Oscars 2019: A classic case of triumph and concern

The ‘Jai Ho’ (triumph, accolades) of Guneet Monga's PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE at the Oscars 2019 in the Best Documentary Short category is indeed a moment of joy. “Now, that we have an Oscar, Let’s go change the world.” Said the much elated Guneet Monga – the co-producer of PERIOD - END OF SENTENCE. The world is changing but the triumph of Guneet Monga's short PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE, does has a concern hidden in the smiles that is waiting for its ‘period’ of dilemma to end one day.

Have we lost an opportunity to win an Oscar in the feature film category this year?.

Interestingly the subject/idea of PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE is strikingly similar to the 2018 Akshay Kumar starrer PAD MAN written and directed by R. Balki. The movie is inspired by the life of Padma Shri Arunachalam Muruganantham – the Indian who revolutionized the sanitary pad industry by inventing low-cost sanitary pad-making machine and spreading awareness about traditional unhygienic practices around menstruation in rural India.

But hold on, a few years ago, award winning ROAD TO SANGAM (2010 starring Paresh Rawal and Om Puri) fame filmmaker Amit Rai’s I – PAD was also based on the same subject of menstrual hygiene and unavailability of affordable sanitary napkins for majority of Indian women.

Sadly, I – PAD which claims to be the first to get inspired by the uplifting success story of the iconic Arunachalam Muruganantham before Akshay Kumar starrer, didn’t get a release date.

Today, Amit Rai is glad that the movie on the same subject has won the most coveted award but the joy is wrapped in a restrained remorse, he says, “ 6 year back, I was struggling hard to convince producers to make I – PAD...they said its gritty, dark & irrelevant. Today a documentary on the same subject produced by Gunit Guneet Monga PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE won an Oscar, feeling good and Happy!.

I have seen I – PAD at a festival and its more realistic then PAD MAN. When I asked Amit on his views on Akshay’s film which was just released and had some striking similarities, he said, “ I don’t want to get into the controversy, my movie is not in public domain, I am glad that Akshay Kumar has flagged off the movement”.

What else can any filmmaker say, who wants to stay in this industry. What if I – PAD had happened with its original cast - Manoj Bajpayee and Irrfan Khan, who according to Amit Rai agreed but due to some creative differences regarding second-half it didn’t work out. The title role was then played by Sudhir Nema.

Akshay Kumar's PAD MAN gained accolades from the concerned audience and women in general but still it was not enough to impress the Indian selection committee for Oscar Award at FFI ( Film Federation Of India) headed by SV Rajendra Singh Babu. Rima Das’ National Award-winning Assamese feature VILLAGE ROCKSTARS got selected to represent India in the Best Foreign Language category at 91st Academy Awards which was held today.

So the jury at Oscars has a better insight of India then the Indian selection committee?.

Am not trying to undermine the extraordinary achievement of Guneet Monga's PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE – the India-set film dealing with menstruation taboo, has won the Oscars for Best Documentary Short and it’s a huge step. Stars like Priyanka Chopra, Akshay Kumar, Hollywood star Reese Witherspoon, Padma Lakshmi and others are overwhelmed by this achievement and rightly so. PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE truly deserved this honour.

According to Guneet Monga, “ The efforts of the young girls from Oakwood school in LA to Kathikera in UP in helping us shatter the glass ceiling has paid the highest dividend. This has been more than 10 years of work of Action India run by Gauri Chaudhary on educating reproductive rights on the ground in many villages.”

A truly deserved honour for PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE directed by Rayka Zehtabchi and produced by Melissa Berton, Guneet Monga, Garrett K. Schiff, Lisa Taback and Rayka Zehtabchi. Kudos for Netflix for putting this gem on its platform.

I – PAD may have been a disaster from day one, but it certainly deserved a release. Amit Rai is still hopeful; he feels his movie was not just about menstruation taboo, it was about make in India and the scary scenario of MNC sharks eating up small scale industries in India. The filmmaker is hopeful that his movie might get a window in digital platform at least some day.

Oscars 2019: A classic case of triumph and concern, in the era of Netflix and star power when will the ‘period’ of dilemma for small filmmakers end.

(Disclaimer: The article is the opinion of the author; the website does not hold any responsibility)

Pad Man movie poster
Pad Man movie poster

Akshay Kumar's PAD MAN gained accolades from the concerned audience and women in general but still it was not enough to impress the Indian selection committee for Oscar Award at FFI ( Film Federation Of India) headed by SV Rajendra Singh Babu. Rima Das’ National Award-winning Assamese feature VILLAGE ROCKSTARS got selected to represent India in the Best Foreign Language category at 91st Academy Awards which was held today.

So the jury at Oscars has a better insight of India then the Indian selection committee?.

Amit Rai director I - Pad
Amit Rai director I - Pad

Today, Amit Rai is glad that the movie on the same subject has won the most coveted award but the joy is wrapped in a restrained remorse, he says, “ 6 year back, I was struggling hard to convince producers to make I – PAD...they said its gritty, dark & irrelevant. Today a documentary on the same subject produced by Gunit Guneet Monga PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE won an Oscar, feeling good and Happy!.

movie still from I - Pad
movie still from I - Pad

I – PAD may have been a disaster from day one, but it certainly deserved a release.

Guneet Monga at Oscars ceremony
Guneet Monga at Oscars ceremony

According to Guneet Monga, “ The efforts of the young girls from Oakwood school in LA to Kathikera in UP in helping us shatter the glass ceiling has paid the highest dividend. This has been more than 10 years of work of Action India run by Gauri Chaudhary on educating reproductive rights on the ground in many villages.”

PERIOD - END OF SENTENCE movie poster
PERIOD - END OF SENTENCE movie poster

Guneet Monga's PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE – the India-set film dealing with menstruation taboo, has won the Oscars for Best Documentary Short and it’s a huge step