Women’s Day Special | Ekta Kapoor, Guneet Monga and Tahira Kashyap Khurrana: We just want to create better opportunities for women
Something that started as an idea between producer Guneet Monga and filmmaker Tahira Kashyap Khurrana a year resulted in four women – Ekta Kapoor and Ruchikaa Kapoor Sheikh coming together for a unique cinema collective, whose inaugural project, Bittu is now a serious Oscar nomination contender in the best live action in short film category.
Indian Women Rising (IWR) is meant to discover, nurture and shine spotlight on the Indian female talent in cinema across the world.
“A year ago that we found these stats which informed us that less than 5 percent women in India are directors and that stirred a conversation between us. Early this year when Karishma Dev Dube, director of Bittu, reached out to me that she needed our support and an outreach, we all came in together and decided to put some structure into it,” shares Monga, who is the name behind has the helm of pushing content-driven cinema with films like The Lunchbox (2013), Masaan (2015), and Oscar winning short documentary Period. End of Sentence.
Kapoor, who has produced films such As The Dirty Picture (2011), Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016), Veere Di Wedding (2018) and Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare (2020) believes that for women to move ahead, it is just a matter of opportunities.
“There are so many capable talented directors out there but the only difference is the opportunity and space, both personally and professionally. There has been a rapid growth of women taking along each other and creating opportunities for each other. But if we are equally capable why is there only 5 per cent women female directors out there when we are half the population? So clearly there is lack of opportunity for women professionally and personally. We just want to create better opportunities for women,” shares Kapoor.
Talking about her experience as a filmmaker and write, Khurrana says, “I wouldn’t lie and hide the fact that it is difficult for women led stories and protagonists. When they are in the lead then it is almost like a risk that they are taking. But there are people who are willing to give women a chance and I wish it was not gender specific but sadly it is only mostly women who are sticking up for women stories. There is a bias against women but I think now is the time to grow out of it. We are in a better space now with OTT being bombarded by women-centric content and women-backed content, which shows there is an appetite for stories. The hesitation lies in the deep rooted patriarchy that we need to uproot.”
Monga adds that their aim is to do just that and more. “It is very important that we celebrate these voices in the mainstream. While filmmakers have their own journey making a film, a lot of them do not know how to amplify their work. We are here to amplify, distribute and celebrating women voices in mainstream,” she concludes.