Women’s International Film Festival opens today
The heroine’s role in India’s first ever film was not played by a woman, but a man. In Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra (1913), the character of Queen Taramati was enacted by Anna Salunke; the other female roles too were played by men.
That was because women considered acting a more demeaning job than even prostitution those days. But, such a total absence of women in India’s first film was, in a way, a portend of things to come: it would always be a struggle for the fairer sex to work in our cinema, except in acting.
Behind the camera
There are more women directors than ever before in Indian cinema now, and some of them, like Gauri Shinde and Anjali Menon, have even attained commercial success. But, even now you would not find enough women behind the camera in our cinema.
In such a context, the Women’s International Film Festival, which opens here on Monday, assumes significance. All the 30 films to be screened at the festival are directed by women.
The festival is being organised by the Kerala Chalachitra Academy and the Federation of Film Societies of India. The films will be screened at the Tagore Centenary Hall, which was also the venue for the recent Kozhikode International Film Festival.
“Even now, very few women work in the technical areas of Indian cinema, so a festival to celebrate female film-makers has huge importance,” Bina Paul, Chalachitra Academy vice chairperson, said. “That is why we decided to conduct this festival. It is the first time the Academy is organising a festival like this.”
Films from the United States, Iran, Poland, Israel, Turkey, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan will be screened. From India, films of different languages including Hindi, English, Bengali, Kannada, and Malayalam will be featured.
Oorvazi Irani, Sumana Kittur, Shute Fule, Leena Manimekalai, Fowzia Fathima, and Vidhu Vincent are among the directors who would attend.
There would be an open forum for the delegates of the festival every day at 4 p.m.
The festival concludes on March 10. Delegate passes are available for Rs. 200.
On day one on Monday, Frida (United States), Under Construction (Bangladesh), Rowdy Women of Kiragooru (Kannada) and The Journey of Her Smile (English, India) will be screened.