Megha Ramaswamy and her film Newborns
What inspired you to make the film?
In early 2013, I came across a newspaper story about Priti Rathi, a young woman working as a nurse in Mumbai, who was attacked with acid in broad daylight. Passersby looked on, leaving her old father to bring medical help. Priti died less than a month later. I was determined not to “move on” this time.
I started researching the history of acid violence in India — the multitudes of cases, the myriad forms this crime took, and the many, many women affected by it, most of them dead. I was filled with rage, grief, and even a desolate helplessness. I got in touch with Stop Acid Attacks — a Delhi-based NGO (and the only functioning campaign in India) that spearheads the cause. I had to find out how I could get more informed and involved. I started off as a volunteer with SAA, which led to the weaving of Newborns.
How important are international filmfestivals for Indian filmmakers like you?
Film festivals world over are important to filmmakers world over. They allow us to engage in dialog & provide us platforms to tell stories.
Which films and filmmakers have inspired you?
Sai Parānjpye’s Sikander , Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! & Ashim Ahluwalia’s John & Jane have had a lasting impression on me. I don’t have the patience to watch too many films any more. I prefer reading.
What are your comments on the recent trend in which women are playing leading roles in Indian cinema?
That this inequality needs to be addressed. It shouldn’t be abnormal for a country where the film industry plays such a huge role in Public culture to still be excited about the fact that women are in powerful leading positions be it performance, writing, science, art, history, politics or any given job profile for that matter of fact. We need to revisit history and give equal acknowledgement & credit to women for their immense contributions in diverse fields.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about films from India?
That we are a money making initiative with a defined & limited point of view , namely Bollywood.
What are your future plans?
Writing curious stories with & for curious children. Developing screenplays & making as much film as I can.