To exclude, to expel! In conversation with Sonya Kapoor, who talks about her short film Ek Chup and its message

As the world of cinema and storytelling continues to evolve, it’s paramount that we tell stories that matter. Moving forward with faith and that belief is Sonya Kapoor with the short film Ek Chup, deftly narrates the story of what has come to be known as the pandemic of darkness. She addresses the significance of the pandemic of darkness, the subject of her short film lurking in the shadows, and why people need to know about its existence. In an exclusive conversation with the director, we dig deeper into what prompted them to cover the subject. Excerpt….

Sonya Kapoor

SonyaWhat prompted you to bring up such a sensitive topic as domestic violence?

So while the lockdown is going on, I’ve been hearing a lot of what’s happening all around us. It happened where we were. I don’t want to name the places, but a lot of friends and their friends, and when this happens, the most disturbing thing is that this is not an Indian phenomenon. It’s happened all over the world, it’s happening. It is a global phenomenon. UN Women calls it a shadow pandemic. It’s a pandemic within a pandemic. So it became very important to me and it was like a thought came to me and I wanted to write something about it. So it came to me, and I wrote it down, and I think it’s very important because as conversation starters, we need to do something about this. Because this is not just local abuse, this is not the same as just, yes and no. It used to be there, but during the covid lockdown, it really escalated. And covid is not over, lockdown is over but covid is not over yet. And what is different here is not the story of the lower economic class. Where do you usually see maids or drivers eating this and you say acha ho raha hai. But it doesn’t happen to them alone. It is happening in our own homes. And here people still do not want to talk about because the stain is too big, the scandal is too big.

Do you think we have grown in recent times in any way regarding this taboo?

I don’t know, I still hear the same stories. I don’t think people, girls are doing anything about it. Even after the movie was shot, I had interactions with a few people, they were friends, and it’s still ongoing. They were silent. They stayed silent, despite asking them to do something about it.

What made you choose Mona Singh for this role?

She is the obvious choice. Mona is a great actress. And whenever I rewrite my script, I can only see Mona. It is so, and the personality that she brings. She doesn’t overdo it, she’s very subtle. She lives the character. We all know the history of the work she did. I was very happy, and as soon as we introduced it to her, she agreed. It was instant, and when we met again, there was only one connection. We are like yeh karna hai. She is a thinking actress. It can be seen that she is very smart and that she knows what she is talking about and that you are serious.

Sonya Kapoor

Darlings sheds light on the dangers of domestic abuse – do you feel there will be a comparison between Ek Chup and the same?

Well, if compared, I’m happy. Darlings is a feature film, and this is a short film. It’s good now. But I just want to make it clear that it’s different because A, it’s domestic abuse during a pandemic. It’s a shadow pandemic. As for B, that movie focuses on the lower economic class, ours is the higher income. Anything is equally important. I’m not saying one is better than the other, both are equally important. And I think what happens is, the higher economic classes are ignored because everybody thinks that’s this La-La Life, they’re doing great, everything’s great. It is not true. There’s something else ahead, and what’s happening in your bedroom is a whole different story.

As a writer, Sonya – how difficult it is for you to write and tell a story in just 15 minutes without affecting the severity of domestic violence

You know when I wrote it, it came together really well. And I think the idea is not preaching. The idea is to entertain. But at the same time, if it inspires someone to change their life, I think that’s awesome. I also feel that as a feature film, it will last. So I think the movie for this story, the timeline, duration and duration of a short film is perfect.


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