I don’t like judging any of my characters: Alankrita Shrivastava on Bombay Begums


Director Alankrita Shrivastava, who has excelled at capturing the feminine gaze along with her movies, says she will be able to by no means write males who’re heroes as she tries to current her characters with all their flaws. With films like Turning 30, Lipstick Under My Burkha and Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, Shrivastava has damaged away from the Hindi cinema’s typical slotting of ladies into both excellent beings or vamps.

“I think people are different and I just try to make them real. It just depends, sometimes they are wonderful, and sometimes they are not. But I can’t make heroes out of them. I don’t even make heroes out of my female characters, so I definitely won’t do that to the male characters,” Shrivastava advised PTI in an interview.

Besides tackling themes of liberation, freedom, and severe points like marital rape and abuse, Shrivastava has introduced ladies who overtly pursue their ambitions and needs and within the course, break the shackles positioned on them by males of their lives.

The director, whose newest collection Bombay Begums on Netflix delves into the lives of 5 ladies from totally different sections of society, who all need various things in life, is conscious of the critics who imagine she presents males in a unfavourable mild. But the director mentioned she tries to write down her characters as actually as doable.

“Sometimes, people feel that I write male characters who are very negative. But I try to write them from the experiences that people have had. To be honest, I don’t like judging any of my characters… I believe human beings are complex and everyone has many facets,” Shrivastava mentioned.

The filmmaker mentioned that the boys in her tales seem as per the experiences of the ladies characters and what position they play of their lives. “In all my films, starting from Turning 30, the men appear only as how the female characters experience them. We’re not really following the journeys of those male characters. These characters exist in relation to the female characters. So it depends really on what’s going on in that character’s life. There are some male characters who may be supportive, some may be in conflict and some may be betraying those characters. So that’s really only how we see them.”


The present, which options an ensemble solid of Pooja Bhatt, Shahana Goswami, Amruta Subhash, Plabita Borthakur, and Aadhya Anand, delves into the lives of 5 ladies from totally different sections of society.

A standard theme that the present has tried to discover is the bodily struggles of its ladies. There’s a 12-year-old Shai (Anand) who’s attaining puberty, and on the opposite hand, Bhatt performs 49-year-old Rani on the appearance of menopause.

Then there’s Fatima who’s dealing with fixed strain from her husband to conceive a toddler even supposing her physique is displaying indicators that it’s not doable.

“I like to look at characters from a holistic point of view, especially like the primary characters. I believe that for a woman, her body is always a part of her life on a daily basis. We get periods because women are the ones who bear children. So I feel like there’s always something going on with a woman’s body at whatever age she is. It’s like a constant theme in her life. It’s something that we all have dealt with in different ways.”

Shrivastava mentioned a deep dive into the lives of her lead characters couldn’t have been doable for her with out inspecting their bodily struggles. “Each character has a specific struggle and relationship with their bodies that is explored as a subtext in the show. Visually, one can see it through Shai’s drawings. They tell something about a woman and provide a more candid lens as to what women’s bodies should look like.”

Patriarchy is one other theme that’s widespread throughout all of her work.

The filmmaker mentioned the concept that ladies ought to exist to serve males has been deeply ingrained in ladies.

“The idea that women feel like that their greatest duty is to serve the men in their lives, starting with respecting the father, then brother, then husband and then it’s the son. It’s always about putting the man in your life ahead of you. So I think that internalised the idea.”

Women are additionally advised to always compete with one another, which prevents them from changing into allies, Shrivastava added.

“I assume all of us are undoubtedly at totally different levels of making an attempt to unlearn and see the world otherwise as a result of there may be a lot conditioning. When a lady enters a room, she won’t really feel like she owns the room in the identical approach a person could really feel.

“In many ways, my characters are actually going through that process of putting themselves at the centre of their own lives and not feeling guilty about it.”

Last week, the federal government unveiled tips for OTT (over-the-top) platforms as per which a ”code of ethics” and three-tier grievance redressal mechanism could be relevant for platforms akin to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar, information publishers and digital media.

When requested if the brand new authorities tips would by some means have an effect on the inventive freedom supplied by OTT platforms to content material creators, Shrivastava mentioned folks will discover a approach to inform their story. As artists, we should think about the truth that humanity can not survive with out tales. We will inform our tales by some means or the opposite,” she added.

Bombay Begums, a six-episode collection, premieres on Netflix on March 8, International Women’s Day.


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