Rescripting HerStory in Mollywood

By Miriam Chandy Menacherry

In Mollywood it is the Mollys staging a revolution! A tenacious group of women producers, directors and film technicians in South India are reinventing film financing, distribution and film production; to send out an unyielding message about gender equality in a country that produces the most number of films. This is an attempt to document `her story’ at a critical time in the history of Indian cinema. A new band of women helm film productions in 2021. They have collectively ushered in the Mollywood #MeToo movement by forming the Women in Cinema Collective WCC in 2017 as they ensure a landmark court case against a leading actor is heard so there is a fair trial. They will also launch their own productions at a time that the pandemic has ensured that film production has a complex road ahead. How will these developments challenge the stranglehold of a male bastion? What are the hurdles they must overcome to redefine existing norms and practices to carve their own space in popular imagination? What are the implications at the box office for commercial cinema in Kerala as well as in a country that produces the most number of films in the world? 

This multimedia project is envisioned as stills that will accompany the manuscript of a book as well as archival art installations intended to be displayed at film museums, art festivals like Kala Ghoda, Kochi Biennale, and art centres. It will capture the narratives of women who are creating cinema history in Kerala. This is an immersive project of written and audio stories, audio visual snippets as an attempt to capture vivid imagery of `women at work’ in the film industry which is considered a macho and chauvinistic space. A dedicated website with snippets that can be circulated via mobile devices.