The scars of struggle of women through ages were highlighted at the book launch of Onaatah and film screening of the same at Bhasha Parishad, Kolkata on International Women's Day. Acclaimed scriptwriter Paulami DuttaGupta who is also the author of the book, (the novel version of the award winning movie) threw light upon a new perspective to look at books and movies as complimentary to each other.
Onataah is a book on rape and rehabilitation and it starts from the point where the popular Bollywood movie, Pink ends. Indrani Ganguly, editor of the book explained that the quality of the book lies in the fact that it is very simple and even though it is on society, it does not talk about activism and sloganeering. Onaatah is about how to turn ones scars into stars. Expressing her reason for co producing Onaatah, Vishakha Singh said, "Every voice is important and such voices will form a collective voice."
Paulami DuttaGupta, said that many people were not even aware of Meghalaya and she has often faced questions like, ‘Is Meghalaya located in Assam?’ and ‘Is Khasi an Assamese language?’ It is with this whole idea of wanting people to read about Khasi in books that she gave birth to Onaatah the novel. Another reason which she points out is the time-constraint. While the movie Onaatah was bound by time, she let her words explore the stories of people who joined Onaatah in her journey and painted them down in her book. Discussing about the favourite mode of expression between book and movie, Paulami DuttaGupta chose movie as her favourite and pointed out that the struggle with people from North-East is to get their films screened as most of the screens go to Bollywood movies.
Eminent actor, Jayant Kripalni expressing concern said that Bollywood has portrayed rape in a wrong way. Rape has been considered as something to watch and laugh about and Bollywood movies on rape carry a voyeuristic attitude. Upon being asked which would he prefer between a book and a movie, Jayant Kripalni expressed his love for books and confessed that he can’t sit for a two-and-half hours long movie himself.
The launch was followed by the screening of the film.
We would like to wish the author all the best for the book and also for the film.
About the Author
Paulami DuttaGupta is novelist and screenwriter. She shuttles between Kolkata and Shillong. She is an alumna of Loreto Convent Shillong and Jadavpur University.
She has worked as a radio artist, copywriter, journalist and a television analyst at various stages of life, having been associated with AIR Shillong, The Times of India – Guwahati-Shillong Plus, ETV Bangla, The Shillong Times, Akash Bangla and Sony Aath. Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies and literary magazines. Paulami also writes on politics, social issues, and cinema.
Her first film as screenwriter, Ri- Homeland of Uncertainty was awarded the National Award for the Best Khasi Film at the 61st National film awards. She is currently writing the screenplay of Iewduh, a Khasi film and working on a couple of short films. A research on a documentary is also keeping her busy these days.
A Thousand Unspoken Words is her fourth book and was published by Readomania. Onaatah – of the earth is an adaptation of the national award-winning film by the same name. Onaatah was awarded the Best Khasi Film at the 63rd National film awards. Her first short film is set for release in April.
She is a complete foodie and almost obsessed with watching one film every day. She also loves reading—political and social commentaries are her favourite genre. Literature classics and books on cricket are also a part of her library, apart from a huge collection of romances. Jane Austen’s fictional character Mr. Darcy is a lifelong companion. Also an ardent fan of Rahul Dravid she has been following all news about him for almost twenty years now.
She can be reached at www.paulamidutta.in and @ShillongGal