India’s Guneet Monga Behind Oscar-Winning ‘Period. End Of Sentence’
A film about menstruation just won the Oscar and we cannot keep calm! Producer Guneet Monga helmed the Oscar-winning film Period. End of Sentence. Director Rayka Zehtabchi’s short film, set in India, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Period. End of Sentence also features the real Pad Man Arunachalam Murgunantham. “We won! To every girl on earth, know that you are a goddess,” Monga tweeted after accepting the Oscar. It was India’s official entry for the Academy award.
Who is Guneet Monga and why should we celebrate her win?
- Executive-producer Guneet Monga grew up in Delhi, where she started out as an intern for a production coordinator in 2003. She completed mass communications from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University.
- As a child, she witnessed domestic violence within her home. Both her parents died when she was young.
- After college, she took keen interest in editing and eventually became a full-time production coordinator for international productions.
- In 2006, after moving to Mumbai with a project — the film Say Salaam India — in hand, she came to know her real passion for films. The cricket-themed movie was released before the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, but flopped. The undeterred producer screened it at various schools in Delhi to recover some of the money spent.
- She has produced notable films like Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1, Peddlers and The Lunchbox, Masaan & Zubaan. She was also involved with Rang Rasiya, Dasvidaniya and Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai.
- She runs a line production company as well as her own production outfit — Sikhya Entertainment, a boutique film production house which was founded in 2008. She is also a BAFTA nominee.
- According to Variety, Guneet is one of 50 women from the entertainment industry doing “extraordinary things on the worldwide stage.” In March 2018, the magazine published its first International Women’s Impact Report, and Guneet was one of only two women from India in it. The other was actor Deepika Padukone.
- Iranian-American filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi has directed Period. End of Sentence, which was shot in 2016.
- The film was featured at the festival circuit in 2017 where it had win multiple awards. It’s currently available on Netflix.
Period. End of Sentence documents the lives of women who face the stigma attached to menstruation and how they empower themselves. They live unhealthy and unhygienic lives where they have no access to sanitary pads, are forced to drop out of school and cannot take part in normal activities due to menstruation shaming. The women eventually end up empowering themselves after a sanitary pad vending machine is installed in the village. They steadily learn how to manufacture and market their own pads.
Monga travelled to Los Angeles, US, to meet the socially conscious students of Oakwood School and their teacher Melissa Berton, whose initiative The Pad Project, led to Period. End of Sentence. “She [Bertoon] is the dreamer who said that you girls can do this,” said Monga. “She is meeting parents and hustling to raise the money which is not easy to do. I get goose bumps just thinking about how they did this.
Feature Image Credit: Mumbai Mirror