We need more female writers and filmmakers: Mahesh Narayanan

Entertainment industry has a long way to go in sending out the right message against gender-based violence, said director Mahesh Narayanan.

The filmmaker was speaking at a virtual panel discussion titled “Reel and Real: The Influence of Media and Entertainment on Gender-Based Violence” on Wednesday hosted by the US Consulate General in Chennai, in association with the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF).

Mahesh is known for his films like Take off and C U Soon. His latest movie Malik is yet to hit the screens as it was postponed due to the lockdown and pandemic.

The need of the hour

“The associations in the industry back male dominance and male-dominated scripts. I do get a lot of scripts which claim to be female-centered. However, all of them end up as scripts featuring women who end up as the stereotyped characters,” stated Narayanan. “If we want to change this, we need more female writers and female filmmakers. The production houses and studios need to have that acceptance and bring in change," he pointed.

Further he explained, "As of now, there is no significant progress happening in the thought process to counter gender-based violence through films. If we want that to change significantly, it should come from the mainstream players first. Post-pandemic, thanks to OTT platforms and better acceptance to female writers, there can be a change in the positive direction."

Talking about his movies, Narayanan said, "I want my films to reflect what I believe in. If my movies are able to make at least some kind of movement (change of thought for the good) that one can take back to their homes, I'm happy as a filmmaker."

Decision to stop screening 'S Durga' frightening: Mahesh Narayanan at IFFI
Mahesh Narayanan said it was an additional honor for a film like Take Off to be selected at the Indian Panorama section. Photo: G. Ragesh

The discussion

The virtual discussion was organized to mark the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which is an annual international campaign of the United Nations that kicks off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day, each year. This campaign is a global call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

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