WHEN CITY-based Dhanashree Patil was about 11-12 years, she enjoyed running around and playing with her friends more than anything else. However, her life changed when her menstruation cycle started.
During her periods, she would be asked to sit in a separate room at home. She wasn’t allowed to run around and play with friends, especially boys. She was not supposed to go near the temple in the house.
Based on her own experience, she wrote a story that is now the script of a short film named Kosh, which aims to create awareness about menstruation and myths around the subject. The film, which is directed by Samir Vanjari, has recently won the Best Short Film and the Best Editing Award at the Flick Short Films Festival that was held in the city at Suryadutta Institute, Bavdhan and saw participation from media students. The film also won the Best Short Film and Audience Choice Award at the Smart Cut Short Film Festival held last week at Maharshi Karve Shikshan Sanstha. The 8-minute-long film is made by a group of students from different colleges in the city.
“Just like what the writer of the film experienced in her real life, the protagonist of the film who is a 12-year-old girl lives a carefree and fun-filled life till she reaches the age of puberty. And then suddenly, her life changes. She is too young to understand why so many restrictions have been imposed on her,” says Vanjari, adding, the film begins with the girl and her friends running to catch a butterfly and ends with the scene that shows the butterfly in a transparent bottle. “That’s when the girl compares her life with that of a butterfly and how the freedom enjoyed by both — her and the butterfly — has been snatched.”
All the actors in the film have faced camera for the first time. The production team had conducted an acting workshop with them prior to the shoot of the film. The role of the protagonist is being played by a girl named Shweta Daghe. The film was screened at Fergusson College a few weeks ago. After bagging awards at the Flicks Film Festival, the team is now planning to send the film for London Film Festival as well. “Besides, we also plan to approach PMC officials to facilitate screening of ‘Kosh’ at various schools. Our target audience are not just kids but also parents,” says Vanjari.
As part of their research, the students visited a few villages also and studied the practices. “We realised that even though people of villages have adopted modern means of living, their thought process is still the same. Even a large number of people staying in cities dictate many restrictions on young girls. On one hand, we offer prayers to so many women goddesses and on the other, we treat them like untouchables when they are menstruating,” says Vanjari.