Filmmaker Oorvazi Irani’s short film, Anahita’s Law, raises pertinent questions on caste, and gender-based stereotyping
AFTER HER full-length feature film, The Path of Zarathustra, in 2015, Oorvazi Irani is back with a short film that raises pertinent questions on caste and gender discrimination, while exploring the identity of a woman. The 43-year-old Parsi filmmaker who produced, directed and also acted in her short film Anahita’s Law, spoke with Indulge about the film being a personal project, on exploring the format of web series in the near future, and more.
“It was the debate around the Uniform Civil Code that inspired me to make Anahita’s Law,” explains Oorvazi. I saw it through the prism of my Parsi community, and through gender, and gender equality,” says the Mumbai-based artiste, whose 21-minute film is about three Parsi women who have lived through, suffered and over-come the prejudices of biased traditions in the society.
With a screenplay by Farrukh Dhondy, the story is played out as a monologue, and follows a minimalist cinema tradition. Talking about Dhondy, who also wrote the screenplay for her last film, Oorvazi explains, “He brought a great wealth of wisdom with him. Apart from being a Parsi himself, he was keen on understanding the subject, and also lent it a universal meaning. It was also interesting to have a man writing the screenplay for a film that deals passionately with issues of women.”
Apart from directing and producing the film, Oorvazi donned the role of an actor as well this time. “My involvement with the film became even more complete with acting. The area is not very new to me, as I have been teaching the Michael Chekhov format of acting for a decade now. In fact, it further stimulated me as an artiste,” explains Oorvazi, who is also a full-time faculty member at Whistling Woods International. She adds that this film, for her, was a personal journey. She also informs us that out of the three roles, she enjoys direction most.
The challenge of securing funds for a non-commercial short film like Anahita’s Law kept Oorvazi on her toes. She recalls, “I had a clear vision for the film and my dad, Sorab Irani, being from the industry, was a strong support for me. But funding was a task. I had to go out, approach people and attract them to the project.” Talking about the format of the film, Oorvazi shares, “At times, every idea takes its own form. That is what happened with Anahita. It took shape in the form of a shor t film, and not as a full-length feature film. I wanted it to be minimalist, with monologues.”
Apart from exploring new challenges and artistic spaces, Oorvazi is now also looking to work on a new web platform. Anahita’s Law premiered in Mumbai last week, and can be streamed online.