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Male perspective dominates woman's character in movie: Prakash Jha

| | Dona Paula (Goa) | in Sunday Pioneer

Noted filmmaker Prakash Jha says that portrayal of women in movies is influenced by an omniscient ‘male gaze’ that starts at the level of the director and ends with the audience in dark theaters.

Taking part in a panel discussion on ‘Portrayal of gender in cinema’ at the International centre of Goa, Jha said since there are very few women film producers or scriptwriters, inevitably the male perspective dominates the way a woman's character is nuanced in a movie.

“It starts with the filmmaker. His approach towards women can’t escape the way certain aspects of the portrayal of the women. He is also aware of the way the man on the street or sitting in a dark corner of the theatre will respond to that particular characterisation of a woman,” Jha said.

Jha regretted that only a handful of women are actively engaged in the production side of Bollywood. “ As long as such anamolies continue, the ' male gaze “ will dominate the portrayal of women in films.

The panel discussion was part of a series of talks on the gender equality, the theme of this year’s “Difficult Dialogue” series.

Suriname Nurula, the founder of the Difficult Dialogue series chaired the panel discussion along with acamedician Shohini Ghosh and Amrita Bhalla.

Jha disclosed that he was working on a movie that will reveal the character of Mahabharata’s Draupadi in all its entirety.

“We are working on it. Draupadi will be shown as a true character that will vibrate with love, care, compassion, cruelty, hared. All human traits that made her a unique woman,” Jha said.

“This will be a new Draupadi, seen from a new prospective,” he said.

The filmmaker didn’t attach much significance to the role of the State in not taming the protest over Padmaavat. He said a filmmaker must be ready to directly negotiate with society if there is a controversy about a film.

“Political responses depends on a lot of factors.  In most cases, the protest comes only from a fringe group. With or without the help from State we should be able to deal with such a handful of people,” he said.

Talking about Padmaavat, he said the response of the common man, especially women, should be an eye opener for the fringe. He pointed out that the film has grossed more than `200 cr and more number of women have it than males.

I own a multiplex, so I’m aware about the gender of the viewers, he said.




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