AABID SURTI is a painter, writer, cartoonist, journalist, environmentalist, playwright and screenwriter. He received the National Award in 1993 for one of his books. In 1976, Surti was commissioned by a magazine editor to do a cover story about life in Bombay's red-light district, Kamathipura, which led to his research for Cages. AALIF SURTI, Aabid Surti's son, is a producer and the translator of Sufi.
Set at the gritty intersection of the world of prostitution in Kamathipura, the Bombay underworld and Bollywood in the 1970s, Cages is inspired by the true story of Kumud, a sex worker who dared to own her sexuality and play by her rules. A fast-paced tale of a woman who was not ashamed of her occupation, it is honest in its portrayal of the persistent cruelties-small and significant-faced by sex workers and celebrates the power they have to triumph over it.
Cages touches upon the themes of patriarchy, gendered violence, sisterhood and the validity of a woman's sexual desires. Even fifty years after it was first written, it makes you realize that some things don't change-as long as predatory men are around, women will have to fight to retain control over their bodies, their identities and their ability to say no.