Sexuality Studies • Asian Studies • South Asian Studies
Public Health • Anthropology • Psychology
2017. Director & Producer Vaishali Sinha. Producer Mridu Chandra.
59 & 83 Minutes. In English with English Subtitles. 

​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 route to gender equality and health. A retired obstetrician and gynecologist, he spearheaded the first ever sexuality education program in India in 1976 during his time at the Family Planning Association of India. 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. The film also follows his critic, a censorship rights activist and a political science professor who files a court case against Dr. Watsa and the newspaper for obscenity. Contextualizing their stories are the readers of Dr. Watsa’s column and also those who frequently appear at his office for counseling. ASK THE SEXPERT provides a first ever look at the man behind the public persona and cult phenomenon of Dr. Mahinder Watsa – a feminist man in a deeply patriarchal society and a modern India that wants to talk about sex. Ultimately ASK THE SEXPERT is a universal story about the need for a safe space to talk about the body and about desire.

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A longtime sex advice columnist gains popularity against the backdrop of a ban on comprehensive sex education in schools in India
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Reviews & Quotes

"This is an edifying, unembellished look at a humble man who has devoted his life to helping people navigate the pleasurable yet oft-bewildering world of human sexuality. Highly recommended for all viewers."

Video Librarian ★★★

Reviewed by C, P. (K. Fennessy)

"With a mixture of wit and respect, director Vaishali Sinha profiles Dr. Mahinder Watsa, 'India’s foremost sexologist,'... An engaging portrait, this is recommended."

Morena Duwe, Music & Culture

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

Zosia Bielski, Senior Writer

The film deftly moves between Watsa, his conservative detractors and gorgeous footage of young lovers on the streets of Mumbai … In a country where sex ed is banned in a third of states, a country that tallied nearly 35,000 rape cases in 2015, Watsa is a radical and necessary voice of reason."

Fionnuala Halligan, Chief Film Critic

"Sinha presents this unique personality against a backdrop of a glowing Mumbai, where he is stopped on the street by young fans and take selfies as he launches his book, ‘It’s Normal’.  Stooped and kindly, he’s India’s favourite straight-talking uncle, only one who advertises Viagra as a sideline. He’s certainly a find."

"I find it utterly impossible not to be charmed by Dr. Watsa and, by extension, by this documentary by Vaishali Sinha … Dr. Watsa writes plainly, even conversationally, to his readers with honesty, openness, and precision – three things otherwise completely missing from the field … This is a fascinating documentary. Sinha has found a brilliant subject and has the good sense to stick with him. I’m positive that he will endear audiences near and far."

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