Challenging the deeply entrenched gender norms
'WOMB - Women of my Billion', a powerful narrative that highlights the plight, dreams, rights and fight of the women of today's India against all forms of violence, will world premiere at the opening night as a UK Gala of the 'London Indian Film Festival 2021'. The festival lineup is a 'love letter to India', given the ongoing hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deeply shocked and disturbed by the highway 91 rape case that was reported in 2016 in India, Srishti Bakshi decided to not be a silent spectator to rising crime against women in her country. 'WOMB' captures her 3800 km on-foot journey from Kanyakumari to Srinagar over 230 days and her heroic effort to create awareness on women's safety and empowerment through financial and digital literacy.
It highlights survivor stories of activist Pragya Prasun Singh, Lieutenant Colonels Sangeeta Tiwari and Neha Rai and stands a crucial testament to the worldwide crisis which has only aggravated in these times of the pandemic.
An 'Awedacious Original', 'WOMB' is a poignant and heart-warming story that explores the social and political issues faced by women of today's India. The documentary feature highlights the monumental journey through Srishti's lens, her interaction with over 85,000 women over more than 100 workshops she conducted in schools, villages and institutions on her walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.
"In this documentary, we have celebrated ordinary women who have shown extraordinary courage to rise above their limitations and challenge deeply entrenched gender norms. We did this to unite the majority because what we discovered was that 'gender-based violence is a crime perpetrated by the minority but perpetuated by the silence of the majority," said Srishti.
Director Ajitesh Sharma said, "Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the world locking down to live within four walls, emerging data and reports from those on the front lines have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have only intensified. With 'WOMB', I aim to bring forth inspiring stories of fight and survival, which Srishti was privy to by meeting brave women on her walk. I aim to pass on this privilege of knowing these women and their stories to inspire conversations on how gender norms need to be overhauled."
'WOMB' is the debut feature by director Ajitesh Sharma and produced by Apoorva Bakshi along with her producing partners Monisha Thyagarajan and Gururaj Dixit. It is executive produced by Juliet Blake, film and TV producer of 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' and 'TED Talks India'.
The '12th Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2021' and its sister festivals in Birmingham and Manchester will showcase 'WOMB' as the opening film for the festival.