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IFFI: Any attempt to talk about patriarchy within religion is often dismissed, says Farha Khatun

The filmmaker addressed a press conference following the screening of her documentary Holy Rights.

Photo: Courtesy PIB

Our Correspondent

The documentary Holy Rights, directed by Farha Khatun, examines the journey of a religious Muslim woman from Bhopal, who joins a programme to train women to become qazis, clerics who interpret and administer the personal law. A traditionally male bastion, the documentary follows her as she unearths tensions that arise when women try to change the status quo. Holy Rights looks at the exploitation faced by women in every walk of life, while focusing on triple talaq. The film was screened at the ongoing 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.

“Holy Rights documents the movement against triple talaq, it portrays Muslim women’s struggles to break free of patronising voices within the community as well as resist external forces against appropriating their movement to suit their own political agenda. Though the film talks about the Muslim community in particular, I believe it's an all-pervasive one, on the problem of exploitation of powers of women. It also gives a message that all of us can achieve something if we want to,” said Khatun, who was speaking at a press conference at the festival.

Used to wonder if the Quran is really gender-biased, says Farha Khatun on the quest that led to Holy Rights

The filmmaker looked back upon influences that shaped her during her childhood and the experiences that led to the creation of the film. She said, “I was quite aware of triple talaq since childhood. I have seen and heard many heart-wrenching stories about it. They really affected and influenced me. My quest to know more about the act and its interpretation in the Quran led me to make a film on Safia, a woman qazi.”

She added, “The subject was selected since, at the time of making of the movie, there was unrest prevailing in the country over the triple talaq issue. Any attempt to talk about patriarchy within religion is often dismissed.”

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