Lights! Camera! Patriarchy!
Population First celebrates the 12th Anniversary of Laadli with Screenwriters Association – June 9, 2017
The Laadli Day anniversary event was organised by Population First and Screenwriters Association at SWA premises in Andheri West, with an audience consisting of around 60 scriptwriters. The event, hosted by Ms. Veena Vinod from Population First, began with Mr. Sista, the founder and Executive Trustee of Population First explaining When, How and Why Laadli was started, “We thought about how 50% of our population is Women and we needed to do something to uplift them. Now even the National Agenda includes programmes like Beti bachao Beti Padhao, we thought of doing Laadli Media awards 12 years ago. We felt that this was the way to have a sustained conversation with the media and keep them interested. We are very glad that Laadli is now a well recognised event and has gone International this year.”
The Director of Population First, Dr. A L Sharada spoke about the fulfilling journey she has had since joining Population First 14 years ago. She acknowledged support of Ms. Dolly Thakore, Mr. Ramesh Narayan and SWA’s senior EC member Mr. Anjum Rajabali, and highlighted how SWA has been an important partner for Laadli. She opined, “There is a lot of stereotyping and reinforcement of Patriarchal tenets in Films and we wanted to create a non judgmental space to discuss it. We are often the victims of thinking in a particular way because of the social milieu we live in. One of the first steps in achieving a gender just society is making sure our communication does not reinforce social biases. A good movie can make a big difference.”
Ms. Dolly Thakore, veteran theatre actor, and National coordinator for Laadli spoke about how she joined Laadli and her long association with the cause.
Ms. Aranya Johar, an 18 year old spoken word artist, opened the event with her widely shared viral poem “Brown Girl’s Guide to Gender”.
The attraction of the evening was an interactive panel discussion centred around the main theme of the event. For this, the Screenwriters Association was represented by Ms. Anuradha Tewari who has been working for the last 18 years in the Hindi film industry and is well known for co-writing screenplay of films like, Fashion, Jail, and Heroine; and Ms. Rajshree Ojha, director of films like Aisha and Chaurahen. Mr. Harish Iyer, equal rights activist, listed as one of the most influential LGBT persons in the world; and Dr. A L Sharada were the other two panelists. Dr. Ishmeet Nagpal, the Advocacy and Communication Manager at Population First, moderated the discussion and conducted the interactive activity. SWA’s Joint Secretary Manisha Korde and the Event sub-committee’s Co-chairperson Mr. Satyam Tripathy were also present as members of the audience.
Video clips were played for the Panel and the audience, which contained clips from various Bollywood movies. The Panel discussion was interactive with the audience and panelists all asked to hold up cards identifying the damaging communication portrayed in the clips.
Audience and panelists identified ‘mansplaining’, ‘moral policing’, ‘sexism’, ‘slut shaming’, ‘objectification’, ‘homophobia’, ‘stalking’, ‘sexual harassment’ etc. An interesting discussion ensued where it was argued that though the aspects portrayed might have been the lived realities of the people who made these movies, it was also concluded that communicators need to look twice at their communication and feel responsible for what messages they send. While portraying realities is necessary, the way they are portrayed is equally important. The right messaging does not need to be boring and can be entertaining as well.
Audience was very interactive and asked many questions, and by the end of the discussion, were able to analyse communication from gender perspective on their own.
After the panel discussion, there was another performance by Ms. Ramya Pandyan, member of Sexonomics Band, presenting a spoken word piece called ‘My Feminism’. The poem was an important message at the end of event, and was well received by the audience.
Overall, the event challenged the perspectives of the script writers present and many of them stayed back to interact with the panelists and Population First staff.
About Population First: Population First (PF) is a communications and advocacy initiative for a balanced, planned and stable population. SWA has been consistently associated with the gender equality agenda of Population First, conducting regular workshops and panel discussions.
(For more visit – www.populationfirst.org)
(Click here to see the photo album of the event.)