Guneet Monga’s Period. End Of Sentence has created history by winning the Best Documentary Short Subject at the 91st Academy Awards. Guneet Monga, who has also produced remarkable films like Masaan and The Lunchbox, was one of the producers of this India-based documentary.
Directed by award-winning Iranian-American filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi, the documentary is about the women of India who are fighting against the deeply-rooted stigma of menstruation. The story also delves into the story of Pad Man A Muruganantham. It is filmed in the farms, fields and the classrooms of Kathikera, a village in Hapur district. It talks about how the lives of women in the village changed after Action India (a charity that works on reproductive health issues) set up a sanitary napkin manufacturing unit in Kathikera. From addressing the girls who have never heard about periods before they get it themselves to women working in the pad-manufacturing unit, the documentary brilliantly captures the circumstances of the women in the village.
This 26 minutes long film shows the story of a village where women did not have access to sanitary pads for generations, which resulted in health issues and girls dropping out of schools. The women of the village often struggled to talk about periods and wouldn’t even say the word. Men of the village addressed sanitary pads “Huggies” or “nappies” and refused to address the health issues of the women in their families. However, after a sanitary pad vending machine was installed in their village, the women empowered themselves by taking the matter in their own hands. They learned how to manufacture and market their own sanitary pads and they named their brand ‘FLY’.
After the win, the executive producer of the film shared her excitement via Twitter. She tweeted a beautiful message for “every girl on this earth.”
WE WON!!! To every girl on this earth… know that you are a goddess… if heavens are listening… look MA we put @sikhya on the map ❤️
— Guneet Monga (@guneetm) February 25, 2019
While accepting her Oscar for the documentary, 25-year-old Rayka Zehtabchi said, “I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything. I can’t believe a film on menstruation won an Oscar. Guneet Monga – know that you have been empowering women all over the world fight for menstrual equality.” She further added, “I share this award with the Feminist Majority Foundation, the entire team and cast. I share this with the teachers and students around the worlds – a period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.”
Much like many examples of toxic masculinity from the film itself, an Oscars judge recently refused to vote for the documentary stating that while the film was well made, it made the male jury feel “icky”. Hopefully, the win-win situation of this work of art will give toxic masculinity a reality check.
Before leaving for the Oscars, Guneet Monga spoke to a leading daily and revealed, “A bunch of students in Oakwood School, 12- to 14-year-old girls, had the idea of making this film. They did a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter. One of their mothers, Stacey Sher, who is my mentor and has also produced some Tarantino movies, got in touch with me.”
It’s a proud moment for the country and the makers who skilfully managed to bring forth a serious issue from our society with an intention of embracing change.
Talking about the inception and the journey of Period. End Of Sentence, Guneet Monga said, “This started seven years ago with raising money and donating one pad machine… then thought the team should make a movie for better awareness. Action India from India helped on ground in putting a machine. Rayka Zehtabchi and Sam Davis captured all of this so beautifully with Mandakini Kakar producing for Sikhya Entertainment. Today, here we are! All the way to Oscars and have put this story on the map! Whatever may happen…. team Period. End of Sentence is already a winner.”
The film was nominated in competition with some brilliant works including End Game, Black Sheep, Lifeboat and A Night At The Garden.
Featured Image Source: Instagram & ABC
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