A panel with Indian actresses Huma Qureshi, Diana Penty, American actress Judi Beecher and Australian filmmaker and actress Saara Lamberg was moderated by Actress and Kathak Dancer Prachee Shah at the India Pavilion at Cannes. The India Pavilion is organised by the Ministry of I&B and FICCI.
The panel discussed the role of women in films across the world and various issues concerning women in cinema globally.
When asked about how she sees women centric films in India over the years Huma said, “For me the word, women centric films itself is a problem. Why do we need to identify a genre which is about women. Its almost like special needs. Honestly, a film is juts about the story and not about gender.”
“In a regular film, what women are supposed to do is quite limited. Its mostly this damsel in distress who is waiting to be rescued. It’s high time we (women) rescue ourselves.” Huma added.
Talking about other challenges, Judi Beecher said, “There is always disparity with regards to money and roles for women. Finally we are coming around but I agree with Huma that why there has to be difference between a film made by a man or a woman.”
Agreeing with what Huma and Judi said, Saara added, “It is stupid decision commercially to not have woman in films because women make up for a lot of audience.”
On asked what advice would they give to the women wanting to make their career in films, Saara said, “I would advice women to not get bothered about letting down or upsetting others. We as woman are often brought up to please everyone around us. What I would like to suggest other women that if you have daughters, please let them know they are worthy. Empower them, don’t press them in a closet. If that girl decides that she can, then she really can.”
Agreeing with what Saara, Diana Penty added, “It’s a really tough industry so you got to really think hard if you need to enter the industry but if you decide to enter, then you cannot give up. Remember no matter how hard it gets, you need to have perseverance; you need to believe in yourself. When you are going through dry spells, keep honing skills…join a workshop, create your own content, meet people, read scripts because it is good to know what people are writing, Just do not give up.
“I want to see films with women having superpowers without a cape.” concluded Huma Qureshi.
Post the session all the panelists along with filmmakers Rahul Rawail and Shaji Karun released the poster to celebrate 50th year of International Film Festival of India that takes place in Goa every year.