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Theatre actor Kalairani stuns in Tamil film B. Selvi and Daughters at New York Indian Film Festival!

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All we need is one opportunity and strong support from our loved ones at the right time to sail through all our problems and reach our destination. Not everyone gets that opportunity and not everyone reaches where he/she wants to reach. Especially women. They have missed that opportunity for ages and only God knows what all has the world missed because of this.

B. Selvi and Daughters is a film that shows what can happen if a woman gets an opportunity to explore her potential and achieve what she might have never thought of achieving in her life.

Written and directed by Drishya, a young filmmaker from Tamil Nadu,B. Selvi and Daughters follows a woman called B. Selvi (Kalairani) in her 50s who runs a small online handloom saree business and isn’t much satisfied with what she is doing. She is scared, nervous, and afraid to even go and step out of the house to open a simple bank account. Her daughter Kavi (Gayathrie Shankar), a young digital marketing professional living in Bangalore, is at home for Pongal.

Selvi’s husband is no longer with them and it is clear that both of them miss his presence. His framed photograph hangs on the wall and Selvi's one glance tells her she needs support at this stage of her life. All is not well with Selvi’s saree business too; her customers are not satisfied with her ‘inexperience’ and ‘not-on-time’ delivery. When her daughter sees these messages on her phone, she casually creates a page for her mother’s business on Facebook and runs a digital advertisement. While they are at her (B. Selvi’s) brother’s house, he debates why she needs to sell sarees and why can't Kavi quit her job and be with her mother to support her at home. Kavi argues that Selvi can run the business alone on her own online and there is no need for her to stop her online business. While he is still debating, Selvi’s phone starts buzzing. She is confused and gives her phone to Kavi. Kavi takes a look at the notifications and says,

‘It worked.’

Selvi’s phone is ringing with orders but she is afraid she won’t be able to do it. When Kavi tries to coax her, she says,

“I cannot do it.”

However, Kavi convinces her and though nervous, Selvi agrees. Next, we see them buying sarees, packing them with a few other women to help them in their house. Selvi goes to a courier office where she is told her packages cannot be delivered because of Pongal. Disappointed, she returns home and tells her daughter that it is difficult and it would have been better had they not accepted the orders. After a short argument, Kavita again motivates her and they successfully deliver the packages. Next, we see that Selvi’s house has turned into an office with several women busy taking orders, packing sarees, managing documents, answering enquiries. Her brother comes and is surprised at what scale B. Selvi is running her business now. When he asks her,

“But why now? At this age”,

she simply tells him that because she could not do it when she was younger.

“I can do it now. I’ve got the chance. I want to earn for myself and stand on my own two feet…I can take care of myself. I am confident enough.”

From the nervous, scared lady looking for support to a confident and independent businessperson, B. Selvi’s journey is beautifully captured within 25 minutes of the runtime and has also put across the message that all it takes for anyone to achieve and fulfill their dreams is one chance. Right from the opening scene, each frame and each word depict the cages we have put women in and how we have limited their actions and potentials for ages. Initially written as a feature, Drishya adapted it as as her concept matched with Her &Now campaign run by GIZ, an organisation working in the field of women empowerment and decided to make a short film instead. The film, produced by Tarana Reddy and Mathivanan Rajendran, has been screened across the country to women groups to inspire them and make them realise their potential.

Kalairani, a veteran theatre and film actor, has done an exceptional job as B. Selvi. With those familiar with her earlier work will be happy to see her in a new avatar as the central character in the film and it would be wonderful to see more of her on-screen after this short film. Gayathrie Shankar, like her character in the film, has successfully supported Kalairani in bringing out their chemistry as mother and daughter and also as the modern vocal independent woman. Drishyas's first attempt at filmmaking is commendable as it successfully shows us that it is not always necessary for it to be ‘Bhaskar and Sons’; it can be ‘B. Selvi & Daughters’ too.

The film is being screened on as a part of the New York Indian Film Festival.

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Writing Credits


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