#MeToo’s Latest Champion: Prakash Jha, Creator of Strong Heroines

#MeToo’s Latest Champion: Prakash Jha, Creator of Strong Heroines

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Award-winning director and producer Prakash Jha spoke exclusively to The Quint at ‘ Difficult Dialogues 2018’ in Goa. The director expressed his opinion on a variety of topics ranging from the engagement of women in the film industry to the ‘Padmaavat’ row and the #MeToo movement in Bollywood.

Jha said the representation of women in every aspect of filmmaking – like story-telling, writing, directing and cinematography – is abysmally low. He called for more women to be creatively and technically involved in the process of filmmaking.

I don’t how much time it will take but it is important that more women make movies, be behind the cameras, are technically involved, are writers for movies. It’s important that equal opportunities and rewards are available to women.
Prakash Jha, Director

Talking about the ‘Padmaavat’ row the ‘Gangaajal’ director said he too had to bear the brunt in the past.

Jha, who is known for hard-hitting films like ‘Rajneeti’, ‘Apaharan’ and ‘Gangaajal’, said now it is possible to make movies on all kinds of subjects as there is an audience for every type of film.

I bore the brunt when I made ‘Aarakshan’ and ‘Ranjneeti’. In India our societies are far stronger than the state...When I say it’s the best time to make movies, my idea was that you could pick up subjects and tell stories that you couldn’t a few years ago. Primarily because of multiplexes and secondarily because our audience has grown. Now, there is an audience for every kind of movie.
Prakash Jha, Director

The stereotypical portrayal of women in cinema can change only if their representation is more in every aspect of filmmaking, added Jha.

The film industry is dominated by men and the portrayal of women on screen depends on the "male gaze" from behind the camera, he said.

Jha’s panel at ‘Difficult Dialogues 2018’ forum in Goa aimed at invoking discussions on representation of women in Indian cinema. The 3-day conference focused on how Indian gender constructs affect fundamental aspects of daily lives and citizenship. At the event Jha said:

It is the male gaze and social gaze which reflect the cinematic gaze. The male gaze from behind the camera reflects how women are portrayed on screen.

Prakash Jha also revealed that he is working on the script of his new film "Satsang", which is based on religion.

(This article was first published on 10 Feb 2018 and has been reposted from The Quint's archives to celebrate Prakash’s Jha’s birthday.)

Video Producer: Hera Khan

Video Editor: Vishal Kumar

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