PIC­TURE THIS: WOMEN CALL THE SHOTS

An in­creas­ing num­ber of women film­mak­ers are im­press­ing the au­di­ences with their projects

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Yashika Mathur ■ yashika.mathur@hin­dus­tan­times.com In­puts from Michelle Moses

More power to the ladies, as the year 2016 has not only seen a rise in the num­ber of women di­rec­tors in Bol­ly­wood, but their films have also been strik­ing a chord with the au­di­ence. Es­tab­lished women film­mak­ers such as Farah Khan, Zoya Akhtar, Gauri Shinde and Divya Khosla Ku­mar were joined by the likes of Anu Menon, Ash­wini Iyer Ti­wari and Sudha Kon­gara, whose films gar­nered praise this year, and await Konkona Sen Sharma and Nitya Mehra, among oth­ers, to join the club with their up­com­ing projects.

“Ev­ery­where in the world and in ev­ery sphere, women are do­ing more things in male-dom­i­nated fields, and films are no dif­fer­ent. If the sta­tis­tics are to be be­lieved, this year can be a sig­nif­i­cant one for women in films,” says Shinde, who di­rected English Vinglish (2012) and will soon be ready with the re­lease of her up­com­ing Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan star­rer.

Ac­tor Kalki Koech­lin, who starred in Menon’s in­de­pen­dent di­rec­to­rial, Wait­ing, says lady di­rec­tors bring some­thing dif­fer­ent to the ta­ble. “It’s great to see more fe­male di­rec­tors. It of­fers new per­spec­tives. I’ve worked with Zoya (Akhtar), Shonali (Bose) and Konkona (Sen Sharma) as well. I hope there are many more,” she says.

As for Menon, while she’s happy with the spot­light on the ladies, she stresses there’s still a long way to go. “There’s par­ity in the smaller bud­geted films driven by con­tent, but the fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion is lack­ing in the main­stream cin­ema. A fe­male point of view needs to reach a larger au­di­ence,” she says.

Divya Khosla Ku­mar, who has belted out films like Yaariyan (2014) and Sanam Re ear­lier this year, says women are re­ceived well in the in­dus­try. “My team has all men and I have never felt any kind of gen­der bias. Film­mak­ing is a tough job, and women are strong enough to take it up,” says Ku­mar.

Does it make a dif­fer­ence if a film is helmed by a man or a woman? No, says ac­tor Pulkit Sam­rat. He played the lead in Ku­mar’s Sanam Re, and says: “Art is not gen­der spe­cific. You just need to be good at it. And if there is any dif­fer­ence, I’d shame­lessly ad­mit that fe­male di­rec­tors are any day more creative, ex­pres­sive and artis­tic than males.”

Trade an­a­lyst Amod Mehra agrees di­rec­tion isn’t just a man’s field any­more. “It’s nice to see that women are call­ing the shots not just in front of the cam­era but also be­hind it. Time and again women in the in­dus­try have proved they are won­der­ful sto­ry­tellers,” he says.

Stills from the films: 1. One Night Stand (by Jas­mine D’Souza) 2. Sanam Re (Divya Khosla Ku­mar) 3. Baar Baar Dekho (Nitya Mehra) 4. Wait­ing (Anu Menon) 5. Nil Bat­tey San­nata (Ash­wini Iyer Ti­wari)

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