Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday News and my own Open Letter to Anurag Kashyap

I was going to write a separate post about this last night but, to keep my blood pressure reasonable, decided to just do it as part of news. I posted the link the other day to an open letter to Anurag Kashyap from a female filmmaker named Shilpa Munikempanna, who was unhappy with how she was treated by the team of Anurag Kashyap's 12/12/12 Project. The project was to take 12 short segments from 12 different filmmakers and combine them into one complete film. Apparently, Shilpa's film did not meet the standards of the project and was dropped.

I'm not going to comment on whether or not they were right to do so because a) they probably were and b) it's beside the point. What has really made me furious is the way Anurag Kashyap - and his supporters - have flat out dismissed Shilpa's concerns about sexism (and other 'isms).

Here is a thought - when orchestras introduced blind orchestra auditions more women were hired. Why? Not because the panels doing the hiring hated women but because in the music world, as in the cinema world, there is a deep rooted bias against taking women seriously. When Anurag Kashyap says this: "I think you are more conscious being a woman than others are of you being one." I want to throw something at him. How can he know what it's like to be the one woman in a group of men? How can he know what it's like to try and find technicians and cameramen and others to you seriously as the person in charge of a film set instead of just wanting to work with you in the hopes of getting in your pants?

When Anurag Kashyap says gender wasn't an issue, what is he basing that on? Did he institute a "blind reading" of applications before selecting which ones he was going to use? Did go out of his way to ensure a healthy number of women applicants? Were there women on the panel selecting scripts? Anurag sounds more like Stephen Colbert when he claims to be colorblind and his attacks of her in the press and online have come across as nothing more than one of those big bullying guys who cry Reverse Discrimination every time their privilege is exposed.

Here's the deal: I know from experience that being a woman (especially a young woman) in a male dominated industry is tough. You have to work 10 times as hard as the average man and must balance a fine line of being neither too "feminine" (nobody takes a director in a skirt and heels seriously) or too "butch" (you'll get labeled a bitch or dyke for behavior that would be praised in a man.) You have to deal with guys that think working with you means you are interested in dating them. Especially in an industry like filmmaking, you have to deal with guys who are bitter about women in general and think "women in film" means Katrina Kaif in a bikini in front of the camera.

Does Anurag Kashyap hate women? No, but he is a part of a sexist industry and seems to think that he alone among the thousands of men working in it is untouched. I call bullshit.

My open letter to AK: Stop acting like a big bully towards Shilpa. You have all the power here; Shilpa has none. If I was a filmmaker, I would not want to work with you after the sexist garbage being spewed from you and your supporters.

I'll give the final word to this comment from Amol Bhatt from a Times of India article on the spat:

sexiest to pata nahi but moviemaker me to best he...

And now news.


* A petition from Juhi Chawla and others to the government about saving "independent" small budget cinema.

Among the various challenges that we face as Indie film makers, the biggest is that of exhibition. The multiplexes which were given tax benefits to promote small budget content film have in fact been instrumental in destroying small cinema by only playing the box  office game.

* Arshad Warsi on the film industry and his upcoming projects.

"[T]he bad thing about it is that somewhere we have lost the spirit to make a film. Today it has become a business which is bad. So there has been good and bad in these 100 years."

* Enjoy a slideshow of India's most Googled.

* An example of how much easier it is as a woman in the industry to have a male backer, Abhay Deol is making sure his dippy model-girlfriend gets hired.

* Anushka Sharma tells her peers to stop hating on her.

"Stop throwing garbage at me since I don’t throw garbage at you. We call ourselves cool but we are actually not."

* Dear Luke Kenny, nobody wants to see you have a sex scene.

* Mahie Gill gets an item in Bullet Raja.

* Dabangg 3 will be a prequel.

* Copyright trouble for Sajid-Wajid and the Dabangg 2 soundtrack.

* Is Salman interested in remaking Telugu hit Stalin?

* Ranbir Kapoor is asking for 70% profit before signing a film.

* No sync-songs for Bebo in Prakash Jha's Satyagrah.

* Vishal Bhardwaj on the topless scene in Omkara....

The trailer for the Tamil version of David... note the lack of Neil Nitin Mukesh and the sheer amount of awesome on display between Jiiva and Vikram. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those Raavan/Raavanan situations where the Tamil version kicks the Hindi versions ass.

6 comments:

Divya said...

I found Vishal Bharadwaj's comments on our buff gymrat stars insecure reactions to shirtless scenes hilarious. Though he mentions that he wishes he could make more female-oriented films. Well, why doesn't he? He has enough clout in the industry by now.

Sami Saayer said...

Anurag kashyap gave sneha khanwalkar her biggest project which was also his dream project... Not too sure if a sexist would dake that risk.

Filmi Girl said...

@Sami I think you misunderstood my point. I don't think that Anurag Kashyap is a blazing woman-hating sexist but I do think he is denying that there is a institutionalized sexism in the film industry that makes things VERY difficult for even the most determined and talented women. I think he's flat-out-wrong when he claims it doesn't affect him.

eliza bennet said...

Vishal made a female centric film, and it tanked. I'd love to see Vishal work with Rani Mukherjee.

Filmi Girl said...

@Eliza And that's always the excuse they use, too, right? We know it didn't tank because it was female-centric but for reasons like an unappealing storyline and (IMHO) the heroine he chose.

I'd love to see him work with Rani, too! We just need to make sure there is a good script. Adaptation of Persuasion?

Divya said...

I would love for Vishal to work with Rani but I am not sure about Persuasion. It requires a more younger and naive actress. Vishal Bharadwaj seems to be one of the very few film makers in India who does literary adaptations, I am sure something suitable can be found which can have both Rani and Tabu in it. :).
FG, Speaking of Austen, my all time favorite Austen adaptation is Kandukondain Kandukondain by Rajeev Menon. Sometimes when I am bored I like to mentally cast a SI Pride and prejudice. I know you enjoy SI films. Any ideas?

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl