Mumbai

In theatres today: short film on reporting sexual harassment

Creating change: Director Swagat Bhattacharya (right) at a special screening of the short film at Mumbai Press Club on Friday.

Creating change: Director Swagat Bhattacharya (right) at a special screening of the short film at Mumbai Press Club on Friday.  

A short film highlighting the importance of reporting sexual harassment will be screened in theatres across Thane from Saturday. The joint initiative by Viviana Mall and the Thane police is aimed at encouraging people to raise their voice against sexual harassment faced by women irrespective of the onlooker’s gender.

The film is part of a campaign called #MeraFarzHai and will be screened in 150 theatres across the city. The 1.54-minute film, made by Swagat Bhattacharya, showcases different instances of harassment that women face in settings like workplaces, buses and restaurants. In all the settings, while most of the onlookers stay silent, one person intervenes and confronts the harasser.

‘A huge responsibility’

Mr. Bhattacharya said the film is a way of doing his bit to change society. He said, “It is a huge responsibility. Even if one person who witnesses a woman go through something uncomfortable takes a stand, I will consider this film a success.”

The film ends with Joint Commissioner of Police Suresh Kumar Mekala, Thane City, appealing to citizens to take action by saying that ensuring the safety of women is everyone’s duty.

Rima Kirtikar, chief marketing officer, Viviana Mall, said there is a need to create awareness among citizens to come out and report incidents of crimes against women. She said, “When we reached out to the police, we were informed that a lot of cases of harassment go unreported. Sometimes witnesses do not report or intervene due to fear of what might happen to them. One of the objectives behind this film is to make people aware of the 103 emergency helpline.”

Ms. Kirtikar said the subject might not be a new one, but they are trying to approach it from a different perspective. She said, “The Thane police have been instrumental in reaching out to theatres and other institutions to help with the initiative. As of now, the short film will be screened for a month in 40 theatres in Thane, Dombivli, Ulhasnagar and Kalyan. We have also planned workshops for schoolchildren from June and aim to bring this campaign to Mumbai as well.”

Viviana Mall aims to hold a self-defence workshops on its premises and felicitate women achievers on March 7, the eve of Women’s Day. The event will be attended by Thane Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 2:27:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/in-theatres-today-short-film-on-reporting-sexual-harassment/article30946498.ece

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