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“Bollywood’s gender bias is on the wane”

Sonam Nair knew she would direct a movie some day but she never imagined she would simply land up in Mumbai and start assisting on big banner films and it wasn’t long before she landed her first feature film to direct, Gippi.

Background

I belong to Kolkata, where I completed my studies. After that, I went to the US and took up a course in filmmaking. I have always been drawn to films and knew I would do well in this profession. Apart from directing, I also enjoy script writing.

Back to Basics

Once I finished my studies in the US, I moved back to India and learnt that Ayan Mukerji was making his first film, Wake Up Sid. Since he knew me, he asked me if I wanted to assist him on the film. I said yes immediately. It was a great experience as it was his first film and he was full of energy and working very hard. That was my first project. After that, I assisted Vishal Bhardwaj on 7 Khoon Maaf.

Gippi Inspiration

I was a fat kid and always bullied. So Gippi was very close to me. It became the story of a girl going through puberty. This subject had never been explored in India before. Ayan liked it and asked me to take it to Karan Johar. Since it was a different genre, we had no idea if he would like it too. We met, he read the script and liked it. Since it was a small-budget film, he was willing to risk it.

Kiddie Films In India

It is a bit of a risk to make children’s films in India. The biggest risk for Gippi is it did not have stars featuring in them. It had all the other commercial elements – comedy, fun, drama, songs and music. The essence of the film is not risky and it was a story we all felt should be told. Many people told me that since it is about teenage girls only, my film would not have an audience. But it was a good story so we decided to take the risk.

Women Directors

I think it is a myth that only male directors and male actors draw a bigger audience to cinema halls. Once upon a time, this industry was male dominated but things are changing and we now have women directors like Zoya Akhtar and Gauri Shinde, who have made some fabulous films. We also have women-oriented films doing good business at the box office. If you have an idea and you know how to direct it, it doesn’t matter whether you are a woman or a man any more. All you need to know is how to direct a film. Bollywood’s gender bias is on the wane.

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