Ramesh Kondanna is the director of the Kannada short film Sthree. In his film he showcases that respect other women and do not think that they are mere objects. The director tells is about his thoughts on women empowerment.
What prompted you to make a film on women?
When I decided to make a film, women empowerment was not on my mind. I was looking at several at several prevailing social issues. But there was one issue that I can connect emotionally and that is violence against woman. This bothers me a lot. Crime and violence against women and child. If this bothers me so much then I thought I will respond to this better. That is why I went with this topic.
What is women empowerment according to you?
To empower women, we should not restrict them in any way. Be it mother, daughter, sister they should have their own mind and say about things concerning them. Men should not be the ones telling them what to do. This is the basic foundation of empowerment. Education and equality will follow. In this time and age we should not be treating women like they did decades ago. This is not a sign of progress.
Could you relate to any instances where women were either celebrated or oppressed?
I do not want to take big names. I see selfless nature in woman. And somehow this unique quality is mostly limited to women. Just see the old women selling small things to make a decent living. Recently I read about a woman who works with the food delivering company Zomato to give good education to her child. She drives hundreds of kilometres daily. There was another woman who drove around 400 Kms to get her son from his hostel during lockdown. Such women need to be celebrated. These are small things that we should notice and should hail such women to inspire others.
Oppression need not be physical violence. Not letting woman to live her life is oppression to me. This can happen in high class or low class. These kinds of things will bring down their spirits down. This creates a disturbance in their minds.
Personal icons of women who made a difference to the society or to you?
My mother is my icon. I lost my father at the age of 10. We are three children and my mother beat all odds and gave us a decent life with good education. We never thought that we would reach at this juncture in life had it not been for her. I am grateful to my mother for that.
How should society go about enabling women to be empowered?
Crime against women should stop. The day crime becomes zero and women roam freely that would be the day women would be really empowered. Issues like dowry and education for girl child will all find its place and answers as years roll by. The devastating fear of what would happen if a woman roam freely should be wiped. If this goes them everything will follow and we will see women empowerment for real.