Breaking Barriers: Tillotama Shome makes it to Cannes also succceeds as a woman director!




WHEN the news of Rohena Gera-directed Sir’s selection for the Critics’ Week at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival was announced, its lead actor Tillotama Shome called up her co-star and friend, Vivek Gomber, to express her excitement. 


Shome and Gomber had wrapped up the movie’s shooting in April 2017 and, till the time the announcement was made, were under the impression that it was still being edited. 


For writer/ director Rohena Gera, Ratna’s drive to succeed was the vital center of the narrative of a changing society. “It was really about these two worlds,” she said during an interview at Cannes. 


"In a way, maybe I represent the old world because I come from a village, but to me what’s interesting is that actually it’s not that predictable. I don't criticize,  but I am someone that's dynamic. What I find very interesting about a lot of Indian women is the way that, even if they live in an extremely oppressive society, they find a way to make their lives within in that, rather than be uncaring. "


Being a female filmmaker, and making films about women in India has also been far from easy for women. You have to start off independently and then work your way into the big production houses. You can easily get typecasted as making "woman oriented" movies. Women like Rohena, Zoya, Deepa Mehta, Farah and the rest aren't really trying to enthrust a change in cinema or moviemaking, but rather a change in the functioning of the society. The seachange has happened in the society itself, their movies are just mirrors. Their success isn't due to the fact that they create fantasies, but that they are realistic. 


So, according to me, if you want to succced as a female director, here's two things you need to have in mind: 


* Stop fighting patriarchy: When you become a feminist through your films, you begin to crave the wrong attention. You, in a way, want to be treated as kids. Do we have to be coddled, pandered to, and protected from the steadfast rules of our patriarchal society? I've worked in Downtown Toronto (until wee hours) and had a homeless man follow me at 8pm at night to a subway station, but he did so because he wanted money rather than sex.  Understand the needs to society, their need to protect woman. Most first world countries have given equal rights to men and women. It is extremely callous of women to fight for an equal attention by putting men down. Instead showcase your strengths, your perspective towards society. You don't need quotas or censorships to compete with men and protect your sentiments. Very misogynistic. 


* Stop making escapist movies: "aaj may upar, aasman neeche" is so dated, its more date than those knee-hemline dresses of the 60s. Female directors are associated with a narrative that is traditionally escapist, with a romantic triangle, songs and extravagant dialogues, revenge and the rest.  But in a population of 1.2 billion, with millions of well-read, well-heeled people, often living in modern cities – not to mention second-generation Indians living in the diaspora – there are huge audiences that are impatient for a more intelligent, engaging cinema than Bollywood is able to offer. It’s these people we can call the ‘New Bollywood’ cinema adheres to. Thus they want our women directors to portray narratives that are independently made, enages with real topics, with unknown stars and make the biggest blasphemy in Bollywood movies: discard songs and dances. Its ok to discuss - drugs, sex, desire within the boundaries of creating healthy discussions or educating the masses.