Meet Cargo Director Arati Kadav: Through her films, Arati Kadav is brave enough to try a less experimented genre and that too in a low budget box.
Aarti Kadav, whose first Hindi feature film Cargo was a sleeper hit last year, has clinked her pen right to reach a far-sighted science fiction world.
With Cargo, starring Vikrant Massey and Shweta Tripathi, and with her recent short film 55km/sec, the woman Christopher Nolan of India boards us on a journey of a new Wachowski world. Through her films, Arati Kadav is brave enough to try a less experimented genre and that too in a low budget box.
As Arati Kadav is trying to pull out new sci-fi dimensions in the industry, SheThePeople.TV interacted with her to know about her interesting journey. Here are some bits from the enchanting and extensive conversation-
Q1. While Sci-Fi is not a regular visitor of Indian cinema, from where did you extract this gut feeling of squeezing this genre out and that too on a low budget?
I have always been very passionate about fantasy and sci-fi since childhood. I was so madly passionate about it that when I started writing my films and would pitch them to people, I would wonder 'Why aren't they making sci-fi?' It's such a cool thing to do.
People are very scared to get into sci-fi precisely for the reason the benchmark for science fiction is like massive big-budget films in general. And low budget for me came as a compromise-Like okay if you don't get all the budget you need to make a great film, let's see whatever we have got and make a film with that.
Q2. Science+ Fiction, a deadly combination which is often stereotyped as a no-woman area or less woman area, how was your experience of travelling a less tapped path?
If you see traditional science fiction films, you know they are very male-dominated in terms of the voice, the narratives, the directors. It's a very good versus evil sort of narrative, there is a very clear hero's journey. All the women are either Mother Mary, very pure or they are like these hot-looking women, so a very stereotypical representation of women as well. Moreover, these translated into sci-fi fans who were mostly boys. So even when I was writing sci-fi, I too felt that the mere fact that it was coming from a woman's perspective it was very different than what was already existing.
People are very scared to get into sci-fi precisely for the reason the benchmark for science fiction is like massive big-budget films in general.
Q3. Did your gender in any way become an obstruction for your art of storytelling?
I think we are fortunate enough that right now nobody says it directly to your face that you are a woman, but you can feel that prejudice floating in the air a lot of times. When it comes to film direction you are working with a lot of people so by the law of averages there would be some of them who would not show it but would be sexist and you can feel that in the air, you can feel that in the interaction. The only way to navigate it, which I have figured out over with time, is that hire the right team, build your army. Work with people who would not see you as male or female but just for your ideas.
Q4. Less than 5 % of women are directors in India, are there any particular reasons or patterns that you might have observed as to why women shy away or keep away from directing and taking the baton of the film’s progress into their hands?
Making a film is like having your startup, your first film especially because you have to raise that very amount of funds and you have to come with a great idea and stuff, so you need the great support of the family around. Usually, that support a male in the family will very easily get.
While you are making a film, you are not only fighting the forces outside, you have a lot of people in your house who will not be understanding your journey. It is always tougher for a woman to get constant support from the family in general and outsiders don't give a chance immediately. It's not like that anyone will stop you from making a film just because you are a woman but it is possible they can delay your work.
Q5. Female driven stories told by female filmmakers have been gathering steam in the past few years, so do you think female directors tell women stories better?
Yes, female directors will bring a lot more nuance to the characters and a lot more deep understanding of the politics of a girl's position. Like Lipstick Under My Burkha' is so sensitively dealt with, each character is also so nicely dealt with. So of course, you can research and get there but still like the feeling or emotion of it...the way a woman gets it is like so beautiful and we need to have those kind of stories. Also, it is again about making women mainstream.
It's not like that anyone will stop you from making a film just because you are a woman but it is possible they can delay your work.
Q6. Any advice to the young women aspirers who are channelling their energy to enter the industry to showcase their craft of storytelling?
Keep perfecting your craft, keep working, read a lot. The magic word is grit - your patience, your hard work and perseverance are important. Your perseverance is more important than your talent. And have that ability to patiently work with people, you have to make things work for you. Turn every obstacle into an opportunity for growth, you have to have that strong focus to do it.