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Truth Bombs Episode 5 – Gajra Kottari
In this episode, Anju Jayaram of Women’s Web meets Gajra Kottari, author, and scriptwriter. Gajra worked in The Statesmen and she contributed to several Indian magazines and newspapers. Gajra shot to fame with her book Fragile Victories. She is the scriptwriter for Astitva – Ek Prem Kahaani, Balika Vadhu, and Silsila. Gajra has won many awards in her career span for writing for television including Indian Television Academy Award.
In this episode, Gajra answers interesting questions on Balika Vadhu.
“Balika Vadhu showed a girl’s life, especially dealing with a sensitive issue, like child marriage. It showed the entire arc of a girl growing up and reaching puberty. What was the thought process behind that scene? What happened on set that day?”
The first period of a young girl is the time she is very vulnerable. No matter that she has been prepared for it, In most cases frankly not prepared for it, she needs her mother to tell her, she just wants to hug her mother. She wants her mother to tell her “Look this is normal, this is fine, there’s nothing wrong, it’s gonna be ok” That privilege not being available to a young girl where she is in her ‘in-law’s’ house.
“There is this popular misconception, that all these things we spoke about including child marriage happens only in rural India, it doesn’t happen in the urban area”
Child marriage happens even in urban areas where a girl of 17-18 age, who is still a child according to me for something as big as marriage.
Gajra tells us how even in urban areas people connected to the character Anandhi in Balika Vadhu and also throws light on audiences’ reaction on watching the first menses of a girl, shown on TV for the very first time in India.
Gajra shares her opinion on how in the last 10 years since Balika Vadhu, the issue of menstruation been shown differently on the television or on the Indian media or even the ads. She feels that apart from the movie Padman, there is a silence on this entire issue and this has never been touched upon in movies.
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