Well-known filmmaker and entrepreneur Anjali Menon opened up about how the entertainment industry down South works for women and how women professionals have found empowerment in various collectives making them feel safer at work. She spoke to SheThePeople.TV in an exclusive interview and told that “For years we have all been working in a way where we would have our own difficult circumstances but we wouldn’t share them. We believed that it only happened to us but the fact that it was a collective experience is what we understood much later. An unfortunate incident in 2017 made us realize that all of us have faced issues in our careers and it just made more sense for all of us women working in the Malayalam film industry to come together and form a collective.”
She was speaking about the Women in Cinema Collective that was formed in March 2017. The collective acts to provide a safe working space for women working in the Malayalam film industry.
She was speaking about the Women in Cinema Collective that was formed in March 2017. The collective acts to provide a safe working space for women working in the Malayalam film industry. “It was imperative for us to speak together because then we would be heard and that will make people more aware,” she said.
Menon, a celebrated scriptwriter for acclaimed Malayalam movies such as UstadHotel (2012), Bangalore Days (2014) and Koode (2018), elaborated on how the collective works by understanding the culture already perpetrated in the regional industry and evolve out of it. “Until we accept that it is part of our culture, we will never be able to make any roads towards improvement and that’s what the collective is doing. We are trying to shine a light on the dark corners and say that this is a problem. If somebody is harassing the other person then let’s first define it as a problem and then take it from there to rectify it,” Menon throws light on the approach of the collective.
“There is definitely a small build-up of women coming up in regional cinema but the whole culture of the regional cinema needs to evolve to make it a women-friendly space.”
She also took us through the rise of women in the Malayalam film industry and said, “There is definitely a small build-up of women coming up in regional cinema but the whole culture of the regional cinema needs to evolve to make it a women-friendly space. It will happen and it is bound to happen. A big part of this change has been the Women in Cinema Collective and since we started it, we are witnessing more such collectives cropping up in every regional space and that is extremely empowering.”
“True, we don’t live in the friendliest of ecosystems, but then to stay afloat along an unfavourable current is in itself a great achievement,” she said in her valedictory address at the Women Startup Summit—an initiative by Kerala government’s Kerala Startup Mission held at Kochi on August 1. Menon continues to inspire and empower women in the Malayalam cinema industry with her works. Her consistent efforts to rise above the power structures and beyond patriarchal challenges have earned her the support of audiences across the country.