Sugarcane barons entice women to undergo hysterectomy: Filmmaker Anant Mahadevan on his movie Bittersweet

Anant Mahadevan is man of many talents: He is a screenwriter, actor, has directed both Hindi and Marathi films, TV serials and also done theatre. This year is a double celebration for Anant Mahadevan. His film, 'Bitter sweet' will be screened at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival on October 25. Post this, Anant will begin shooting for his next, Satyajit Ray’s 'Storyteller' in Hindi with Naseeruddin Shah and Paresh Rawal. “Yes we are planning to start shooting in Feb/March to celebrate 100th anniversary of Satyajit Ray.”

While speaking about the title 'Bittersweet', Anant says, “Well it’s an ironical title. It's about the sugarcane industry in Maharashtra. While we associate sweetness with sugar, this is a bitter story. It's called 'Bittersweet' because as one of the richest industry in Maharasthra, one of the top exporters of sugar in the world, it is destroying the female sugarcane cutters. It's a dark script.”

About illicit practice highlighted in 'Bittersweet' he adds, “When women go through their menstrual cycle, they lose work and their salaries for those four days. There is a huge racket; the gynaecologist and sugarcane barons simply entice women to undergo hysterectomy. This is a sad commentary. Women have no option so they are convinced this is the only solution and can’t point fingers at the perpetrators. With this practice, human exploitation has gone for a toss. The film has a universal context, because in many international corporate companies, according to their work contracts, they have to undergo hysterectomy. While such things are done in a sophisticated manner in foreign countries, in India it’s done in a ruthlessly. The story is an emotional, biological and physical story of women all over the world. I pray and hope that God help us make India proud. We are able to put Indian cinema on world map.”

A still from the movie
A still from the movie

Citing example of having lived in a joint family where Anant's aunts and other female members were segregated during their menstrual periods is no longer practices in nuclear families. “Such protocols have been thrown out of the windows. But it’s sad that sugarcane cutting fields have worsened,” he adds.

Anant has high regards for women. “I have always considered women far more supreme. I don’t think they should be pushed to fight for their rights. They are more powerful in comparison to any other sex. This point needs to be made very clear,” he says.

Speaking candidly he says, “No male will agree he is foolish. They are living in a bubble. I feel whenever a woman carries a film on her shoulders she needs to be paid higher than a man. I salute women for they are better than men, I feel. Women are paid less all over the world. That’s the only way men can fuel their ego.”

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Free Press Journal