Rama Pandey at RIFF: “She becomes ‘AJI SUNTI HO!’ Kyun?”
- IWB Post
- January 17, 2015
RIFF “Rajasthan International Film Festival” is creating a new platform for the indigenous talent of Rajasthan. ‘Haat – the weekly bazaar” by Seema Kapoor has acclaimed as the best Rajasthani film internationally. Jaipur Women Blog joined hands with RIFF to create wonders together and bring forth women in this field.
We also learnt that this three-day film festival had received many movies produced and directed by students. A student Suruchi Sharma’s recently bagged an award for a fiction film ‘Aaje Wagh Nahi Aave’ at Cinephile 2014.
Anshu Harsh, the chief organizer of this fest says: “There has been a huge response from the students, both girls and boys. It’s admirable to see such talents in Rajasthan. It’s just our effort to propagate this vibe.”
She also introduced us to the Chief Guest Rama Pandey at RIFF press release. As we caught hold of her spare time, she was glad and proud to be a part of JWB.
JWB – It’s an honor to meet you. May we have some of your precious time?
Rama – Hanji, bilkul! You guys make women outshine in this world. Bas wahi to chaiye! Doing a good job!
JWB – It’s been a pleasure. And women like you are always an inspiration.
Rama – I was just living my dream. A passion I had was to create my own identity. Bahut zaroori hai khud ki pehchaan!
JWB – Absolutely! You were a journalist when this career was a bold choice for a woman. What drove unstoppable towards your dreams?
Rama – Dream big with purpose and passion, there is no one except you who can stop you from achieving your goals. I was a lot ziddi back then. Mujhe jo chaiye tha uske lie man me ek aag thi. I studied hard for whatever I wanted to become. Pehle doctor banna tha, fir lecturer, fir journalist, ab cinematographer. People thought I was a pagal. But this pagal did many pagal things and achieved big.
JWB – And as a woman how did you deal with the struggle?
Rama – I am proud that I belong to Rajasthan. The Rajasthani tradition sometimes binds women to chulha-chokha. But that wasn’t my cup of tea. I wanted to explore and be a successful person. All my friends had got married by the time I reached 9th standard. I remember when I used to ask ‘why is she absent?’ and the reply was ‘uska toh byah ho gaya.’
But I was different; I mean I had to be the difference.
JWB – And what change did you want? The customs, the obligations, the stereotypes?
Rama – Everything! Our culture is beautiful but we should not bend ourselves so much to be a part of it. We need to clear the barrier. Ladkiya kyun nahi padh sakti bhai? A lot successful and learned people used to marry their daughters too early. There are plenty of customs to be changed and more to it the thinking must be changed. As a woman you need to be tough, and then work on your dreams.
JWB – You wrote Begum Bano aur Khatoon. It is not acceptable that media portray muslim women so passive.
Rama – Begum Bano aur Khatoon was like a dream coming true to me. They are not passive but active path breakers, fighters and achievers in true sense. I have followed these women very closely, and now is the time to celebrate and salute their success. There will be time when people say men can be as successful as women. We, Montage Films, are going to cover one of such stories about Kulsum Malik, the founder of Kaya-Kalp Salon chain.
Kulsum Malik is an epitome of one strong and ambitious woman, who also was featured among 23 women Pie-o-neers for our blog ‘Finger in the Pie’ during JWB launch.
JWB – You are doing a great deed empowering women. Are there people who criticize you? How do you suggest women should deal with it?
Rama – Bahut baar hota hai. There will be people dragging you down. But women need to identify their own-self. They should feel meri bhi pehchaan hai, mera janam mere lie bhi hai. After completing middle school, they quit. Kyun? They get married and produce babies. That’s it. No-one calls her by her name. She becomes a Maa, a Bhua, a Masi, a Bhabhi and AJI SUNTI HO! She loses her identity as soon as she loses her dream. Women are not always meant to do sacrifices. Kabhi bachhe, kabhi pati, ghar-baar mein hi reh jati hai. Women should start being constructive. It doesn’t always mean to disrespect any culture or tradition. But, your dreams and desires are equally important. Apne andar ke tej se, apne bhaavo se apna naam roshan karo.
JWB – So true! How does the ‘Light, Camera, Action’ go for the beginners?
Rama – The talent in young generation is admirable. The girls especially know when to strike and win hearts. Although, we can’t compare the talent – be it a girl’s or a boy’s. Mehnat dono karte hai. Respect bhi equally milti hai.
Rama – Women are powerful. They would probably never need a support if one day they decide to do something. Bas wahi Jazba hona chaiye. And as for the message: even if you are half educated, teach one. Find a problem around if there is any, and solve it. Be meaningful to your life. Be committed to yourself.
Interviewed by Neelima Nausaliya