when the census of India came out in the year 2011, it was not surprising that the sex ratios were skewed again. Till then, says filmmaker Madhureeta Anand, one could lull themselves into a false sense of security. “But the census revealed that at a time when there is so much development taking place in the country, the sex ratios have fallen again,” she adds, “It’s not happening only in villages, which means that prosperity and education have nothing to do with this. It’s a deep-rooted thought process.
” Propelled by this thought, and also by the fact that Anand is the mother of a daughter, the filmmaker decided she needs to deal with it in a way that she best can -- by making a film that asks some tough questions and demands some difficult answers. The result? Kajarya, a film that deals with the issue of the girl child. “Why do we not want the woman in the society?” asks Anand, “Millions of women have gone missing, and that’s what the film deals with.”
But contrary to the belief that a film that deals with such real situations will be didactic and boring, Kajarya is actually a thriller, where the two lead protagonists, both women from two different milieus, collide in a world where girls are better off dead. Also, Anand, whose first film was Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye, has taken the combination of trained actors and real people from the villages to create the dynamics of the film. “The villagers in the film are actually women from Jhajjar district in Haryana, where sex ratios are very low.
These woman interacted with my actors, and that’s a new dynamic in the film which is absolutely fantastic,” she declares. One of the highlights of the film is the background score by Golden Globe Award winner Richard Horowitz. How did Anand manage to get him on board? “Well, he read the script, loved it, and immediately wrote to us saying he wants to be a part of the film.
I wrote to him saying we were not sure as we could not afford him but he just said he’s doing the film. Since then, he’s written to several people, including Eve Ensler (writer of Vagina Monologues) that Kajarya is the most important film on women to come out of India,” says Anand.
The promo of the film was also recently shown at Cannes this year and evoked a great response from the audience. “Everybody who saw the promo realised that it isn’t what they were expecting -- a sad and slow film on women. Here, there were visuals of strong women and the promise of a fast-paced thriller. Also, the issue at hand concerns everybody,” feels Anand.
She’s now hoping to have a theatrical release of the film in India sometime during March next year. “I hope to have it out by Women’s Day next year,” she says, adding that the release of the film is not as important as the matter. “I’ve waited for years to raise this debate. After my first film, I had the choice of doing commercial movies but I wanted to do this. I really believe in this cause and I’m going to really take it forward,” she adds.