SheWrite Screening

Stills from SheWrite (K.P. Jayasankar)

As part of a series of events planned to help spark discussion about women and gender roles in the South Asian community, Narika’s student group at UC Berkeley screens SheWrite, an award-winning documentary about four female Tamil poets exploring themes of desire and sexuality, on Tuesday, March 20. The film’s directors will be guest speakers. Anjali Monteiro, currently a Fulbright visiting lecturer at Berkeley, and her husband K.P. Jayasankar, Chair of the Centre for Media and Culture Studies at TISS, have made 25 documentaries over the last 15 years. SheWrite recently premiered in the U.S. at the 2007 New York Arab and South Asian Film Festival.

Criticism of the poets in the press for writing “obscenely” caught the attention of the film’s directors. One male writer urged people: “If you see them on the road, slap them.” (The Hindu). A magazine editor asked, “”How can women demand gender freedom after writing such things?” (The Week).

SheWrite weaves together the narratives and work of the four young writers. Salma, a mother in the small town of Thuvarankurichi who runs the local panchayat, Kuttirevathi, a Chennai doctor who authored an anthology entitled Breasts, Malathi Maitri, a Dalit and Marxist activist from Pondicherry, and Sukirtharani, a Lalapet schoolteacher, formed a collective called Anangu to stand up for their right to speak out boldly.

“Documenting concerns”—profile of the directors
Poems in the Film—translated by Pritham Chakravarthy

March 19, 2007
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