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The Short Film ‘Devi’ Deals With Nine Oppressed Women Sharing Stories And It Looks Very Raw And Real

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“A picture is worth a thousand words”, is an old English saying which tells tales of the power of one glimpse at something. Just look at some of the most famous photographs taken in history, they all recite their stories with clarity. This stands true for the  debutante Priyanka Banerjee’s short film Devi. This project consists of an ensemble cast of nine women, sharing a common space and recounting stories of their oppression to each other. The shot cuts a fascinating image of these women staring down the camera, the sartorial elements giving us an idea of what we can expect to see.

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Made for the popular Youtube platform Large Short Films, the film stars Kajol Devgan, Shruti Hassan, Neha Dhupia, Neena Kulkarni, Mukta Barve, Sandhya Mhatre, Rama Joshi, Shivani Raghuvanshi, and Yashaswini Dayama. Shot over a duration of two days, we can see where the intensity in these women’s expressions come from. We have Kajol in a simple cotton saree channeling an Indian housewife whose been through domestic struggles. We have Hassan playing the part of the quintessential party girl, a stereotypical mold our society tends to put any young woman in heels. We also see Neha Dhupia in a pantsuit, the weathered professional who has been fighting the fight for equality at the workplace. We love how Priyanka has chosen the costume for these women, they are literally wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

Talking about the film, Hassan commented, “I loved the concept of the film when I heard it. We often talk about sisterhood and how women need to stand with each other. Devi highlights that aspect in such a lovely way, with such a powerful message. It’s disturbingly poignant and that’s why I knew I had to be part of it”.

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What can also be described as Kajol’s renaissance, the actress has been picking her projects carefully. Coming off the high of a successful run with Tanhaji, it refreshing to see that she’ll pick an online short film as her next platform for artistic expression.

Talking about her part in the project, Kajol commented, “I couldn’t have chosen a better subject than Devi for my first short film. It’s a powerful statement, written very well by Priyanka. It’s a poignant film, one that needs to be shared with the world, especially today. My character, Jyoti, is vastly different from me in many ways, but uncannily we share a lot too. In today’s times when gender discrimination, abuse, and violence is being spoken about vociferously, films like Devi are far more relevant and I am glad to have got the opportunity to participate”, she elaborated.

The increasing number of female directors, producers, and writers in the country have indeed blessed us with stories of a brand new perspective away from the male gaze. We are also seeing a growing trend of popular actresses taking to formats other than the big screen to be part of these stories, which also give them reach and more to work with than the traditional feature films. This makes us want to pick up a camera and start telling our own stories, there’s honestly no stopping anymore. There is a need for a strong female voice in entertainment, it is high time now!

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