Dialogue, Screen and Stage with Aruna Raje

Cinema is a mirror, a sharp reflection of the society and the greatest actors are the WOMEN: Travelling back and forth in time.


The department of Journalism and Mass Communication and Centre for women studies, IIS (deemed to be University) in association with IDPA (Indian Documentary Producers’ Association, Mumbai) organized an online series of Dialogue, Screen & Stage on 26th June, 2021 via a live session on Zoom.

The keynote speaker for the session was an Eminent Cine Personality, Ms. Aruna Raje who is an Indian film Director, Writer and Editor born in Pune, Maharashtra. She is also an alumni of The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). Ms. Raje has received a Gold Medal in 1969 and became the first trained women technician in the industry with the experience of more than 50 years. She has also won five National Awards for her films.


Dr. Ruchi Goswami, Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication extended the welcome note to the guests and speaker of the session. After that the IDPA members such as Mr. Sanskar Desai, Mr. Ravindra Katyayn to name a few shared a few words of wisdom.

Mrs. Aruna Raje commenced the session by sharing her Cinematic journey, her experiences and what is her ideology about the Indian cinema and the way women are being portrayed on screen. She said that since the very beginning of the cinema, women have been always secondary to the hero.  Her role is charted out in the context of any male character which is central to the script. She is devoid of any independent existence and her journey throughout the film is explored in relation to the male character.

Statistics from the Geena Davis Institute on gender in media have shown that males get a screen time of 67 % and females of just 33 % which is just the half. She added that on top of that the ratio of women participating, directing, writing in the Indian cinema has gone down drastically because of the humungous challenges faced by women to survive in this industry such as body shaming, low space, low self esteem, nudity and domination by men.

To make the session more interesting she played several video clips depicting the timeline from the early 90’s  to the early 2000’s in order to quote examples of movies in which women and young girls have been performing such ‘characters’ which is the correct portrayal of women not only in the Indian cinema but also in the general society as well. Actresses such as Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Helen and Chandramukhi have been and will continue to be role models for women of this industry, as these were the women who were portrayed to be strong, independent and self respective.

Towards the end, in the conclusion she mentioned that cinema is the most transparent and a thought provoking medium which should be used to change the mindset in which women are perceived in the society. They are not merely a source of objectification rather films should be a positive portrayal of an independent leading lady who can stand up for herself.

The concluding note was presented by Dr. Ashok Gupta, the Chancellor, IIS (deemed to be University) wherein he thanked and extended his gratitude to Mrs. Aruna Raje and all the members who were a part of the session.   

In the end the session was declared open questions from the audience. After that the vote of thanks was presented by Dr. Shipra Mathur, Advisor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.