Interview by Mahafreed Irani for DNA India.
Jeroo Mulla is the head of department of Social Communications Media at Sophia Polytechnic. She has taught film appreciation for the last 24 years.
She also served on the Film Censor Board of India as an Advisory Panel Member from 1987-90. DNA spoke to her on the eve of Sophia Polytechnic’s SCM Film Festival
Was it easy for women to be media professionals earlier?
I remember persuading young women about the importance of a good education and being independent, but that was 27 years ago. Women didn’t want to be part of the media because it wasn’t easy. I was a film editor earlier and remember how non-woman-friendly the environment was. There were no bathrooms for women so I used the men’s loo.
Now the social ethos has changed radically. My students are photographers, editors and cinematographers. They aren’t scared of technology.
Do your students really care about the environment and social causes?
I hope they do. My students are socially-inclined. Through the SCM course, they are exposed to the underbelly of India which remains ignored.
Why should people come to view the films at the festival?
The films are inspiring. They tell you stories about people who have made a difference. One film tells the story of three muslim women and their fight, against all odds, to get an education. Another film showcases the story of the Child Toy Foundation, which is a toy library for poor and deprived children.
These films will inspire people to make positive changes in their own fields. You don’t have to work with an NGO to make a difference. My students, for example are bringing about change in the media by giving a voice to the voiceless.