A Woman Director Faces Many Biases: 'Turning 30' Filmmaker

Mumbai, Dec 15 (IANS) Women work in almost every department of filmmaking in Bollywood these days but still have to face prejudices, says debutant director Alankrita Srivastav who is ready with "Turning 30" - which she calls a slice of her own life.

"It's wonderful being a woman director, but it's true that there are many biases that a woman faces - they are sort of breaking away slowly, but they are there," Alankrita, who is 30 herself, told IANS in an interview.

"I've been working in the industry for so long - from the time I was 22, I've been working on the sets. So I was quite comfortable being on the set and that was not an issue. But you do feel certain things.

"During post-production, I felt the studios were very biased. They won't take you seriously. You have to keep proving yourself. You have to doubly make sure that they take you seriously. At the end of the day, it's a patriarchal industry. I can't put my finger on one particular thing or specific instances, but there is something," she added.

Alankrita, who worked as an assistant director in films like "GangaaJal" and "Raajneeti"; as executive producer in "Dil, Dosti, Etc" and "Khoya Khoya Chand"; and as chief assistant director in "Apaharan" and "Loknayak", will release her first directorial venture Jan 14.

"Turning 30" talks about the life of a woman when she turns 30 and Alankrita teamed up with 31-year-old Gul Panag for the film. Produced by Prakash Jha, it also stars Purab Kohli in a pivotal role.

"The film is essentially about a girl who is heading towards her 30th birthday and how she begins to think how her life has been and how she rediscovers who she is."

"I felt that in popular mainstream cinema in India, the representation of women is really strange. Either they are really good or really bad. So I just thought that there is no space for regular women who are in their early 30s and are normal working women.

"What they go through, how they stay in the city all by themselves, sorting out day-to-day issues. I just felt that this character was something I had not seen in films. So I wrote it," she added.

Alankrita, who studied in Delhi, also revealed that a major part of the drama is based on her life.

"The script is majorly drawn from my own life in the sense that it's a story set in my kind of world. I feel a lot of urban, working, young people will identify with it because it's very real and a slice of real life," she said.

Even though the director is kicked about the fact that she has finally given shape to a film of her own, the journey was not without challenges.

"It was very challenging to make the film in the sense that it was a very small budget film and I had to pack in a lot of stuff in every day's shoot. I often felt like a one-woman army because I had to do a lot of things within the constraints of time and money," she said.


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