Film and Television Institute of India anthology celebrates life and works of its women alumni

FTII: Film and Television Institute of India women alumni, who are filmmakers, come together at a Kolkata book fair stall to unveil an anthology.

Film and Television Institute of India anthology celebrates life and works of its women alumni Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Pune (image source: FTII official Twitter)
Press Trust of India | Mar 11, 2022 - 5:44 p.m. IST
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KOLKATA: Women alumni of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who have pushed boundaries to live their dreams as filmmakers, come together at a Kolkata book fair stall to unveil an anthology that honours their accomplishments. The place turned into an august house where experiences are shared, visions created and ideas churned out amid doses of spirited laughter. And much of that spirit has found its reflection in the newly released book ‘Balancing the wisdom tree: Anthology of FTII's women alumni’. The book, released by eminent filmmaker Aruna Raje Patil, known for movies like `Rihaee' (Release) and documentaries like `Mallika Sarabhai' and `Behind the Glass Wall', has encapsulated the journey and accomplishments of several feisty women, who have beaten odds to carve out their place in the world of cinema.

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Patil, who is the first female technician to enter the Hindi film industry from FTII, told PTI on the sidelines of the book launch that she has never let sexism bog her down. “My mentors at FTII had encouraged me to pursue a career in film editing; the industry, however, wasn’t that welcoming. I did not let that come in the way of my work. Even when I was going through a low phase in my personal life, I made sure I gave my hundred per cent to filmmaking. Over the years, many women joined this industry as technicians, but there is still a long way to go in the male bastion,” the five-time National Award-winning filmmaker said. Her women-centric films, be it ‘Shaque’ (Suspicion) or ‘Rihaee’, have often been tagged as “bold” for its content, but Patil believes in speaking her mind.

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The revered director, who has mentored many FTII students in the past decades, is also a renowned life coach. “Losing my daughter to cancer was a numbing jolt. Shortly after, my husband sought a divorce. All of that had left me devastated. I knew I had to live for my son and although it wasn’t easy, I fought my way to success. And now I try to motivate others in ways that I can,” she added. The book chronicles the journey of many women like Patil, who have found their calling in films – some of it in the form of conversations, some with picture essays and interviews.

Gauri Durga Chakraborty, the editor of the chronicler, emphasised the need to keep a record of all women achievers of the industry who do not get enough acknowledgement for the kind of work they do behind the camera. “The compilation is an attempt to pay tribute to all women alumni of FTII who have made a mark for themselves in the industry. The look and the design of it have been created, keeping in the mind the need to send out the gender equality message. It celebrates the life and work of veterans such as Parvathy Nayar Menon, the first female student of the institute,” she explained.

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“Women have broken into new territories and contributed as pioneers in filmmaking over the years. It took me and my peers from the institute some one-and-half years to compile their achievements,” Chakraborty said. FTII's former director Bhupandra Kainthola who conceived the idea of the book and was present at the programme, congratulated all women achievers of the institute on the occasion. “In a world where women have to work twice as hard to make their presence half as felt, it’s rarer still to even appreciate, leave alone document, the achievements of women who have made a mark in the film and media industry. It is therefore commendable that this book is seeing the light of the day, serving as a lighthouse that will guide thousands of women,” Kainthola, who is now a senior functionary in the I&B ministry, added.

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