Rhea’s film examines what it means to be a woman seeking autonomy, in the complex tussle of a modern society with diverse cultural values. She used the subject of menstruation to contextualize how feminism is perceived in such a society. ‘Stains’ is a short fiction film, based on a namesake story by Manjula Padmanabhan. The film revolves around the story of a couple from different cultural backgrounds who are spending the weekend with the man’s mother.
The woman starts menstruating there and stains her bedsheets. The man’s mother has an extreme and conservative reaction to this and makes the girl wash the sheets outside the house. The event and her boyfriend’s failure to stand up for her, puts the girl into a space of conflict, which builds through the course of the film. It leads her to examine and evaluate her relationship with her period and her boyfriend.