Movies

A scene from the film

The Courtesans of Bombay (1983)

The title “The Courtesans of Bombay” may sound nostalgic because the fervent tradition of entertainment which takes its root to the palaces of Maharajas and Shahenshahs has fazed out entirely. It had its not so glory days in the late 20th century, when it was replaced by films and modern forms of entertainment.

The British docudrama directed by Ismail Merchant in 1983, as his second directorial project, offered insight into the life of modern day courtesans living in their timid apartments and earning daily bread through entertaining the customers. While dancing and singing was the major highlight of their career, most of the performers resorted to prostitution to earn a better living.

Unlike popular courtesan based films, Umrao Jaan (1981) and Pakeeza (11972), the Courtesans of Bombay offered a less-romantic insight on the life of the so called lowly-born denizens.

About the Film

The film was produced by Merchant-Ivory Productions and distributed by BBC’s Channel 4 and New Yorker Films.

Shot entirely inside Pavan Pul, a small settlement in the middle of Bombay (Mumbai). The entire tenement is occupied by the courtesans, their family, and related personals, accounting for 4,000 – 5,000 tenants in total. Almost 12 tenants living inside a dingy room.

The film begins with the scene of a dawn when everyone is either sleeping or about to start their early chore. What took place earlier that night and the following nights is vividly presented on the latter part of the film. Throughout the day, the courtesans either spend time either ruminating inside their apartments or playing cards, and practicing music and dance. Most young girls, who are trained to become the professional courtesans, practice the craft of dancing and singing with much awe.

As mentioned in a scene, “Here (Pavan Pul) is the only place where the birth of a girl child is a cause of celebration but the other way around,” and rightly so, because, the males in the society spent their day idly while girls earn the bread for the family.

A young girl is basically trained in Kathak and Hindustani classical music, along with modern form of dances to lure in the customers. Once she reaches an age, a benefactor arrives with loads of money to take her away with him.

Saeed Jaffrey, Zohra Sehgal and Kareem Samar are the only professional actors in the entire film who have played the characters of the real life people living inside Pavan Pul.

A scene from the film

A scene from the film

Most courtesans complain of the dwindling numbers of connoisseurs, while others remain adamant in their pursuit for the excellence in dance and music. Most courtesans are also trained in the Bollywood and modern dance forms to appeal the new-age customers.

Almost everyone living in the quarters share the similar dream of making it big in the entertainment industry or films, while none except one has ever made it out. Despite the fluctuating income, cheap customers and an uncertain career, they exemplify the passion for becoming better performers. As for almost everyone, the challenge remains in earning daily bread, while the pressure entirely sums up on the shoulders of a single female in the family.

How Courtesans came to be?

Popularly known as ‘Tawaifs’ in India, the courtesans were known to cater the nobility during the Mughal era. They were admired for their niche skills on dancing and singing. The tawaifs were highly praised and supported by the royals and nobles alike. While sex was incidental, tawaifs weren’t known for being indulged in prostitution, unlike the popular misnomer.

Tawaif or Nautch Girl

Tawaif or Nautch Girl

After the decline of Mughal empire, the tawaifs mostly performed for the British officer and Nawabs. Most experts opine that the classical art was rather vulgarized and was rendered useless during this time, however, the popularity of the art spread like wildlife and people started accepting the form. Kathak, Ghazal, Musayra (Shayari), Urdu poems, Thumri and other forms of North Indian music were part of the daily life.

When the nobles vanished, so did the glory of the tawaifs. The courtesans lost benefactors, hence, most of them resorted to private shows to not-so-noble customers and rampant prostitution. The tradition took its last breath in the late 20th century when it was overtly shadowed by films and modern music.

There still are some remnants of the tradition, however, it remains only as a showcase of the bygone culture.

 

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The second narrative on Ramayana

Sita Sings the Blues (2008)

As the title suggests, it is the tale of melancholy and sadness narrated by Sita in a musical rendition of the same.

The emergence of feminism in 70s revealed many grave issues faced by women to the media and films; and it not only talked about female rights but it challenged the prevalent ideas based on the thousands of years of history, philosophy, arts and literature which were curated by men. A female perspective on these ideas told an entirely different story than we have heard or believed for ages.

Sita Sings the Blues Poster

Sita Sings the Blues Poster

Nina Paley, the director, producer and writer, retold the ancient tale of love(less) story of Rama & Sita sketched by Valmiki some 1000 years ago, which has already been retold by numbers of men through generations. The film dealt with the time-span of Sita’s life; from the moment she got betrothed to Rama to the event of her final catharsis.

It is presented through the use animation, however, it definitely isn’t a cartoon for that matter. The choice of medium Nina chose offers an entirely refreshing view to the story. It uses different style of animation to separate and identify parallel narratives. The first narrative is the literal translation of Ramayana’s events. The other two narratives respectively deal with the discourse on Ramayana and the relation of the ancient events with the popular culture of today.

The film extensively uses Annette Hanshaw’s jazz songs, which were popular in the radio in 20s and 30s. A huge sum of the entire budget was used only to acquire the rights to her songs.


The Originally Distorted Story

Ramayana was originally penned down by a Brahman sage, Valmiki, who is believed to have lived roughly between 4th Century – 2nd Century BCE. (As mentioned in Quora.com which has recently been invaded by amateur historians, hence, the exact date of Valmiki’s birth remains a mystery) The actual events probably happened just before Valmiki’s birth or during his lifetime.

As many websites, historians and texts mention varying dates of the events, where some go as far as 7,000-20,000 years before, the proof of actual date of the event is now improbable. (Most historians distorted the date over the time to establish Hinduism’s early prominence among all the religions). The first Ved was written roughly between 1700 -1100 BCE during the Vedic Sanskrit era, hence Valmiki couldn’t have lived before 1st century BCE. The original Pali leaf on which Vamiki wrote the story was discovered in 11th century.

The original translation goes as such;

Rama and Sita

Rama and Sita

The story of Ramayana follows the life of Rama and Sita. Sita, a princess of Mithila Kindgom, is betrothed to Rama of Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh). Shortly after their marriage, King of Ayodhya banish them to 14 years of exile. During this time, Ravana, the mighty Tamil King from Sri Lanka, takes interest on Sita and abducts her. He takes her forcefully to his kingdom and confines her in the palace garden. He demands to marry her, however, on the moral ground attested by Sita, Ravana drops his decision for a while.

Meanwhile, Rama summons the army of men and apes alike and takes Sri Lanka by force. Eventually, almost all the male members of Ravana’s family die in the battle. Ravana’s brother Dushasana takes Rama’s side and helps the latter to avenge his pride by killing Ravana.

Shortly after the end of the battle, Rama demands Sita to prove her chastity. Sita does so by walking through the flame unburnt. Ram accepts her, however, only to banish her later when his realm starts questioning her chastity. Sita later gives birth to her twin sons. When Rama finds out about them, he arrives to take them away with him however, he demands Sita to prove her chastity again to be eligible to become his queen. In a state of melancholy, Sita demands the mother Earth to digest her up inside her womb, hence, seeking relief from the world. The mother Earth appears and taker Sita away, leaving Rama and her two children all by themselves. 


Nina Paley’s Version

The authenticity of the events is questionable, however, over the time the story of Rama and his valor swept through South Asia. Many hymns and literature were inscribed to support the theory. The story of Sita however has mostly been about her perseverance and sacrifices which is used by men to glorify the portrayal of a generic Hindu women; a great sacrificer, a person with zero choice of rights and a basically gender biased citizen.

Nina’s version portrays the truth Sita had to face whilst Rama was busy examining his valor. She offered three different narratives; the first narrative is the literal adoption of Ramayana, the second narrative discourses on the events and its criticisms, while the third narrative presents her own life experiences similar to Sita.

The first narrative is entirely composed using intelligently selected cliparts depicting the popular images of the characters. The second narrative uses shadow puppet and vector graphic animation to portray a modern rendition of the characters. The third narrative uses squigglevision technique of animation to portray her own life experience.

Insight on Ninas version

Nina protests against the men-driven-world for fabricating the history as their will, and to have degraded women and their choices for ages. Alike Sita, Nina is abandoned by her husband which pulls her closer to the life and trials of Sita and the hard decisions she had to make to seek salvation.

She uses Greek chorus style of narration to discourse on the events of Ramayana and its consequences in the contemporary society. The whole discourse is funny yet insightful.

Although Rama hasn’t been portrayed well in the film, she drives her point through the real portrayal of Sita instead. In an interview with India-West, she did acknowledge that Lord Ram is not depicted well in the film. She added to the source: “No one has to like it.

She even offers an insight on Ravana’s perspective on abducting Sita and the events that followed. Although, it isn’t the major issue of the film, it does try to clarify the stand of Ravana to some extent.


You can find the complete film here,

Nina on ‘Sita Sings the Blues’

Court scene from "To Kill a Mockingbird'

Depiction of Racism in Cinema

I was one of many in my neighborhood and school to have called out name ‘bhaiya’ or ‘madhisey’ for the street vendors from Madhesh. It was the earliest misnomer I picked up from my own family and neighbors. It was easy blemishing someone’s identity by just refereeing them with an offensive name; but it never occurred to me then how those small incidents would impact my conscience years later.

It was easy growing up a racist; even throwing subtle racist remarks towards close friends with a laugh to hide it after. Once I got hold of what it feels like, it was harder growing up afterwards. It was tough unlearning the things I learned. The phase of self-analysis and atonement began.

I never had a moral figure in my life, I only had elders and the mainstream Hindi films to look up to. And, I learned what they casually preached. To treat someone different on the basis of their color, language, accent and occupation is a grave offense which often goes unpunished in our society. if it weren’t true, I should have been incarcerated long ago.


Depiction of Racism in Cinema

Films made on Racism or race related issues find a deep place among niche audience, however, most treat them as just movies. Most of the time, they are often branded too controversial for their depiction of the bitter reality or are outright obliterated for being too offensive. Mostly because, real historical portrayal brings unpleasant attention towards certain class of people or group.

Segregation 1940s

Segregation during 1940s

The earliest film ever made on the issue of racism didn’t came out until mid-1950s, around the same time the American civil rights movement took the noble step. It took a while to bring the subject of African-Americans and other minorities into Hollywood. In contrast, these films aren’t only the reflection of the prevalent racism in America but the entire world where the racial minorities are expulsed by the society and the justice system. Racism is prevalent in Asian countries too and extraordinarily in larger number, however, we only have had few films that ever dealt with the issue.

To quote James Baldwin (American novelist and social critic),

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

When we talk about the depiction of racism in cinema, the earliest films that come to our mind are 12 Angry Men and To Kill a Mockingbird. Both of which are the finest example of films ever made depicting the prevalent racism in the society.

12 Angry Men came out in 1957 and To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962. These two films are only 5 years apart from each other, however, the issue depicted in both the films resonates the sociopolitical strife made on the racial minorities. `The racial profiling and mistreatment of the minorities in America is largely the context for both the films.

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is based on a book, by the same title, by Harper Lee which went to win the Pulitzer Prize. The film too went to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Both the setting of the book and the author emerges from the Southern America in 1930s, hence highlighting the prevalent social issues existing in the South. The story is inspired by the life of a young African-American man, Tom Robinson, who is falsely accused of rape of a young white woman. The accused is indicted; and later killed while trying to flee the court. The movie came out the same year Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was jailed for his involvement in the civil rights movement.

“12 Angry Men” takes on the issue of a young Puerto Rican man falsely accused of a homicide. It closely follows the debate on indictment by the 12 jurors assigned for the trial. The story goes as such, “A young Puerto Rican man is falsely accused of killing his own father on the basis of few unreliable testimonies provided by the witnesses. The jurors base their judgments on the Reasonable doubt and accuse the man for the first degree murder, however, one juror believes in fairer trial for all and persuades others to give a thought before letting their judgement take over. What follows is a long debate on the man’s right for justice, along with reflection on the jurors’ biases and justice system. The jurors reflect on their own life and beliefs before deciding the fate of the young man, but it takes lot of persuasion from one single man to make it happen. At the end, the accused is proven innocent and acquitted by the court.”

Unlike To Kill a Mockingbird, which is set in Alabama during 1930s, the story of 12 Angry Men is entirely set in New York City, hence the outcome of both the stories differ. There were less likely chances of Tom Robinson, an African-American, ever being acquitted in the white-supremacist state. In an interesting theory, neither would the accused Puerto Rican from 12 Angry Men stand a chance of being acquitted if his trial was ever conducted in the southern state of Alabama. Here both the events are triggered by the supposed crimes committed by the person of a racial minority, and both the trails are conducted by the justice system led by white men.

The surprising similarity in both is that they have white male protagonists. Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird and Davis in 12 Angry Men, a lawyer and an Architect respectively. Both are the highly regarded personals of the society. Both the protagonists are well educated and serve as the downright moral hero of the story. They both advocate the civil rights and justice for the weaker class of citizens,

Although, cinema has inclined upwards and many such sensible films have been made in the last 60 years, a colored male or female protagonists with a strong moral characters have been seen only lesser. Few films with such an adjustment can only be seen in the modern era works of Ida Wells: The Passion for Justice (1989), Paul Robeson: Here I stand (1999) and Richard Wright –Black Boy (1994).

In Context of Nepali Films

In Nepal, the racism existed since the creation of the first state. The prevalent Hindu hierarchy has attested the rudimentary practice of racial profiling and differentiation since the inception of caste based system. There are hardly any films in Nepal made on the discrimination faced by people on the basis of their race, caste or color, mainly because we mostly lack audience and filmmakers who can tackle such an overwhelming project with an assertive approach.

Most of the mainstream films made in Nepal tend to exploit the cliché and stereotypical constitution of the racial minorities but discourage it entirely. It still tends to be a fun-stock for the general audience, hence, there are less likely chances of sensible racism-countering films ever being made.

A still from Bioscopewala

Bioscopewala (2018)

Bioscope stands for a hand driven film projector, whereas wala is a Hindi word for owner or person. When we mix them both, it gives way to a someone who own or runs a bioscope.

Based on the short story of Rabindranath Tagore’s “Kabuliwala”, Bioscopewala is a contemporary rendition of the same but with essential changes to the backdrop of Kabuliwalah’s life and social milieu of the story.

Directed by Deb Medhekar, who puts his strong foot into cinema from advertisements through this film, Bioscopewala carries the overall essence of thoughtful cinema. It isn’t only the story of a foreigner and a small child, but the entire human relationships and complex emotions. By briefly portraying the Afghanistan’s terror state, it takes the story of Kolkata’s (Calcutta) meager locality and goes to the distant places where people face similar problems in life.


Review

Bioscopewala Poster

Bioscopewala Poster

Unlike Rehmun, a dry fruits seller from Kabuliwala, Rehmat Khan in Bioscopewala travel places with his hand-made bioscope projector showcasing clips of Hindi films to eager children and pedestrians. The original story dates back to 1892 when most of Indian subcontinent was still a part of British colony and Kabuliwalah was an economic migrant in India.

Rehmat Khan belongs to Hazara community of Shia Muslims in modern day Afghanistan. After facing constant oppression from major Sunni tribes and Wahabi militants, Rehmat migrates to Kolkata with two Pashtun women. Here he finds his new life as a Bioscopewala. He rejoices in sharing his cinematic experience with small children. Here he befriends Minnie, a Bengali girl of same age as his daughter killed by the militants back in Afghanistan. He sees his own daughter in her.

The story comprises the timeline from 90s till present. Minnie and Kolkata sees much upheaval in 25 years, however, the time is stuck for Rehmat when he is jailed for 20+ years. When he’s finally released, he finds solace in Minnie’s compassion however he cannot make of anything due to his deteriorating health and Alzheimer.

The film covers varied topics, such as; human relationship, communal violence and exodus, however, the core theme revolves around the expulsion of complex emotions, the understanding and concern for a fellow human being and lack of intrinsic value in relations. Director Deb Medhakar began where Tagore left off. He offers insight into the life of a migrant and what causes a person to change over the time. The story isn’t only of Kolkata or Afghanistan but the entire human settlements around the world.

Rafey Mehmood’s brilliant cinematography and Sandesh Sandhilya’s relevant background score lights up the entire film. It runs for a full 91 minutes, however, you do not get bored even for a bit, unless you’re looking for dance numbers or actions.

Synopsis

The film begins with Robi Basu (Adil Hussain) a famous photographer and middle-aged man, traveling to Afghanistan. Due to uneventful circumstances, the plane crashes killing the entire crew and passengers. Minnie (Geetanjali Thapa), Robi’s daughter, comes to know about it and rushes to the airport to find his whereabouts. After he’s pronounced dead, Minnie walks back home to find his Kaku, a housemaid, in grief.

In a state of hullabaloo, Minnie finds it difficult to cope with all the legal procedures. To her misfortune, a stranger lands up in her house; a 70 year old Rehmat Khan (Danny Denzongpa), a freed convict and an Alzheimer patient. She finds out that Robi had secured his custody upon his release from the prison, however, after his untimely death, Minnie has to deal with it. After some time, she recalls that the man is the same person she used to adore in her childhood, Bioscopewala. She tries to find out more about him, however, due to lack of information she isn’t able to find anything important. With the help of Kaku, she locates people from the life of Rehmat Khan and tries solving the mystery of his past life.

Alike her, Rehmat has a daughter back home, whom he hasn’t met for ages. Minnie tries consolidating his remainder life by traveling to Afghanistan and finding her whereabouts, however, in the process she unravels the past of Rehmat Khan’s life. His daughter was brutally killed by the hands of militants and his small home-run cinema burned down to ashes. Upon this, she knows Rehmat migrated to India to find peace and his bleak future.

When she finally returns back home, she finds Rehmat in a state of delusion from Alzheimer and old age. She tries convincing him that she found his daughter. In reminiscence of his early life in India, he sees his daughter in present day Minnie again and rejoices.


Bioscopewala (2018), Adapted from “Kabuliwala”

Directed by Deb Medhakar, Written by Sunil Doshi and Deb Medhakar, Produced by Sunil Doshi, Starring: Danny Denzongpa, Geetanjali Thapa, Adil Hussain and Tisca Chopra

Charlize Theron in Monster

World Cinema lacks Female Films

I mostly grew up watching action and drama films that were rampantly available in VCR and Cassettes in my school days. We could rent it at just Rs. 10-15 apiece, so it wasn’t difficult to choose from variety of commercial cinema. The video showroom named ‘B.I.L.L.B.O.A.R.D’ was located just about 200 meters from my home. The way to the showroom passed through the busy street with small portable shops laying across the both sides. The crowd at the street then was as large as it is now, but there were fewer vehicles back then.

My yore was basically shaped by seeing the highly fictitious action films of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, and sometimes melodramatic and cheesy romantic Hindi films. Amidst this, there were less likely chances of encountering a movie with sensible content. It wasn’t until I watched Deepa Mehta’s ‘The Earth’ and Mira Nair’s ‘Kama Sutra’ (Adult rated filmed weren’t completely banned from the TV back then) that I realized I could see a film from female’s perspective. It was an artistic and thoughtful experience and it entirely shaped my future course of film-viewing. I delved into Art-house cinema and devoured works made by some of the greatest and sensible filmmakers, ranging from; Shyam Benegal, Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy, Mani Ratnam, Deepa Mehta and Aparna Sen.


Compared to the films made by men in the last 100 years, female films are only handful. It took a long road for some of the most quintessential female filmmakers to pave their way and challenge the prevailing male hierarchy in cinema. Although only handful, their work stands out against the many films made by their male counterparts,

Avant-garde and Feminism in Cinema

Although Alice Guy-Blanché, who made La Feé aux Choux in 1896, became the first women to ever make a film, it took another 25 years before any other woman could do the same. The new wave in Cinema was brought by the Avant-garde movement in Arts, Literature and Music. It gave birth to some of the most important female filmmakers that we know today. They came to be the one to built a stronghold for the equally capable female filmmakers to come.

Germanie dulac

Germaine Dulac

World War I left an undying impact on the arts and culture of Europe. The political and social strife gave birth to new form of movement, better known as Avant-garde. The upheaval in the European society birthed many great creators and artists, including some of the pioneer women-centered filmmakers.

Germaine Dulac, who started her career as a writer in the feminist magazine and impressionist movies, and Maya Dereen, one of the Experimental filmmakers and the advocate of Avant-garde cinema, became the major influence in film-making. Their work challenged the existing mainstream film culture and introduced social and political edge in judging cinema.

The only other person at that time experimenting with his film/genre was Charlie Chaplin, and he was quite successful doing it.

The Second Wave feminism in 1960s brought the grave issues faced by women into cinema. The films started making impact by delivering message to the audience and for advocating the change in justice, social and commercial states of the nation. The movement started in America and lasted for roughly two decades.

The cinema during second wave feminism touched the taboo subject of female sexuality; and Lesbianism found its way into mainstream films.

Barbara Hammer, the American feminist filmmaker, was one of the pioneers in lesbian films whose career spanned for over 40 years. She dealt with the controversial titles of lesbianism, menstruation and female orgasm.


Female Filmmakers in the Mainstream

The modern cinema that we see today birthed from the social upheaval brought by former filmmakers. People started to accept the introduction of sensitive contents in films. Today, there are many renowned female filmmakers and artists who have succeeded in bringing the finest and unique films into the mainstream.

Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow, Patty Jenkins, Ava Duvernay, Dee Rees, Deepa Mehta, Mira Nair, Mika Nishikawa, Agnes Varda and Jane Campion are few of the flag-bearers of modern cinema. Their works are popularly known for being experimental and for tackling social issues mostly faced by women, LGBTs and racial minorities. They made films with male lead presented through female’s perspective. These ideas were less or none exploited by the male filmmakers before.

Kathryn Bigelow, an American filmmaker and writer, is the first female director to receive the Academy Award for Best Director. She made couple of films before getting a big break through The Hurt Locker (2008). The film received universal acclaim and landed her first Academy Award win, beating James Cameroon’s highest grossing movie of all time ‘Avatar’. Her other works include, Zero Dark Thirty (2012) and Detroit (2017), which are highly acclaimed by the critics.

Patty Jenkins, an American film director and screenwriter, made her first feature-length debut with the highly acclaimed Monster (2003). The Academy award nominated film was based on the life of an infamous serial killer/prostitute who killed 6 men in the late 1980s and early 1990s. (Charlize Theron went to win Academy award along with many other accolades for her role in the movie.) Patty was presented with multiple awards and recognition for the same. Her recent and most overwhelming project came in 2017 as ‘Wonder Woman’, a Superhero movie. The film is the highly discussed subject regarding the appearance and representation of females in superhero genre and female power in general. The film was highly praised by critics and global audience. Patty is equally praised for tackling the prevalent sexism and pay-gap in Hollywood.

Ava Duvernay and Dee Rees are both African-American filmmakers and screenwriters. Ava did her double Major in BA English Literature and African-American studies. She humbly started her career filming documentaries and short movies. Selma (2014) based on the short life event of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr became her highest acclaimed film. The film went to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, making her the first African-American women to have her film in the nominee’s circle. Dee Rees found critical success with Pariah, Bessie and Mudbound.

Their works advocate rights for African-American community, marginalized group and women. They with few others have been credited for starting the Black film renaissance.

Jane Campion is a New Zealander filmmaker and screenwriter. She is one of the five females ever to be nominated for Academy Awards for Best Director. She also won Palm d’Or, the only female recipient so far. Known to be the most unconventional filmmaker, she started her career with short films. She made her debut in feature-length film with Sweetie (1989). Her best work so far is known to be The Piano (1993), a film based on the life of a mute pianist and her daughter.

She unveiled female sexuality in her films. The eccentric female roles were rarely seen before and were mostly pushed away from the award circles. Her 4 major Oscar category wins came as a surprise to many.

Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair, Indo-Canadian and Indo-American filmmakers respectively, are equally praised for their unique work and taste. Deepa made Elements Trilogy; Fire (1996), Earth (1998) and Water (2005), her most famous work showcasing the issues of homosexuality, racial conflict, partition and war, widowhood and prostitution in the Indian subcontinent.

Mira Nair is known for her quintessential Indo-American films. Few of her famous works include; Monsoon Wedding (2001), The Namesake (2006), Kama Sutra (1996), Salaam Bombay (1988) and Queen of Katwe (2016).

Their crafts are known for bringing rich flavor and issues of Indian subcontinent into world cinema. They have been highly regarded by critics and audience alike, however, they have equally been shunned by certain groups for showcasing taboo and controversial subjects endemic to India.

The use of sensible content, reference to dark history, subjects of women, LGBTs and oppressed citizens, and aesthetically appealing stories help them in making their films the unique work of art.

Nonchalant Appearance of Nepali Female Filmmakers

In Nepal, we have hardly handful of female filmmakers. The first feature film ever directed by a women was Prem Yuddha in 2005. Since then, only few projects have ever been handled by other female directors. It is mostly because the entry of female filmmakers is constrained due to the prevalent male hierarchy in the cinema, practical problems of finding a benefactor, creating a niche film or assembling sensible audience.

On the other hand, the theater in Nepal is well led by female playmakers. The budding interest of the audience in theatrical plays lately and highly ethical work space has given an advantage to female artists. They have managed to create assertive plays on social, political and racial issues. The female theater artists are on the rise for the same reason. However, the theater based audience is way lesser compared to the cinemagoers, hence, the plays made by and with women remains limited to only a small number of people.