Veteran actor Shabana Azmi says she is an optimist by nature and believes artwork can nurture a “climate of sensitivity” which in flip can spur societal change.
This is why, the actor mentioned, she determined to star in “Kaali Khuhi” (Black Well), a horror thriller directed by Terrie Samundra which explores the enduring influence of feminine foeticide, a malpractice nonetheless prevalent in India.
Azmi, identified for her powerhouse performances in movies like “Ankur”, “Mandi”, “Khandhar”, “Fire”, “Godmother”, exploring the style for the second time after Vishal Bhardwaj‘s 2002 horror comedy “Makdee”.
Set in a Punjab village, the Netflix Original movie traces the journey of a lady named Shivangi (Riva Arora), who’s put to the final check when she witnesses her total household fall deeper into the secrets and techniques of the black nicely.
Azmi, 70, mentioned it’s “outrageous” that feminine foeticide continues to exist in the 21st century India when addressing this needs to be the first step in direction of girls empowerment.
“Female foeticide and infanticide exist all around – not in the back or beyond only but in our metropolitan cities too. And yet we aren’t as focused on it as we should be. The right to be born is taken away from a girl just because she is a girl.
“That has to be the start line of any work that you simply do about a lady who would not even have a proper to be born. How merciless, unjust and unacceptable that’s? We are a patriarchal society. We entitle the boy from start only for being male and the lady is made to undergo a lot of discrimination,” Azmi, also an activist, told PTI in an interview over Zoom.
The National Award winner said she decided to board the project as first-time feature film director Samundra had her heart in the right place.
Los Angeles-based Samundra, who has written and directed short films and documentaries including “Kunjo” and “Ice Cream Wallah”, has told the story in a cinematically “compelling” manner, the actor said.
“Terrie might have fairly simply made it into a documentary that might have its personal attain. But the incontrovertible fact that she does it by means of this thriller is what makes it extra accessible to audiences. My dad and mom at all times advised me that artwork needs to be used as an instrument to societal change.
“I am not saying it has an immediate reaction. You don’t watch the film ‘Gandhi’ and the next day start behaving like Gandhi. But all arts have the possibility to create a climate of sensitivity in which it is possible for change to occur,” Azmi mentioned.
The actor, who performs Satya Maasi, a mysterious girl haunted by her previous in the movie, emphasised that “Kaali Khuhi” is “not a propaganda” venture.
“By the end of the film, you feel this cannot be allowed to happen. That is a powerful reaction that you can get from a film. Terrie has made the film taking cinema into consideration. It doesn’t become a propaganda film.”
The subject of girls empowerment has turn out to be way more vital than a mere trending phrase on social media, Azmi mentioned, including that treating men and women equally is the solely logical manner forward for the world.
“I’m an optimist and when I see darkness all around me instead of getting completely overwhelmed by it, I tell myself that dawn is just about to come. I react to things with optimism and hope because I see that things are cyclical.
“I really feel in present-day society, empowerment of girls is just not merely a buzzword, it has come to as a result of from all factors of view it solely is smart. From financial, social, to materialistic level of view, it is smart that men and women are handled as equal. We are solely saying give them equal alternative.”
The actor also cautioned that the problem lies in deifying women as “mom goddess” as it allows the society to deny them equal opportunity conveniently.
“We name her ‘mom goddess’. But I do not need to be handled as a goddess, I need to be handled as equal. This is a handy manner off. You have to face the incontrovertible fact that right this moment society can’t afford to do something besides deal with these genders as equal as a result of that is the place all the sense lies,” she added.
Also starring Leela Samson, Sanjeeda Shaikh, and Satyadeep Mishra, “Kaali Khuhi” is produced by Anku Pande and Ramon Chibb.
The film is set to premiere on the streaming platform on October 30.