovers on the streets of Mumbai.” – Globe and Mail

“I find it utterly impossible not to be charmed by Dr. Watsa, and by extension, by this documentary by Vaishali Sinha.” – Cinema Axis

“Stooped and kindly, he’s India’s favorite straight-talking uncle, only one who advertises viagra as a sideline. He’s certainly a find.” – Screen Daily

About Dr Mahinder Watsa

The 93-year-old Dr. Mahinder Watsa rose to fame for his straight talking and humorous advice in a daily sex column for the Mumbai Mirror founded in 2005. But for over several decades, Dr. Mahinder Watsa has promoted the importance of sexual pleasure, consent and information as a passage to gender equality and health.

Straight out of medical school in the 1950s, Dr. Watsa an obstetrician and gynecologist – also began a career as a columnist. He was asked to write a medical advice column for a women’s magazine called Trend. Trend was started by one of India’s early female journalists Frenny Talyarkhan. At first the letters were of general nature but soon he started receiving letters from across India where women talked about molestation, rapes or exes showing up at their doorstep threatening to tell the husband they had sexual relations before marriage. Recognizing the need for education Dr. Watsa switched from gynecology into sex education and sex therapy in the 1970s.

A consultant for the Family Planning Association of India, he convinced the association to start India’s first sex education cell, SCERT, a national wide effort to hold sex educational programs in schools. In 1976 he organized India’s first ever workshop on human sexuality. The workshop, a stir, talked about women’s desires, showed films about homosexuality and promoted open and inclusive conversations.

In December 2012, the topic of sexuality in India received tremendous attention due to the brutal gang rape and murder of a Delhi woman. Today, as Indians discuss women’s safety, a powerful conservative movement blames sexual openness as a key reason for sexual violence.

To date Dr. Watsa estimates he has answered more than 40,000 questions, the vast majority seeking basic information. At once essential and controversial within the Indian context, he has been called a man “on the edge of becoming a national treasure” by Scroll India.

“Sex is a joyful thing,” says Watsa — BBC 

He has — gently, gently — pushed the limits in Indian popular culture — NY Times

Contact

Filmmaker

info@askthesexpertmovie.com

 

International Sales
Ro*co Films

Julie Campfield

julie@rocofilms.com

www.rocofilms.com

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