30 June Thursday

Narrative of movies need to change in favour of women: Actor Parvathy

PTIUpdated: Monday Dec 11, 2017

Thiruvananthapuram > Narrative of movies need to change in favor of women to draw the fairer sex to theatres, actor Parvathy said Monday. Speaking at an open house organised as part of the ongoing IFFK here, the Qarib Qarib Single star said women have to be financially independent first and the narrative of movies should change in their favour to ensure that more female audience come to theatres.

'Women in Cinema,' the subject at the open forum, brought new perspectives on the role of women in the 90-year-long history of Malayalam Cinema. Sharing her traumatic personal experience, Parvathy said she was engaged in an abusive relationship in her younger days even after she was physically hurt because of the wrong perception of relationships she had from Malayalam films of that time.

'We grew up watching the hero, who receives applause in the theatres when he slaps a woman on screen.. There aren't many movies which explores the sexuality of women in Malayalam Cinema till now.. It is through books that I gained the right perspective,' she said.

The actor, who won the Golden Peacock award at the IFFI 2017 for her performance in Malayalam film 'Take Off' on the struggles of Kerala nurses in war torn Iraq also added that our film industry was a 'failure' in depicting characters without emphasising their gender.

The forum also discussed the recent sexual attack on a prominent malayalam actress and the formation of Mollywood's first women's collective. The panelists were actress Parvathi and Rima Kallingal, cinematographers Fowzia Fatima and Maheen, Directors Vidhu Vincent, Geethu Mohandas, and Suma Jose and film critic Deedi Damodaran.

Director Vidhu Vincent said the film festival was changing the undercurrents of Malayalam cinema, especially for women. In olden days, film societies were the only window to world cinema and they were dominated by men.

Unfortunately, that is the case even now. Some producers were unwilling to make movies with the actress who was attacked in the lead role, she said adding it is as if a part of the industry had 'erased' her off from the cinema sphere. Actor Rima Kallingal said challenges and boundaries of women in cinema were widening each day.

'How many women are economically able or have an open space to go to the theatres alone?' she asked. 'What we want is equal representation for all in Malayalam Cinema – let it be men, women, and transgender, gay or lesbian.. We frown when we watch two men or two women making out on the screen because we are not used to it.. We have to see more of that every day in our movies to change it,' Rima added.

Cinematographer Maheen Mirza felt the grammar of current cinema was 'extremely misogynistic,' but its language was slowly changing. Director-Actor Geethu Mohandas said she had the privilege of working with some male directors who consider everyone as equal.

But that's not the case for all. The formation of Women's Collective in Cinema (WCC) happened at a time of extreme need. A few of us came together the next day after we heard about the tragic experience one of us had to go through. That's where this core team was formed, she said.

Cinematographer Fowziya Fatima shared her bitter experience in shooting item numbers for movies. She said showing nudity on screen is ok if it is aesthetically needed, but women shouldn't be just flesh-oriented performers