issue Women have a long way to go to establish themselves as writers in the Telugu film industry

Have women established themselves as writers in the 80-year history of the film industry? How many of them are still successful and have they moved beyond writing sentimental stories? There are many reasons other than intellect and efficiency why women are not able to make a mark here. She needs the support of the family to concentrate on writing, has to commute at odd hours, fight male chauvinism and their payments are delayed.

Director Nandini Reddy states that the women writers have been more successful on television, but when it comes to films the subjects are more of a commercial format where one has to narrate hero-centric stories. “It is definitely an intimidating atmosphere,” she says. “The number is negligible. Till you show spark, you are one amongst several writers. Also your attitude and where you work with matters. It's not impossible to work but it is not the easiest job on earth either. I'm yet to meet someone of substance though I've been open and heard women writers narrate.”

Translating dialogues also is an art, Umarji Anuradha, a journalist well versed in many languages shot to fame with Ye Maya Chesave . She had written dialogues for 108, Gaganam, Kavya's Diary, Maro Charitra and expressed her wish to write street smart dialogues for Raviteja but sadly she was not taken seriously. Last heard she even resigned from a prominent post in the writers association in the film industry. There are few other women writers who show an inclination to write, but end up with one story for a movie and disappear.Most directors expect women to work for free; some approve the script by women refuse to give them credit.

Nandini questions, “Why should I hire them just because they are women, talent matters, no one ever gave me a special treatment because I was a woman. There is a lot of discomfort interacting with men, until you achieve some kind of success you are considered subservient.”

B. Ramani is currently working on a commercial and a Varun Sandesh's movie . Her repertoire includes Repalle Lo Radha, Madhu Masam, Andari Banduvaiyya, Yevadeathagadu . She avers, “It isn't just about writing and narrating a story, convincing them to accept it is also a task. If you have a hit, offers will come your way. I get a chance to write once in two years or I keep busy writing for television. TV fetches… you can sit at home and write, and we meet deadlines.”

Kuppili Padma, short story writer says, “I'm not the kind of person to go to producers and ask for work. If they approach I don't mind giving..these days even serials in books have lost readership. After Yeddanapudi Sulochana Rani, none could fill the gap.”

y. sunita chowdhary