This Women’s Day, filmmaker Madhureeta Anand wants you to Know Your Porn | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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This Women’s Day, filmmaker Madhureeta Anand wants you to Know Your Porn

Filmmaker Madhureeta Anand’s Know Your Porn is a five-part web series that aims to put an end to the nuisance around pornography in India through awareness and empowerment.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 09, 2017 11:57 IST
Sneha Bengani
Madhureeta Anand studied filmmaking from Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi.
Madhureeta Anand studied filmmaking from Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi.(Images: Madhureeta Anand)

Taking up a taboo head on is no mean feat. And bringing it to spotlight is braver still. While we all know that mindsets need to change to protect our women and children, we rarely do anything about it. But filmmaker Madhureeta Anand is different.

She is trying to initiate a discussion that we have long avoided, the one we don’t want to have. Not yet. But she brings it to our faces anyway by asking us to reflect on all that we are watching on the dark web.

While at it, she also informs about the ills of indiscriminate, mindless watching of…porn…there it goes, the word we dare not say out loud.

Know Your Porn is her upcoming web series of five episodes focusing on responsible and informed viewing of pornography. A filmmaker by profession but a social campaigner at heart, Anand aims to collect Rs 10 lakh by April 20 through crowdfunding — money that she’ll put into the making of the series and building a campaign around it.

This International Women’s Day, we talk to the 43-year-old filmmaker about her motivations, the release date of the web series, the perils of porn and how change begins at home.

What motivated you to do make this web series?

Madhureeta has directed two feature films and about 30 documentaries.

There are so many instances of pornography addiction that nobody even notices, there is a massive consumption of child and rape porn which is very worrying and illegal, and then there are people who try to replicate in real life what they see in porn, which is entirely impossible.

Watching this kind of sexual content indiscriminately is having a far-reaching negative effect on society across fronts, including the safety of women or children. I felt that we needed to start a discussion to create an environment where people can speak out. But most people are so skittish about it. I felt somebody should do it and if no one is going to do it, then I will.

What does it aim to achieve?

To create awareness and start a discussion. We are passing no moral judgment. In the case of pornography in India, people are not making informed choices. We want to inform and empower the watchers of porn to make the right choice.

How have you researched your data and source material?

Madhureeta Anand with popular web series actor Sumeet Vyas (C).

While researching for my next film, which is also about sex, I spoke to a lot of men, women and sex workers across India. Then I’ve consulted lawyers, educationists and people who have researched on porn extensively. We’ve also taken a lot of data from online surveys.

Will it be a documentary style web series?

Yes. It is non-fiction. It’ll have visuals, text and music. Each film will be for about two to three minutes. We want it to go on all WhatsApp groups where people are watching porn. There are no interviews because most people who are going to watch it will do it in public space but without letting others know. So we are not going to put in anything that requires them to plug in headphones.

Are five episodes enough to spread awareness on all issues related to porn?

Know Your Porn will be up for viewing by the first week of June.

It is just a conversation starter. We are addressing the five major problem areas. After this, there will be more. But for now I do not know what those would be or when I’ll make them.

We are going to build a social media campaign around it—a Facebook page and an email address where men can write, ask questions. I have also tied up with two NGOs—MenEngage and Azad Foundation. They will carry it to the men and do workshops around it.

When will it be made available for public viewing? How can people access it?

It will be up by the first week of June. The script and research are ready. Other than circulating on WhatsApp groups, I’ll be putting it up on my YouTube channel ma Films. It will also be given free to NGOs, schools, colleges and every person who puts money in our campaign.

Why crowdfunding? Why didn’t you look for an investor?

Crowdfunding is a great way to get people involved. It works well when you are supporting a cause. If I had an investor, I’d have had to pay him back. That would have meant charging people for watching the films. They couldn’t have travelled far then. Since porn is free, we decided this should also be free.

The author tweets @sneha_bengani

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