Period. End of sentence, a documentary that tackles the stigma of menstruation pertaining in the rural areas of India has backed the Oscar for the Best Documentary Short Subject at the 91st Academy Awards. The film has been produced by Guneet Monga, directed by Rayka Zehtabchi and co-produced by Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment, which has backed award-winning films like The Lunchbox and Masaan.
While receiving the award, Zehtabchi serving as the cherry on cake said that she’s not crying because she is on her periods or anything but because she couldn’t believe that a film on menstruation had just won an Oscar! She also praised Monga for empowering women all over the world to fight for menstrual equality.
Dedicating the award to her school, Berton said that the project originated from the idea of her students in LA and people in India who wanted to make a “human rights difference”.
“I share this award with the Feminist Majority Foundation, the entire team and cast. I share this with the teachers and students around the worlds – a period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education,” she said.
The documentary is set in Hapur village in India where women are still fighting against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation. These women belong to that section of the society that doesn’t have access to sanitary pads, the lack of which causes health issues and as a result leads to girls dropping out of school. The film also delves upon the work of real life ‘Pad Man’ Arunachalam Muruganathan who contributed a lot in fighting against the stigma.
When a sanitary pad vending machine is installed in the village, women become capable of manufacturing and marketing their own pads, thus empowering their community. They have named their brand ‘fly’.
The documentary featuring the real ‘Pad Man’ was nominated along with Black Sheep, End Game, Lifeboat and A Night At The Garden.
“Started with a small dream in the English department room of @melissa_berton with her school girls of @oakwoodstories for empowering and educating other young girls across the world for better menstruation hygiene,” Monga posted on her Instagram account before the Oscars 2019.
The 26-minute film follows girls and women in Hapur in northern India and their experience with the installation of a pad machine in their village.
Megha Harsh serves as a content writer at The Ideaz Factory, an advertising agency in Chandigarh. She has been a student of English Journalism at the Indian Institute of mass communication. A writer by day and reader by night, she is loathe to discuss herself in third person. In addition to writing blogs, she also has interest in writing poems.