BIOSCOPEWALA – the modern day adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's eternal classic KABULIWALA is hitting the screens this Friday. Helmed by Deb Medhekar, the movie will see veteran actor Danny Denzongpa playing the title role along with Geetanjali Thapa, Tisca Chopra and Adil Hussain.
Tisca Chopra plays the poignant role of Wahida a burkha boxer and shares some shocking facts about her role and situation of women in certain areas.
“It was shocking to learn that women were used in same way as cocks are used in cock fights” says the actress and continues by saying, “I actually heard about it several years ago from a friend in Kolkata who had mentioned it in passing. And when the director Deb Medhekar brought it up in the context of the film, we spoke about it at length. Then I researched it extensively. It was shocking to me that women were used much in the same way as cocks are used in cock fights; men bet on them and the women often used it as a way to stave off poverty. In BIOSCOPEWALA, Wahida, the character I play is an Afghan refugee who takes to boxing so as to not become a prostitute and also maybe get legalized as a citizen if she did well as a boxer."
She further says that practicing burkha boxing is such a derogatory thing towards woman, "Women who would get sucked into burka betting were often immigrants or poor. It was such a cruel thing, watching these women often hurt their own friends while boxing just for the pleasure of the betting men who got a high out of watching women bloody themselves at the sport. Most often these women had no training in boxing and no gloves or medical care."
"Men who bet on the burqa boxers are immigrant labours who don’t have their families around. For them it is a way to bonding with other men while enjoying a sport. That the sport involves women is added incentive and the betting is adds to excitement. That it is exploitative in the extreme is what makes this one of the sad truths of the world. It’s hard to know why this sport took root in the congested lanes of Kolkata. Maybe because the Sonagachi red light area was where many immigrant women finally found work," says Tisca Chopra.
Tisca Chopra, who grew up in Kabul for 10 years, shares that those years were magnificent there and situation was far better than of today. Sharing her memories of growing up in Kabul, she says, "My formative years growing up in Kabul were magnificent. Women or actually society consisted of two classes – upper and educated and very poor and unlettered. There was a total absence of a middle class and consequently women from upper classes spoke several languages including English and French, smoked, drank and wore pretty much what the Western works fashion of the time was. It was the poor women who stuck to wearing traditional clothes and had restrictions on their goings on."
She further adds, "But either class, the women of Afghanistan are the stunning to look at and have a certain vulnerability that combines in a most amazing way with their tough bodies that the climate requires.” She concludes.
?Presented ?by Fox Star Studios in association with Star India, BIOSCOPEWALA is produced Handmade Films and is helmed by Deb Medhekar, the movie releases in theatres on 25th May 2018.