Filmmaker Leena Yadav’s “Parched” raised eyebrows, sparked debates and also got critically acclaimed at International film festivals as it addressed topics like marital rape, serial and physical abuse, child marriage, lack of knowledge on sex among others. The director says this forced hush hushed mentality in a way has encouraged her to talk more about sex now.
Yadav was present at the Literature, Information, Film, Frame, TV and Theatre (LIFF) India Filmotsav 2017 – World Cine Fest. Yadav’s film which starred actresses like Radhika Apte, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Surveen Chawla in powerful roles, was screened as the opening film for the fest.
Looking back at the “rich culture of India”, Yadav said here on Friday: “We created the Kamasutra and now how have become the people who use words like ‘chhee’, ‘haw’. I think a lot of violence is caused… We are sexually very repressed”.
“In lot of interviews in India, if I would use the word breast or sex, people would react like ‘how can she talk like that’. We need to talk about sex. We really do. There are too many issues buried deep and there is so much of repression because of that.
“There is so much of lack of knowledge of sex amongst women especially in India… I want to talk about sex a lot more now,” she added at the fest which started on Friday and will end on September 5.
The filmmaker also spoke on how a woman who is a film director is called a woman director but so is not the case when it comes to male directors.
“When I made ‘Shabd’ it was my first film and I was only asked questions on being a woman director. I was being put in a box and then I thought that I am never ever going to make films only about women as that is what I am expected to do.
“But I broke that with ‘Parched’. The thing is I don’t like being called a woman director. We don’t define a male director; we don’t call them male directors. Why are we putting things like ‘Parched’ female-centric, why are we putting things in a box. It’s much more complicated I know that in some parts of the world they say that you are bringing attention to the fact that there are not enough female voices, not enough female narratives.
“‘Parched’ is, should be and is being watched by men and reviewed beautifully by a lot of them. These are narratives, these are people that co-exist. So let’s make films about each other and not put things in a box,” added Yadav.
She also threw light on the sad fact that women from villages have more honest discussions on sex as opposed to the woman having from cities, also categorised as progressive.
LIFFT India Filmotsav 2017 has been dedicated to late actor Om Puri, whose wife too was present at the opening ceremony.
A tribute to late filmmaker Ismail Merchant was also made with the LIFFT India Lifetime Achievement Award.
The film festival also had a short solo play by Rajit Kapur and was graced by veteran actress Tanuja.
Being held at Fariya’s Resort, the first edition of the film festival will have a range of short films, documentaries and feature films, apart from a book launch, book reading sessions, a play and master class sessions every day.
These sessions will be conducted by names like Rajit Kapur, Mita Vasishth and Danish Hussain to name a few. It will also showcase a painting exhibition of upcoming young painters Shibani Sehgal and Rahul Chaudhury along with an exhibition of photographs by Fawzan Hussain.