Allow Women Space To Express Themselves: Odisha Filmmaker

Bhubaneswar: A woman does not need a day to be celebrated to remind her that she is powerful, but the society should allow her the space to express herself, eminent national award-winning filmmaker Lipika Singh Darai said on Thursday.

“The society worships the woman, but a girl child is unwanted. The woman is called a goddess and at the same time a witch,” she said while addressing a programme organised to celebrate the International Women’s Day at the SOA Deemed to be University here.

“I must be free, not tied up. I want to see the creation. But I am in a society which is blind and superstitious,” Darai, who won four national awards for her films documenting folk artists and puppeteers and delving into societal issues, said.

Referring to this year’s IWD campaign theme of ‘BalanceforBetter’—a call to action for driving gender balance across the world, she said women had been suppressed for centuries but she was happy that society was talking about gender balance today. “But we must also talk about the nuances,” she added.

She also called for accepting the transgenders and LGBT community because women had given them birth. “Let us not celebrate a day, let’s celebrate womanhood,” Darai said.

Her award-winning documentary ‘Some Stories Around Witches’ conveyed the humanitarian crisis around several cases of witch hunts in Odisha while her short fiction ‘The Waterfall’ focused on the story of peoples’ struggle to protect a dying waterfall pointing out the rapid destruction of one of the state’s most bio-diverse forests.

The programme was presided over by Prof Pradipta Kumar Nanda, acting Vice-Chancellor of SOA, while several senior women professors and faculty members including Prof Mira Das, Prof Neeta Mohanty, Dr Anjali Chhotray, Dr Madhubrata Mohanty and Prof Renu Sharma, convener of the programme also addressed the gathering.