Indian and South Asian delegate to Berlin Film Festival Meenakshi Shedde is visiting Bangladesh for the second time. She is now in Dhaka to attend the on-going Dhaka International Film Festival.
Meenakshi, winner of Indian National Award for Best Film Critic, conducted a session titled ‘New Trends in Feminist Films from South Asia’ on the concluding day of ‘6th Dhaka International Conference on Women in Cinema’, which was held as part of 18th DIFF, at Samson H Chowdhury Centre of Dhaka Club on Sunday and Monday.
In a recent interview with New Age, Meenakshi spoke about feminist films, the challenges women face in the entertainment industry and more.
‘Feminist films promote women’s confidence, accomplishments and more. They depict the challenges faced by women. Feminist films can be made by both men and women. Its interesting that the majority of the feminist films have been made by men who are empathetic towards women,’ said Meenakshi Shedde, who has written and edited around 18 books on films.
Meenakshi spoke about harassment of women in the entertainment industry and beyond.
‘I think the #MeToo movement has inspired women to raise their voices against sexual harassment. If men could learn to behave themselves, women could have had a smooth path towards success. Women are being sexually harassed across the world not only in the entertainment industry but also in other arenas,’ said Meenakshi, adding that positive changes have been occurring in the wake of #MeToo.
‘The Mumbai Film Festival disqualified four films in 2018 because one of the filmmakers was accused of harassment, which is an example of positive change,’ added Meenakshi.
Meenakshi also recalled her journey.
‘I was a journalist in Times of India. There are a few film theatres around the office. I watched a number of films which were being screened at Mumbai Film Festival. I was surprised when I saw a few films, which are different from typical Bollywood films, at the festival. People don’t even know about those due to lack of promotion,’ she said.
‘The mainstream newspapers publish reports only on Bollywood and Hollywood films but films are being made in 55 different dialects across India. I felt that people need to be informed about these films. So I started writing about them,’ she added.
Meenakshi had been a juror for around 20 international film festivals including Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Venice Film Festival and others. Besides, she is curator and consultant to Dubai Film Festival, British Film Institute and others.
When asked to share her experience of visiting Bangladesh, she replied, ‘This is my second visit to Bangladesh. Earlier, I attended an event titled ‘Berlinale Spotlight Bangladesh’ that was organised by Goethe-Institut Bangladesh in partnership with Dhaka DocLab and the International Film Initiatives of Bangladesh. The people here are very friendly. They are very much into cultural activities. If I receive an invitation in the future, I will love to visit Bangladesh again.’
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