The second day of Dhaka Literature Festival 2018 filled the premises of Bangla Academy on Friday with the same amount of enthusiasm from visitors thronging the venue and attending speakers and authors as the first.
Celebrated Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala, originally from Nepal, graced the festival in an insightful dialogue with the award-winning actress-turned-director Nandita Das titled ‘Breaking Bad’ at the Abdul Karim Shahitya Bisharad Auditorium that event co-director Sadaf Saaz moderated.
Das and Koirala crafted very different paths within India”s vast, multi-layered film industry, which allowed them to bring a whole range of perspectives into the discussion.
In the 90-minute session they engaged on everything from various contemporary social ills to the much talked-about #metoo movement.
At the inception, the Sadaf Saaz lauded both actresses remarking about their career with ample contribution from the audience.
Manisha Koirala, who recently battled cancer, talked about her upcoming book on the matter titled “Healed” releasing in 2019.
She also remarked about her acting career saying “I always wanted to break the stereotypical women character in Bollywood.”
“To me satisfaction is much more meaningful than profit,” she added.
When asked about her current status in acting she said that she wants to “venture outside known territory” regarding the character in cinema.
Nandita Das spoke about her emergence as an actress and also as a director, mentioning her first directorial venture ‘Firaaq’ (2008) which was critically acclaimed.
“When we (women) direct movies we never consciously think about making it as a woman,” she further said.
Later though she pointed pointed to certain stereotypes in the industry that tend to stick to one’s identity as a woman, never letting them forget that society constantly evaluates them on feminine attributes.
Manisha resonated with her and stated that women make up just 20% or less of the cinema industry.
Manisha Koirala expressed her hope regarding the current generation upon being asked about the crude commercial portrayal of women.
“Slowly, a few male and female directors are making movies that don’t cast women stereotypically,” she said.
Regarding the current #metoo movement which took the world by storm, both the speakers expressed grave concern.
“There should be a serious enquiry into each case and if found guilty there should be punishment,” Manisha said.
But women should not always play the “poor me” card, she further remarked.
Nandita echoed the same sentiment while appreciating the young women daring to come forward to challenge the status quo.
“Today’s younger women are more intolerant to any kind of harassment which is a great thing,” Nandita added.
After the dialogue they engaged in a Question and Answer session that saw many comments and queries emerging from the rapt audience.