Showing posts from February, 2019

A different rating: making Bollywood films more gender sensitive

Published in The Hindu on December 17, 2018 and can be read here.
It’s time to think of unique ways of making Bollywood films more gender sensitive
Soon after the #MeToo revelations began pouring out on social media this year, the organisers of the Jio MAMI Mumbai film festival struck off two features and three shorts after allegations were levelled against key people involved in the making of these films. Festival director Anupama Chopra said that she hoped that the decision would lead to an environment that is “constructive, inclusive and just”. While this is a welcome move, our focus should be not only on those accused of inappropriate behaviour but also on filmmakers who churn out sexist films that influence such behaviour.

Bollywood films influence negative societal attitudes towards women in India. If we are to make progress, we must reverse these narratives through better storytelling, for storytelling influences behaviour. A study by Elizabeth Levy of Harvard University showed ho…

‘Shhhhh… I Need to Speak’: On Breaking Society’s Silence for the Sake of Justice

Published in the LiveWire on October 24, 2018 and can be read here.

From a very young age, I was taught to be silent by everyone around me. To be silent in the face of
conflict, to be silent in the face of disturbances outside and inside the home. I was told silence is a
virtue to be learnt and treasured, especially in moments of conflicts that did not involve me.

A YouTube video circulated in my social media feed a few days ago of two men gang-raping a woman in the holy Ganges river. I watched, transfixed with shock, at their audacity to rape and film their brutal attack.

The rape neither occurred late at night nor in a secluded part of the city. It was a bright day, around 11
am. Several women were washing their clothes by the banks of the river as this atrocity was happening a few feet away.

None of them spoke up.

My mind tried to explain this away. Surely, we cannot be so indifferent to a criminal act!

“The most prevalent form of cowardice in our day hides behind the statement ‘I …

How can I be there for you?

Responding to sexual violence – an appeal in times of distress

Published in The Citizen on September 28, 2019 and can be read here.

“Always assume women around you have undergone sexual abuse in their lives unless stated otherwise,” said my friend, in a heart-wrenching remark. According to UN Women, 35% of women around the world have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives. India, where I am from, is no different; one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. Yet, we assume these women are unknown to us, hidden in some part of the country. Definitely not anyone we know. As the #MeToo and the #WhyIDidntReport campaigns spread across social media, I read several astonished comments from friends and relatives, reacting with surprise to the fact that someone they know has been a survivor as well. There is a reason why people who have been abused are not able to speak up. It is because of us, people like you and me, who have created su…