Her daughter’s birth in 1997 signalled the starting point of a quest for filmmaker Madhureeta Anand. “Among my peers and colleagues, many couples favoured a male child. This shocked me. I wanted to make a film that expressed my anxiety towards this trend,” says Anand. But it was only in 2011 that the script was finalised. Her film, Kajarya, captures her sentiments towards the attitudes directed at women in India. The trailers of the film have earned good reviews at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in France, and Anand is planning on releasing the film on March 7 next year, a day before International Women’s Day.
The 125-minute film shows how women are treated through the lives of the protagonists, a village woman and a budding newspaper reporter. Set in rural Haryana, the woman in the village sacrifices infant girls under the garb of religion. The newspaper reporter discovers this and reports about it. “I have combined two-three real incidents and fictionalised the content to present different points of view,” says Anand.
Her Bollywood venture Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye (2009) starred Raima Sen and Randeep Hooda. Anand also received the Royal Television Society Craft Award for the Channel 4 TV series, The Greatest Show on Earth – The Kumbh Mela.
For Kajarya, Anand shot in actual locations in villages across Jhajjar, Haryana and the outskirts of Delhi. She spent three days at a newspaper office as well. Among the cast are real villagers and a small-time village lawyer. Anand got Golden Globe award-winning music composer Richard Horowitz for the film, as well. “He has a good connection with ethnic sounds and is familiar with Indian classical music structures. He has incorporated the sarangi in the background score,” she says, who made the film under her independent production banner, Ekaa Films.
Anand got Kolkata-based filmmaker Kaushik Mukherjee (better known as Q) on board as co-producer. Currently, she is working on her next venture, a period drama called Maharani, based on the diaries of a man who came to Delhi when the Nizam of Hyderabad ruled.