Relooking at laws to trace the rights of women

Updated: May 26, 2019, 08:11 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi

The Uniform Civil Code inspired a Parsi filmmaker and a Parsi writer to look at the rights of women

Relooking at laws to trace the rights of women
Director Oorvazi Irani also stars in the film

A woman's identity is the subject of a poignant short film, Anahita's Law, set to premiere at the NGMA, which will travel into different dimensions of space and time, and traverse various characters that converge into the essence of a woman. The film is being screened at a museum because the subject has been approached like a work of art. Oorvazi Irani, director and actor, says, "The film is also about the female gaze and how the woman is represented in cinema and art. It makes certain choices that put the woman as a protagonist in direct communication with the audience, engaging at an intellectual and emotional level."

What inspired Irani to make the film was the unequal status accorded to women. "I felt it's high time we relook at the identity of a woman and free her from the burden of regressive assumptions and age-old customs. The debate in India on the adoption of the Uniform Civil Code in law was one such contemporary tool, which addressed the gender bias that personal religious laws have enjoyed for many centuries now. This debate was, for me, the germ of the idea to start the journey into a deeper, more universal probe about gender and a fight for equal status for women."

Farrukh Dhondy
Farrukh Dhondy

For writer Farrukh Dhondy, finding the voice of Anahita, to represent the victimised and defiant voice of women was central to the purpose of Oorvazi, and producer Sorab Irani. "The stories of the women featured in the piece are based on the real dilemmas of Parsi women I have known," says Dhondy. "For me, being a Parsi is not about being bound to a theology or to rituals of worship; it means being a grateful part of a community. It's from the lived and expressed experiences of such a community in all the cities — Pune, Mumbai, Kanpur, Jamshedpur — in which I have lived or spent time, that the stories and language come for the film."

When: May 31, 3 PM
Where: NGMA, Fort

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