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Period. End of Sentence: Oscars is the Biggest Validation You Can Get in the Film Industry, Says Guneet Monga

Period. End of Sentence: Oscars is the Biggest Validation You Can Get in the Film Industry, Says Guneet Monga

Before flying to LA to attend the Academy Awards, producer Guneet Monga spoke about the Oscar-nominated documentary film ‘Period. End of Sentence’.

India’s only connect at the Oscars this year, to be held this Sunday, is a 25-minute documentary shot in UP’s Hapur district, about a group of women that start a sanitary pad business to improve feminine hygiene and de-stigmatise menstruation. Period. End of Sentence captures the struggle of women in rural India, some of whom do not even know what a sanitary napkin is, let alone use it.

Guneet Monga, who has films like The Lunchbox and Masaan to her credit, has been an executive producer on the film, helping the team shoot in India. She tells us that the idea of making this documentary on menstrual taboos in India generated at a school in America.

“A bunch of students in Oakwood School, 12-14 year-old girls, had the idea of making this film. They did a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter. One of their mothers, Stacey Sher, who is my mentor and has also produced some Tarantino movies, got in touch with me,” says Guneet.

Her production house Sikhya Entertainment, in association with Action India, facilitated the process of filming in Hapur. “When the film’s director, Rayka Zehtabchi, came to India, she had our production team and Action India to help her shoot.”

Rayka is an Iranian-American film director based in Los Angeles who has helmed Period. End of Sentence. The documentary also features the real PadMan, Arunachalam Muruganantham.

The film has won accolades in India and abroad, doing the rounds of festivals like the Tribeca and AFI (American Film Institute). Guneet says that one of the major factors that puts a film on the Oscars radar is the number of awards it wins at festivals.

“Landing an Oscar nomination isn’t easy. It’s not just about making a good film. The nominations are an organic process, but the shortlisting depends on a number of factors, like how many awards has your film won in the past year, why it should be in the top 10. Once it’s in the top 10, then the documentary department at the Academy votes to select the top 5. Making your film visible in the festival circuit puts it on the map. The more press you generate and awards you win, the better it is for the film,” she says.

The film is in the top 5 in the Documentary Short Category, and will be competing with other films like Black Sheep, End Game, Lifeboat and A Night at the Garden.

Guneet is no stranger to global adulation, having collaborated with foreign production houses on multiple projects. But the Oscar nomination is a different high altogether.

“It is definitely the biggest validation one can get in the industry. The biggest and the most prestigious. The nomination validates your craft, assures you that you have done good work, so good that it is being praised all over the world,” she says.

“It also puts the issue of menstrual taboos up front. A lot more people will be able to see it, now that it’s on a global platform like Netflix. I hope more people see it and give donations to The Pad Project which wants to install more pad machines in rural areas.”

With the Oscar nomination, and Netflix buying the film at a good remittance, it is indeed celebration time for Guneet and everyone associated with Period. End of Sentence. “Some of the women in the film are going to America with us to celebrate the film, and hopefully attend the Oscar ceremony, if we get enough tickets. But there will be a celebration for sure.”

Here’s hoping that the team returns with a trophy in hand.