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BIOSCOPE STORIES VS BOLLYWOOD of Kala Ghoda Arts Festival acknowledged by US Consul General Mike Hankey

February 5, 2023: The U.S. Consulate General, Mumbai along with Red Dot Foundation presented the award-winning docu-short “Bioscope Stories VS Bollywood” at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. The event opened with an introduction by Supreet K Singh, Co-Founder & CEO of Red Dot Foundation, followed by opening remarks by the U.S. Consul General Mike Hankey. The “Bioscope Stories VS Bollywood” film was made to draw attention to the unacceptable glorification of the notion that harassment out of romance is OK. We all are aware that the content we consume greatly influences our ideologies and impacts the society strongly. The movies we watch and the songs we listen to all help to reinforce the ideas depicted about love and romance in a wide range of ways. When we imbibe the toxic romantic beliefs depicted in Bollywood cinema, we normalise behaviour that is in reality a criminal offence like stalking, touching, eve-teasing, taking pictures without consent, etc. The film was made to appeal to writers and producers to stop producing movies that glorify this notion, and for policy makers to put an end to productions that encourage harassment in India. After the film screening a curated panel discussion was held with experts from various industries including actors Rahul Bhat and Rajashri Deshpande, activist Harish Iyer, advocate Audrey Dmello, and advertising expert Seema Sood. Supreet K Singh moderated the panel and discussed the impact Bollywood has on the society, how it adds to the toxic and harmful culture that leads to gender based violence and what remedies could be explored to correct this. The aim was to create awareness and an open safe space to discuss and challenge the notion that ‘harassment out of romance is acceptable’.  QUOTES “Media does a lot to shape how society views women and how often we see women on screen. So not only do we need to look at how women are portrayed as the Bioscope does, but we need to look at how often they are heard on screen and as employees in the film industry as writers, editors, camera crew etc. Film is a powerful medium and through its portrayal of women and the participation of women behind the scenes, the film industry has potential to promote economic growth and development, and strengthen democracy and security. The United States government believes that advancing gender equity and equality is fundamental to every individual’s economic security, safety, health, and ability to exercise their most basic rights. It is also essential to economic growth and development, democracy and political stability and the security of nations across the globe. Ensuring that all people, regardless of gender, can realize their full potential is, therefore, both a moral and strategic imperative.”  Mike Hankey | U.S. Consul General, Mumbai
“The fact that misogyny is normalised as heroic behaviour in some films is tragic, generally conversation stays around some commercial/massy films of the year which are flag bearers of such toxic behavior. We forget that there are many films which are made with very strong female protagonists. Also responsibility of changing the society doesn’t remain with the film industry It’s more on our education system and social constructs. We must not forget that Cinema is a reflection of the society we live in.”  Rahul Bhat, Actor | Producer
“Casual Sexism has been trivialised and glorified in a large number of commercial films for a long time now. We as a society have accepted and imbibed those toxic relationships as a benchmark to courtship and romance that has made eve-teasing, stalking, touching a normal behaviour in wooing someone. Even though some filmmakers have been creating sensitive and responsible content, it is a tiny number. The audience and the filmmakers need to have open conversations, recognise the problem and explore ways to stop this glorification that leads to criminal offences becoming rampant under the garb of love. Consent should be mandatory for the narrative.”  Supreet K Singh, Writer | Filmmaker | Co-Founder & CEO, Red Dot Foundation
About Kala Ghoda Arts Festival The Kala Ghoda Association was formed with the idea of giving back to the city we call home – giving life to the most prominent street art festival that India has – the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. It is the country’s largest multicultural festival, taking place in February each year that draws visitors from all over the world.  About Red Dot FoundationRed Dot Foundation works at the intersection of gender, technology, communications, data and urban planning and Safecity is its flagship program. Safecity is a platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces. This data which maybe anonymous, gets aggregated as hot spots on a map indicating trends at a local level. The idea is to make this data useful for individuals, local communities and local administration to identify factors that cause behaviour that leads to violence and work on strategies for solutions. The organisation aims to make cities safer by encouraging equal access to public spaces for everyone, especially women, through crowdsourced data and technology.


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