Hot Docs 2017: Ask the Sexpert

A 90 year old gynecologist is a source of sex education for many in India in Ask the Sexpert. In India, sexuality remains a highly taboo topic to the point where sex education is banned in schools and contraception can only be used by married couples. In the middle of this is Dr. Mahinder Watsa, who has been writing a sex advice column in the Mumbai Mirror for nearly a decade. Despite now being in his 90s, Watsa becomes a source of sexual liberation for young people who want to be free from the strict traditions of the older generation.

Ask the Sexpert follows India’s foremost sexologist Dr. Mahinder Watsa, who is the midst of a late-career resurgence as the the writer of a popular sex column. Even though the column is quite popular, with Watsa receiving up to 65 questions a day, it is frowned upon by those who believe the column goes against the morals of a civilized society. At the forefront of the backlash is social activist Dr. Pratiba Naitthani, who files an obscenity case against the Mumbai Mirror.

If there is anything that Ask the Sexpert shows, it’s that India has a long way to go before sexuality is no longer a taboo in the country. The film seems to be setting up a confrontation between Mahinder Watsa and Pratiba Naitthani, though the story of Pratiba’s legal action sort of disappears after it is revealed it can take up to 8 years to process. Though it is interesting that a 90 year old man comes off as more progressive than a 40 year old female activist. Overall, Ask the Sexpert is still an interesting look at the slow changes towards India’s attitudes on sexuality.

8 / 10 stars


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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).