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A SPACE FOR WOMEN

The ‘Women in Film’ segment of the Jio MAMI festival has taken place this year with the backdrop of awareness about gender equality and safe workspace

Women in Bollywood have often spoken about the gender pay gap prevailing in the industry. From Priyanka Chopra to Kangana Ranaut – the leading ladies of tinsel town have come forward and showed their discontent regarding the disparity. Also, with the MeToo movement being triggered by Tanushree Dutta, the topic of ‘safe workspace’ in the film industry has been taken up, for good.

To celebrate gender-equal cinema and women’s movement in the film industry, and to fight harassment at the workplace — Oxfam India and Jio MAMI (Mumbai Academy of Moving Image) Mumbai Film Festival with Star 2018 recently co-hosted the ‘Women in Film’ Brunch for the third year running.

Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is a film fest which showcases the latest cutting edge and independent cinema — arthouse fare alongside genre movies from Bollywood and Hollywood and cult international movies. ‘Women in Film’ is an annual event held during the festival as part of Oxfam India’s association with MAMI.

The Brunch was attended by renowned actors, directors, screenwriters and industry professionals like Kiran Rao, Yami Gautam, Gulshan Devaiah, Omung Kumar, Divya Dutta, Tanuja Chandra, Rima Das, Tisca Chopra, Mouni Roy and Tanishtha Chatterjee. “Oxfam MAMI ‘Women in Film’ Brunch is not only a space to celebrate cinema that promotes gender equality but also to honour brave women fighting sexism and violence in everyday life,” says Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar.

This year, Oxfam India invited a young gender champion Naaz Parveen from Patna as a special guest. Naaz is a young Muslim girl who is not only a community leader but also the goalkeeper of an all girl’s football team, the Ambedkar Football Club. Naaz fought patriarchy and child marriage in her community and created awareness along with local NGO Gaurav Gramin Mahila Vikas Manch (GGMVM) about reproductive rights in her community.

Sharing her inspiring story at the Brunch, Naaz said, “It is an honour to be part of such an important event. I am happy to share my story with accomplished men and women who believe in supporting women’s rights. Football is liberating and has given me the freedom to be who I am. I am glad that I could inspire other girls in my community to follow their dreams and learn football. The sport brought us together. As a team, we stood against child marriage and saved many girls from being married at a young age.”

“Women in the film industry are vociferously demanding equality in the workplace and this is happening at a time when young girls across India are challenging the age-old accepted norms of patriarchy. This is the moment when people must listen to these women and girls. We know that patriarchy will not give up without a battle but we collectively must celebrate these voices against sexism and violence through art, cinema and activism,” adds Behar.

Smriti Kiran, Creative Director, MAMI said “This is a special year for gender equality in India. We are having a moment which we need to make sure becomes a sweeping movement. I am so happy that we partnered with Oxfam India for this award that aims to inculcate mindfulness, ignite consciousness, create awareness about skewed and unfair gender narratives that exist.”
Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award is also part of this association. This year, eight films have been shortlisted for the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award. The films that have been shortlisted this year are ‘Imago’, ‘Hamid’, ‘Soni’, ‘Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil’, ‘Light in the room’, ‘Nathicharami’, ‘Sivaranjani and Two Other Women’ and ‘Jonaki’.

Breaking Stereotypes

Soni 
About: The alliance between Soni, a young Delhi policewoman, and her superintendent, Kalpana, is tested to its limits when they suffer a major setback in their fight to curb the most serious social crisis of a generation.
Director: Ivan Ayr

Light in the Room
About: Set against the backdrop of a beautiful hilltop village, surrounded by a dense forest and a decaying tea plantation, is the story of Sudha, an underprivileged woman who reaches here after getting married to Chandran.
Director: Rahul Riji Nair

Jonaki
About: While Jonaki, an 80-year-old woman, searches for love in a strange world of decaying memories, her lover, now old and grey, returns to a world she is leaving behind.
Director: Aditya Vikram Sengupta

Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil
About: What do you do when your life becomes parasitic, feeding on love? What happens when you are not what you say you are and you don’t know? No one knows.
Director: Aadish Keluskar

(Other films in this category are ‘Imago’, ‘Hamid’, ‘Nathicharami’ and ‘Sivaranjani and Two Other Women’)