"Our industry is still very testosterone driven. The power players are all men. I think we need to have many more women in the trenches and not just pretty faces waiting for someone to give them a break," says singer, songwriter and lyricist Sona Mohapatra.
Never known for holding back Mohapatra in her documentary Shut Up Sona is shown battling on all fronts, including the sexist music industry in India, the media circus, her online haters, and a blasphemy lawsuit that shows up at her door. She asserts that more women should support one another and form a sisterhood. She believes that the entertainment sector still has a ways to go.
Her 95-minute documentary Shut Up Sona is a lighthearted look at a combative female music star's relentless fight for equal space in contemporary India, a nation that is profoundly uncomfortable with women's freedom of expression.
We need more female authors, producers, and creators who seize opportunities for themselves. Sona"> told SheThePeople, "That's why I decided to make the film instead of sitting around." Adding, "Why is it that only 8 out of 100 songs have a female voice?" From the standpoint of a musician, every solo song produced is a reprise. They are not advertised or featured in movies. Without any opportunity for women, how will we produce the next Shreya Ghoshal? Mohapatra claims that even in an item song, there is just a male voice. All of the stories revolve around adoring men and exaggerating their virtues.
"No one is going to stop me from singing and talking endlessly. It is for myself and I will find my audience. It is for more women to actually create their narratives while we keep pushing for the system to change, to make it more inclusive," says the singer. Sona believes that social media and everyone's access to smartphones have greatly increased the reach of musicians in our nation. It is not up to the intermediary gatekeepers to choose who should be present. She wants to see their influence wane and for more women to take charge of their own narrative.
"The few women who have succeeded and who have shifted gears - why aren't they backing each other more? The onus of building stronger sisterhood is as much on us," Sona adds. Fewer chances exist for women, and they continue to face obstacles. Sona claims that the more likes we receive on social media are not the way we want to gain all of our name and fame and are not worth our salt beyond a certain point. "I have known many intelligent actresses who clearly state that they have to act very stupidly because that is what pleases the men around them" If women have opinions and are intelligent, she is a poison chalice.