Renowned screenplay writer and director Anjali Menon is not your regular film maker. She brings originality and a refreshing spin to her stories that resonate with young Malayalis. Now, this bold film-maker breaks conventional stereotyping again with an out-of-the-box initiative!
Referring to the Malayalam actress whose abduction and molestation recently took place in Ernakulam and had shaken the nation, Anjali Menon wrote on her blog, “I am a mute witness once again. For every such incident that is reported, thousands of violating moments remain unreported every day. How many girls have bitten back anger and tears even as they have been touched or commented upon in public spaces by strangers?”
The renowned director took to her blog and announced a new initiative that places the issue of safety into the hands of every family and school. With an aim to bring empowerment to girls and teach empathy to boys, Anjali Menon’s initiative links schools to schools and families to families.
In her blog post, she also hit out at the chauvinistic approach towards rising crimes against women and the lack of political win to bring any change. She spoke of how violation of one person by another has made every woman feel utterly helpless. She made a valid point about TV panel discussions and debate that worsen the narrative from a solution-oriented approach to a mud-slinging, publicity hungry stunt.
For those who don’t know Anjali Menon, here is a quick intro: Her films in Malayalam have opened to record-breaking box office collections. Several feature films she had directed found appreciation and were screened at international film festivals. Some of the movies that she had scripted – Ustaad Hotel and Bangalore Days – saw path breaking success at the box office. Her narratives broke through conventional formulas of story-telling.
Now Anjali Menon has switched roles a bit, she has taken the issue of women’s safety strongly to her heart and she has reached out to launch an out of the box initiative that puts safety squarely at the heart of Kerala’s educational and cultural ecosystem.
To be a part of this initiative, Anjali Menon has asked people to write to her at the email address given in her blog post. And yes, she nails it where she concludes by saying, “If we don’t find the courage now, we will remain among those cowards?”
Not just Anjali Menon, this initiative conveys that each of us can take some small initiative and do something constructive about co-creating a safe and empathetic society. Her initiative has a lesson for us and points to a way forward – it is practical too. For her initiative to become a success, it will require every family and school to come forward, volunteer to for it and endorse the objectives that it seeks to fulfil.
We can’t choose to be helpless spectators and then crib about no action being taken by the cops or the government. We are the main stakeholders – it is up to us to find some way to make safety a key issue in the locality or the place where we live. If each of us can link families and schools in our respective neighborhoods, imagine the change that will happen gradually in the society.
But this also means we will have to dedicate time and effort to it – which isn’t so unrealistic if you calculate the time that is wasted on mundane activities. Safety first – if that is our mantra for a better and safer society, the need of the hour is to prioritize and work towards it.
The unspoken question Anjali Menon doesn’t ask is this – are we such cowards that we are waiting for everyone else to make our safety their priority?