/ Woman Power at TIFF 2008

Woman Power at TIFF 2008

Aug 01, 2013

Three incredible women dare to be different

Their determination to succeed surpasses any obstacles. Driven by passion, persistence and courage, three exceptional women left a deep imprint on the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) landscape. Kiran Bedi, Megan Doneman and Nandita Das made fearless choices and accomplished what they set out to achieve. A woman of courage, Kiran Bedi became an unstoppable precursor of change ever since she joined the Indian Police Forces. She was the first woman to take this step and went on to become the highest ranking and most celebrated officer ever. Megan Doneman was so struck by Bedi’s story that she, armed with a duty-free digital camera, set out from Australia determined to shoot a documentary. Luckily for her, Bedi conceded and Yes Madam, Sir was made. Nandita Das, one of the leading character actors of the Indian film industry, and with past film credits including, Deepa Mehta’s Earth and Fire under her belt, was moved by a thousand compelling stories to direct a film. Her directorial debut, a heart wrenching Firaaq recreated the turmoil of troubled times set after the 2002 Gujarat riots. All three women from completely different backgrounds shared a global platform to exude woman power at TIFF 2008.

A woman of strength, Bedi entrusted little known Doneman with the task of recording her life and the tribulations of her career over major news channels. She was won over by her honesty. “It’s because of the way I saw her. I loved her truth, simplicity, honesty, professional commitment, total passion, devotion and focus. I saw in her much more than even something of my own,” reveals Bedi. “Basically we both have the same nature. We are both open, there are no hidden agendas.”

A woman of tremendous persistence Doneman arrived in India with no crew or financial backing. She just had a firm resolve. “I knew there was a great story there,” says Doneman who describes Bedi and her formidable presence as a “hurricane.” A million challenges, endless trips and six years later she is extremely happy with the result. “I wanted to give it up but I couldn’t have given it up. I was really stubborn,” says Doneman who was able to get Academy Award winning actor Helen Mirren to narrate the film. Yes Madam, Sir takes an intimate look at Bedi’s life and how she turned every hurdle into an accomplishment including the notorious Tihar Jail which transformed to a model prison.

A woman of passion, Nandita Das has directed a very persuasive first film. Firaaq portrays disturbing subject matter and how violence affects the lives of ordinary people. Speaking about her directorial journey, Das says, “It has completely taken a year out of my life, it has just consumed me. It does excite and drain you. It’s not something that I can do one after the other, hats off to those who are so prolific but I can’t do it. I think I also get emotionally attached to the whole thing and I think you invest a lot of yourself in it. Direction challenges every faculty while there are hundred other things. It is managing people while keeping your creative sanity intact.”



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