By Augustine Veliath
On this International Women’s Day I have a sense of accomplishment.
I was part of an event Elevate 2015 in Mumbai which I believe contributed significantly to the idea of gender equity. We who assembled at the Club in Juhu in Mumbai came from the creative communities of Indian cinema and television on the one hand and many experts who deal with the priorities of our times such as health, development and gender.
We took three important words home from this third edition Elevate. jointly organized the Asian Center for Entertainment Education– the Third Eye http://acee-thethirdeye.org and The Club www.theclubmumbai.com/.
The Asian Center for Entertainment Education was founded to bring together the creative communities and those who work with the “priorities of our times”. Its flagship annual event therefore brings writers, directors and producers from the film and television world on the one hand and those who work for human development, environment and
Elevate held in the week immediately preceding the Inter National Women’s Day establishes that gender justice is the priority of our times.
This year it was an excellent gathering of well known film and television people as well as medical experts, psychologists, and people who work in the area of emotional intelligence and mentor ship.
I hope that next year and the years that will follow there will be a wider representation of the development community at this event, so that the priorities of our times will truly be conveyed to the other side.
Content is king they say.
The film and television world have many award functions every year. But for the first time there were awards for the gender content in film and television. A great beginning I thought.
Imtiaz Ali’s movie Highway, received an award for dwelling into the mind a trafficked girl. She does not want to go back to where she came from nor does she really want to reach her destination, which she knows will be hell. Between the two hells she has this jo
urney and the film as perhaps no other film ever did dwells on that journey.
The Balika Vadhu that epic saga on child marriage was honored. So was the Star Plus daily soap Diya Aur Baati Hum. The latter deals with an accomplished woman and her supportive husband. Colors social message show Udann was the other recipient.
Sister Didi, yet another program too came up for recognition.
The NGO Beti which was set up to save the unborn from foeticide and infanticide. Later the organization turned its attention to the horrors of acid attack. They helped and stood by several acid attack victims during their very expensive and very traumatic surgeries and healing process. Its founder Anu Ranjan, who is also the President of the Indian Television Academy received the award.
In the coming years these citations I hope will become full pledged awards sought after by the industry and fully supported and hailed by the society.
There is no communion without conversation. There is no Elevate if there is no significant conversation. Two sets of conversations were set in motion. One lead by Prof Garry Lyons from the Leeds University and the other moderated by the one and only Mahesh Bhat.
Prominent participants included Amit Khanna, Ketan Mehta, Deepa Sahi, Sudhir Mishra, Dr. Sanjiv Badhwar, Sanjay Tripathy, Dr. Nikhil Datar, Anu Ranjan, Suhail Tatari, Dr. Lata Shenava, Bhawana Somaaya and Gajra Kottary.
The shadow of the ban of India’s Daughter, certainly overshadowed the conversations. Censorship said one of the speakers is not an Indian concept. It is a take off from the reformation, renaissance and the Spanish inquisitions. Knowledge and freedom belong to the elite. People in general do not understand anything.
In a digital world, censorship will not work. So why bother to censor at all? was the question. What we need to work on is in changing the conversation that is prevalent. That is where the future lies.
I can only say Amen to that. That is why the ACEE was set up in the first place. ACEE stands vindicated. Now ACEE has its three key words identified.
Elevate 2015 was organized as part of The Third Eye program; a free-on-demand resource centre for information on sustainable development, climate change, health, legal and rights issues for filmmakers and creative communities, leading in the business of media and entertainment in India. The Third Eye is a partnership between the ‘Asian Centre for Entertainment Education’ (ACEE), India, and ‘Hollywood, Health and Society’ (HH&S), Norman Lear Centre, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA. The ‘Bill & Melinda Gates