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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Women Filmmakers Have To Cross Many Hurdles, Cinema Is Still A Man’s World: Director Anita Udeep

  • IWB Post
  •  May 22, 2019

Since its release, Tamil film 90 ml has been garnering some pretty negative reviews for its bold content. While the film’s director Anita Udeep has no issues with the reviews, she has refused to “tolerate those harsh and vulgar personal remarks” from people who barely know her.

In a conversation with The Indian Express, Udeep shared how she is dealing with the reviews about her film.

“I knew I had made a bold film, and as a filmmaker, I need to accept both appreciation and brickbats with grace. If I hadn’t been open about accepting criticism, I wouldn’t be making a film like 90 ml. Some men couldn’t relate to the film—I understand why. But what I couldn’t understand was, why some even thrashed the film without watching it. 90 ml isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I am aware of it,” she said.

“The film was, in fact, A-certified, and I am not okay when people moral police the content when it has been through the Censor Board. Reviewers reviewing the film is fine. But I am not willing to take in abuse. Certain online reviews were extremely chauvinistic. Instead of discussing the content, they made personal attacks. I confronted some of them online. They ran away after reacting to some of my tweets,” she added.

There have been many reviews which have commented that her film lacks a proper storyline but Udeep has no issues with that either.

“There was a mature audience who saw the film for what it is—beyond the smoking and drinking scenes. The takeaway of any film depends on the viewers, and what they want to see. After all, everything is perception. My film doesn’t talk about feminism and I don’t know why they drag that into this. Neither I have bashed men nor insisted that a woman should do whatever a man does. That was never my intention. If I had made 90 ml with five men, instead of five women, it would have been celebrated as a ‘jolly film’,” she shared.

“90 ml talks about ‘empowering women’ in little ways. It is more about the choices a woman makes in the society. Actually, I have tried to convey ‘big things’ in a lighthearted film. Men who watched the film are slowly supporting me—that is half your crowd. If a man respects a woman’s choices and starts treating her better or understanding her better, that is my success,” she further added.

Many reviewers have been against the portrayal of a lesbian relationship in the film but Udeep believes in the freedom of choice and wants to spread awareness that being a lesbian isn’t immoral or against Indian culture.  

“Lesbianism is a normal form of sexuality, and you need to accept this. A psychiatrist reviewing a film expressing unhappiness over how homosexuality has been addressed in 90 ml was just a bizarre idea. Like I had mentioned in the film, love is love and there is a huge psychological stigma associated with homosexuality,” she explained. “Mostly, women-centric films fail to address what women really want. So, while conceiving the story, I had imagined I was one of the five women characters, and wrote down all the quirky portions first; then weaved the serious stuff into the script. I don’t judge my friends. Likewise, Oviyaa’s character (Rita) also doesn’t judge her group of friends. They open up to her easily.”

Passionate about filmmaking, Udeep often finds it hard to devote herself completely to her career as she has responsibilities as a mother.

“It is tough to establish a work-life balance, and that is what I have learnt over these years. I am eventually getting there. Any successful woman needs a supporting family, and I am blessed with that. But women in the film industry have to cross many hurdles. Cinema is still a man’s world,” she said.

“Filmmaking isn’t just a professional process. It is much more than that. Ten years ago, we didn’t have these many women-oriented films. But now, women directors are proving that we can also make commercially-viable films. Thanks to artistes like Nayanthara and directors like Sudha Kongara. Most importantly, women filmmakers have interesting perspectives to offer and different stories to tell,” she added.


H/T: The Indian Express




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