Director Ajitesh Sharma's documentary "W.O.M.B" (Women Of My Billion) will open the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) 2021 on August 12.
It is a story of a young woman named Srishti Bakshi who embarks on a journey, walking almost 4,000 kilometres over 240 days, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, along the way meeting and learning first-hand about the experiences of women in all corners of India.
The documentary explores the social and political issues faced by women of today's India.
Said Bakshi: "Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, and since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the world locking down to live within four walls, emerging data and reports from those on the frontlines have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has only intensified. In this documentary we have celebrated ordinary women who've shown extraordinary courage to rise above their limitations and challenge deeply entrenched gender norms. We did this to unite the majority because what we discovered was that gender-based violence is a crime perpetrated by the minority but perpetuated by the silence of the majority."
Producer Apoorva Bakshi added: "We take great pride in presenting our film at IFFM as the opening night gala presentation and look forward to sharing it with audiences worldwide. This documentary not only presents facts but also highlights possible solutions which can be implemented today."
Mitu Bhowmick Lange, IFFM Director, said: "After the unprecedented challenges faced over the last 18 months, we are excited to bring the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne back to the big screen, while our digital platform will ensure viewers around Australia can access the Festival too. In 2021, IFFM pays tribute to not only the best of Indian cinema, but to many of our Covid-19 heroes, offering vital community support, connection and hope in these troubled times."
IFFM this year will take place both physically and virtually, with the physical festival running from August 12 to August 20 and the digital edition running from August 15 to August 30.