In focus Movies

Into the world of women entrepreneurs

Gayathrie Shankar and Kalairani in ‘B Selvi & Daughters’   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

What does it take for a woman to assert herself as an entrepreneur? Finding the initial capital and putting in hours of work to bring dreams to fruition is one part of the story. The ability to rise above self-doubt and find her voice in a patriarchal system becomes equally important.

Director Drishya Gautam’s 25-minute Tamil short film B Selvi & Daughters subtly highlights these issues through the story of a single mother (Kalairani as Selvi) and daughter (Gayathrie Shankar of Super Deluxe).

Selvi, who used to go door-to-door to sell saris, struggles when she tries to do business via WhatsApp. She is overwhelmed when orders pour in after her daughter sets up a Facebook business page. The rest of the story is about how Selvi embraces the new challenges of entrepreneurship.

B Selvi & Daughters is among the four films that won a production grant after their scripts were chosen from among 100 entries for the ‘Her&Now film campaign’ announced in 2019. Her&Now project supports women-led start-ups and announced its first cohort in 2019. The second cohort selection, for 2020, is underway to choose promising start-ups (ideas for incubation and early ventures for acceleration) in the Northeastern states, Telangana and Rajasthan.

Implementing the Her & Now project on behalf of German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, in partnership with the Indian Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, is the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). The implementing partners are WeHub for Telangana, Dhriiti for the Northeast and Startup Oasis for Rajasthan.

The other selected films
  • Kashmakash – The Dilemma, directed by Manav Rath, a fictional story where a corporate employee in Delhi overcomes her inertia to turn entrepreneur after meeting an homemaker-entrepreneur from Jaipur.
  • Ritu Goes Online, a documentary directed by Vrinda Samartha, tells the story of homemaker Ritu Kaushik who began selling handbags through an e-commerce portal.
  • Pahal - an initiative, animation film directed by Swarup Deb, Anuj Kumar and Avinash Medhe explores conversations and eventual learnings between three entrepreneurs from the Northeast, Rajasthan and Telangana.

The film campaign is one part of Her&Now — to promote the idea of women-led start-ups through infotainment. Julia Karst, head of Her&Now project believes cinema can be an effective medium for social change, and says, “Films are a beautiful medium to showcase role models. A documentary can show real-life role models. Likewise, where no role models can be found in real life, fiction can help us create them. We wanted to have different film categories (fiction, documentary, and animation) for the campaign. We hope to inspire many women across India to become entrepreneurs.”

The filmmaking teams of the four selected scripts were supported by supervising producers from Filmbooth. “GIZ [German Agency for International Cooperation] was involved at all stages but intervened as little as possible,” adds Karst.

The films are unlikely to be made available for viewing on public platforms soon, since the plan is to take them to Indian and international film festivals. There will also be screenings and moderated discussions at academic institutions, NGOs, women networks, cultural centres and institutes from the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

For details of the project or to apply for start-up support, look up https://herandnow.in/get-involved/

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 2:54:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/hernow-film-campaign-projects-both-real-life-and-fictional-role-models-for-women-entrepreneurs/article32676213.ece

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