Avantika Hari was studying at the London Film School when she saw a surge in the number of honour killing cases reported in the newspapers internationally. "Everyday there was an article on honor killings from some part of the world, among various communities," she says, adding, "That’s when I decided to make a film about the subject that I found compelling. What surprised me was that it’s not just prevalent in India, but it’s a common phenomenon in the Middle-East, central Asia as well as among Persians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. Honour killings cuts across all religions."
Her film, Land, Gold, Women, which was shot entirely in Birmingham, UK over 24 days, will release in theatres in India towards the end of November. But until then, the director is trying to spread the word on the social evil. For over a month now, a professional theatre group has been enacting street plays around Mumbai on the subject. So far, they have organised performances at National College, MMK College, Globus theatre in Bandra, Candies, Marine Drive, Fun Republic and Oberoi Mall.
"We started on the streets, but then noise levels and moving traffic were problems and the actors really had to scream, so we took it to enclosed locations," says Hari. Over the next few weeks, the play will be staged at malls in Andheri, Malad, Phoenix Mills in Lower Parel as well as at Sterling theatre in VT and other city colleges. "The venues have been very cooperative. We have planned a total of 35 performances and we’ve already finished about 10 so far. And thankfully, the play seems to have successfully captured people’s attention," says Hari.
Land, Gold, Women has also been screened at over 10 colleges around the city, in a bid to raise awareness among the youth. "We reached out to almost 10,000 students through those screenings," she informs, adding that they have also tied with up with a few NGOs that actively work towards protecting honour killing victims. "We will also be giving a share of the proceeds collected from our DVD profit to help them," adds Hari.
The film will be screened at Blue Frog on November 10 and at NCPA on November 20, where the Deputy High Commissioner of England will be the chief guest.
Land, Gold, Women