I'm a filmmaker, gender-neutral: Daria Gaikalova

Gender inequality is but one of the many issues that tug at her heartstrings.

Thiruvananthapuram; One of the movies premiered at IFFK, Three and a Half, is by a director named Dar Gai--an articulate young woman born Daria Gaikalova. “It is my stage name. I chose it because I don't want people to think that the film is made by a Ukrainian or a woman,” she says. There are also other reasons than just the desire not to be pigeonholed as a woman filmmaker. “Instead of taking my audience directly to the film, as a woman director, I would be disassociating them from their viewing experience in which they connect with the characters. They would be thinking about the creators. Then they would not be focusing on the film itself,” she says.

When she dons the hat of a director, she neither feels like a woman, nor is perceived as one. “On the set, I feel like a filmmaker, not a woman, nor a man. My assistant directors don’t think of me as a woman filmmaker. Once, at an after-film party, they looked surprised seeing me in gown and heels, as if I am a man walking in a dress. When it comes down to work, I don’t believe in gender,” she says.

It is not that she did not have to face discrimination as a woman. People would judge her based on her age, gender and appearance before they would even agree to talk about her work. She remembers an advertisement which called for a female assistant director. “When I reached them, they were talking about how I need to work really close with the director, emphasizing on ‘really close,’” she says.

She does not write thinking that a woman will be able to relate to it. But the project that she is pursuing next is about women who are branded as witches and killed in India. “I choose the subjects I can relate to. When I got to know about the witch- hunt, it shattered me. I felt this story has to be told. I am a director, not a woman director, though I may want to tell the stories of people who are suffering from gender issues,” she says. Gender inequality is but one of the many issues that tug at her heartstrings. “Witch-hunt happens in villages where people would be using mobile phones to watch Bhojpuri song videos. We are living in scary, interesting times,” she says.

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( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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