ANDHRA PRADESH

Women in high places

LET'S TALK CINEMA: Poojita Choudary (right) with Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson of Biocon, in Hyderabad on Friday. Photo: G. Krishnaswamy

LET'S TALK CINEMA: Poojita Choudary (right) with Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson of Biocon, in Hyderabad on Friday. Photo: G. Krishnaswamy  

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Watching a short film profiling Indian women storming workplaces that were traditional male bastions, would have been at the bottom of the agenda of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the `queen of biotechnology.'

But when the Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon, the leading Indian biotech company, took time off her busy schedule to watch the film, `Gender Bender' made by up and coming filmmaker Poojita Choudary, she was simply bowled over.

"It is a moving film. These women have braved, fought and come out of societal prejudices," she observed and made the audience give a standing ovation to Ms. Choudary. The film, focusing on women taking unconventional jobs from driving locomotives and bulldozers to performing religious rites, was screened by Young Indians, an initiative of the Confederation of Indian Industry here on Friday.

Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw went on to reminiscence her past and how her grandmother refused to see her at the time of her birth just because she was a baby girl. "But my parents were very supportive." When she came back to India after her studies and planned to set up a biotechnology company, she faced "tremendous credibility challenges." "I was told this area was not suitable for a woman as I have to deal with engineers and trade unions. Banks told me it was a huge financial risk. I went ahead with the help of one man who backed me to the hilt." Ms. Shaw said it was economic empowerment that obliterated gender bias.

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