• Film by a veteran journalist explores the hazards faced by her kin

    Dhara Vora SabhnaniMumbaiSep 26, 2017, 14:17 IST

    Malini Subramaniam, an Indian journalist in a still from the film
    Malini Subramaniam, an Indian journalist in a still from the film 

    "Vlevet is soft to the touch but it is an extremely tough fabric — only a sharp object can tear it," says 60-year-old journalist Nupur Basu.

    Basu explains the significance of the metaphor behind the title of the film Velvet Revolution, a collaborative documentary about female journalists. Produced by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television, the film has six female directors, including Basu as the executive producer and project director, from different countries interview women who have been in the line of fire. These include Malini Subramaniam of India who has been reporting on Maoist activities in Chhattisgarh; Bonya Ahmed, wife of slain Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy; and Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim, who is living in exile in Turkey. The reason for having six directors was to reduce the carbon footprint and have someone from the same or a nearby country interview the subjects in their current location.

    Nupur Basu, executive producer and director, Velvet Revolution
    Nupur Basu, executive producer and director, Velvet Revolution

    The similarity in their stories was classic, says Basu. "Given a choice, they would not swap this for any other profession. They are all fighting patriarchy at different levels. We consciously didn't ask them if they were married or mothers, but it emerged in their stories. You have an award-winning journalist singing a soothing lullaby to her eight-month-old daughter, and the next moment, she's reporting from a Syrian war zone," explains Basu.

    A close friend of murdered journalist Gauri Lankesh, Basu feels that the situation has worsened today for women journalists and social media adds to the fire. "Earlier, the [kidnapped] male journalist would be shot and the woman spared. Today, they will kill her too. There is no red line. And the misogynistic pattern pours onto online trolling; people won't spare these women even in their grave. I saw posts that hailed the fact that Gauri was killed and went on to name other women journalists and activists who should be next in line."

    ON: September 29, 5 pm
    AT: Godrej India Culture Lab, Vikhroli East.
    RSVP: indiaculturelab @godrejinds.com

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