Film industry needs female screenwriters: Filmmaker Kiran Rao

- March 14, 2024
| By : Idrees Bukhtiyar |

The director is pleased to see women coming out and breaking taboos; however, she feels women filmmakers need to step up, tell their stories and explain their problems to the audience

LIMITED: Director Kiran Rao says that only 5% of the screenwriters are women

Filmmaker Kiran Rao says Bollywood needs to have more female screenwriters who can narrate their stories.

Female screenwriters currently make up less than 5% of the total number screenwriters in the film industry. This is an important department of filmmaking. I encourage and support women’s representation in films. More women should come and tell their own stories to the world,” asserts Rao.

The director of Dhobi Ghat (2010) was at New Delhi’s American Centre last week for the screening of her recently released film Laapataa Ladies (2024). The film talks about women’s rights, education, empowerment and patriarchal society.

Kiran believes that the film Industry will not tell the stories of women.

“It is only the women screenwriters who can write and narrate their own stories. We need better female writers who can explain their characters through films and take a larger message to the audience,” she says.

The director expressed resentment towards film producers who don’t come to the rescue of filmmakers making something meaningful for the society.

“There are a few film producers who have women audiences but they make huge budget films and their audience is completely different. Their priority remains success at the box office and earning some money. I don’t object to anyone making big-budget films or making films on themes like VFX, thriller or love. But my concern is that they should also make a meaningful film,” says the 50-year-old filmmaker.

Telling the audience to watch her movie, especially the women, she says, “My films are people-centric and not about huge budget. They wouldn’t run unless and until you watch them. I try to create a content that has an impact on the society and lessons to learn,” she says.

The 50-year-old says that her film ‘Laapataa Ladies’ is an effort at making a better tomorrow for women.

“I hope this will give a boost to many who want to do something extraordinary in their lives. This is a small effort to show the women’s struggles and why there is a need to break the stereotypical mindset to give wings to the women to fly,” she says.

She revealed that it was her ex-husband and actor Aamir Khan, who first came across this script.

“After Dhobi Ghat was released, I desperately wanted to come up with a new film within two years but that didn’t happen. In 2018, Aamir came across this script when he was attending a screenwriter’s workshop and it looked interesting to us. We got the writers and changes done later,” she says.

About her Delhi connection, she says, “I studied Mass Communication from Jamia Millia Islamia in 1995-1998. I have beautiful memories of the city. I keep visiting the city for social and cultural events. I have friends here too.”

When asked about the screening of her film in Delhi, she says, “I am happy that I got a platform to show my film to a larger audience. I witnessed a good number of people flocking to see my film, especially women.”

Kiran is donning the cap of a director after over a decade.

Earlier, she had directed Dhobi Ghat in 2010 starring Aamir Khan, Monica Dogra, Kriti Malhotra and Prateik Babbar.

“I am happy to be back as a director. Concerns about women were popping up inside me and that’s why I decided to make a comeback. I hope to tell more such stories in future,” she says.

She is elated to see women, especially young girls, coming out and choosing what they love most.

“Nowadays they are breaking taboos. They are in every field and that’s a proud moment,” she says and wants them to fight for their rights.

“We can’t stop. We have to break this patriarchal narrative and fulfil our dreams,” she added.