Multiple issues are explored in the 10th edition of Asian Women’s Film Festival

Gender violence, commercial surrogacy, commensurate rights in Sri Lanka and how African women who studied engineering in India are now earning a livelihood back home are some of the issues that have been explored by Asian women filmmakers.

The four-day “IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival” will be held at the India International Centre and Max Mueller Bhavan here beginning Wednesday. A diverse range of films will be screened during the festival.

Wombs on Rent follows the emotional journey of a surrogate mother right from the day she signs a bond that puts her womb on rent and through her nine months of “bonded” labour.

According to filmmaker Ishani Dutta, the film has been made to highlight the fact that whenever a couple from abroad commissions a baby, dubious Indian agencies ensure that at least three women eager to earn Rs.3 lakh are roped in.

“Through this film I want to highlight the repercussions of renting wombs on the lives of women. During my research, a startling fact emerged that a number of migrant women living in Garhi, Kapashera and Madangiri are willing to make money through this practice in which every guideline is flouted.”

For Ishani there were multiple reasons to make the film. As a supporter of women’s rights, the inherent anomalies in the practice of commercial surrogacy made her curious.

“Being a mother, the subject of surrogate motherhood terrified me. hese mothers deliver the babies only to give them to strangers. Forget breastfeeding the child, they are never able to even see it.”

In her award-winning documentary, Yasmin Kidwai has depicted how there has been a transformation in the lives of African women who studied engineering in India.

No Problem! follows a group of African women who land at a nondescript village in Rajasthan to be trained as solar engineers.

“Thankfully, these women became engineers as part of the Barefoot College’s rural solar electrification project. While researching for a project related to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, I stumbled upon this story. I had gone to Tanzania to see how these women were leading their lives. They had electrified their villages and were revered by their husbands and neighbours,” said Yasmin.

According to festival director Anupama Srinivasan, the tenth edition of the festival will screen films which make an attempt to explore the truth.

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