rajeev kumar: For me, audiences are not just in multiplexes: National award-winning director Rajeev Kumar | Punjabi Cinema News
Q: How would you describe a truly feminist film? What makes a film feminist?
Let’s keep it simple. I will share with you a Geena Davis Institute research paper on gender in media published in 2014. Based on the results of it, 120 movies were released between 2010 and 2013 worldwide. In these films, the female characters were only 31% and only 23% of the protagonists were women. So the movie which has female protagonists with more than 50% of the important characters are women and the movie and the story is about them and not about their lovers, husbands and brothers, fathers or sons, this kind of movie can call itself a feminist film.
Q: Why did you choose such a theme, especially in a region where male dominance is high?
I think it’s my duty as a “conscious” filmmaker who believes in equality and believes in making films with good female representation. In all my previous films, the female characters are very strong, but for the first time I’m making a film where most of the characters are women.
Q: Do you think Punjabi audiences are ready for a female-centric film? Why didn’t many filmmakers try such a theme (about women) in Punjab earlier? What are the risks ?
For me, the audience is not only those who watch films in multiplexes, because they represent only 25 to 30% of the population of film viewers. I took my previous films straight to villages and other alternative spaces like protest sites, universities, dharamshalas and audiences still engaged in our films. Of course, we have to make financially viable films, that’s why we work with minimal budgets.
Q: As a man, do you think you can justify a woman’s point of view as a filmmaker telling her story on screen?
While a lived experience is very important, empathy is just as important. I have always taken input from women and my films are therefore a collective effort.