Ground-breaking director and writer sits down to discuss her work…
ACCLAIMED director Alankrita Shrivastava is to be in conversation with the UK Asian Film Festival on Sunday (November 15) afternoon.
Much celebrated for her work – ‘Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars’ (‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’) and ‘Lipstick Under my Burkha’ (2016), and the Amazon Prime international hit series, ‘Made in Heaven’ she will join British actor Nisha Aaliya (‘London Confidential’ & ‘Shakuntala Devi’) to discuss the high and lows of being a woman filmmaker in India.
Described as an immersive ‘Q&A’ by the UK Asian Film Festival (UKAFF), anyone can participate and should register for the webinar. (See link details below).
Shrivastava’s latest film, ‘Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars’ features two strong female leads in Bhumi Pednekar and Konkana Sensharma.
Set on the outskirts of Delhi, the film is described by UKAFF as chronicling “the quiet transgression of two female cousins who through their complicated love-hate relationship, enable each other to find freedom”.
Among the subjects it covers are female empowerment, defying the patriarchy, interfaith relationships, challenging gender conformity, identifying the excesses of modern consumption and ‘lifestyle choices’ where human beings and their relationships are often reduced to commodities and subject to phone app star-like ratings.
The film is currently available on Netflix as a Netflix Original.
Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry, founder and director of UKAFF, said: “We’re very excited to be announcing this.
“Alankrita is an award-winning feature film director and screenwriter from Mumbai who pushes the boundaries of visual art and cultural norms.
“The webinar will offer a unique lens into the construction of her complex female stories. These highlight political and social issues relating to gender.”
Aaliya told acv: “I’m very excited to be in conversation with Alankrita. It is an honour.
“She is an exceptional storyteller, whose work beautifully juxtaposes the exploration of gritty themes alongside widely relatable and heartfelt storylines through dynamic characters.”
‘Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars’ was all set to open this year’s 22nd UK Asian Film Festival (formerly known as Tongues on Fire), but as the UK went into it first Lockdown, the festival like many other events at that time had to be cancelled. It was originally scheduled for March 25-April 5.
‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ became a worldwide hit, as well as garnering widespread critical acclaim and many prizes. UKAFF screened the film in 2017 and Ratna Pathak Shah, one of the stars of film, participated in a post screening discussion hosted by UKAFF in London. (See link below to watch).
Shrivastava faced a long battle to get it screened in theatres in India after it was banned (for being too provocative) and she is at the vanguard of a new group of women directors emerging out of India.
She made her debut as a director with the film, ‘Turning 30’ in 2011. This is a comedy in which advertising executive ‘Naina Singh’ (Gul Panang) finds out someone has copied her work and is also dumped by her boyfriend all in the space of a few days.
She also co-wrote and directed several episodes of the popular Amazon Prime Original series, ‘Made in Heaven’ (2019).
One of its stars, Arjun Mathur, has been nominated for an International Emmy in the Best Actor category. The winners will be announced later this month.
He essays the role of ‘Karan Mehra’ who along with Tara Khanna (Sobhita Dhulipala) runs a wedding agency in Delhi and the series follows the trials and tribulations of running such a business in Delhi and the challenges of a society where the ancient and modern often co-exist very uneasily with each other.
The series is widely considered to have broken new ground in India with Mathur playing a leading man, who just happens to be gay (and is unceremoniously outed in the drama).
Alankrita Shrivastava in Conversation with UK Asian Film Festival’s Nisha Aalyia, 2pm (GMT) Sunday November 15.
Ratna Pathak Shah on ‘Lipstick Under my Burka’ following UKAFF screening (watch from 2.00)
UKAFF continues to runs it mental health initiative for creatives – don’t suffer in silence, you can call Talking Therapy – 07930 491915
pssst…Look out for some news on Priyanka Chopra Jones’ ‘The White Tiger’ soon!