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Status of women in Russia and India is similar: Maria Danilyuk, Russian actress

Jan 06, 2017

According to Russian Actress Maria Daniluk women have not been as strong as men as they have been historically weaker.

Maria Danilyuk

New Delhi: Russian Actress Maria Danilyuk of About Love fame visited India in September 2016 as part of first the BRICS film festival in New Delhi to attend the showcasing of her film.

In an exclusive interview to Ashok Kumar of OneWorld South Asia, Danilyuk regretted that women fail to assert themselves because historically they have not been as strong as men. Excerpts from the interview:

OWSA: How do you look at the situation of women in Russia in comparison to that of Indian women?

Danilyuk: From history we know that women have not been as strong and brave as men. The situation or condition of women in Russia is similar to that of Indian women. I personally think that the role of women has evolved over the years and one can now notice progress for women.

OWSA: How do you think can cinema empower women?

Danilyuk: Events like the BRICS film festival could be really helpful in empowering women on a bigger platform. Through such fests women get an opportunity to see the situation of women in different countries and different geographical regions which can give the fair sex better ideas to chart out a development highway for the last mile women.

They can acknowledge different problems of the world and how they can best respond to such challenges if they happen to face them in their lives. Various cultures meet each other in such fests and throw light on the life and plight of women in the world. This acknowledgement will help women to take a step ahead and lead to their empowerment eventually.

OWSA: Can you highlight an instance from About Love that illustrates how financial weakness bereaves a woman of her individual choice?

Danilyuk: The movie director Anna Melikyan does not depict the story as a tragedy. But, sometimes in real life financial woes could turn out to be tragic for a woman.

One of the novels depicted in the movie About Love telling a story of a businessman and a woman is not about discrimination. It is about ideal love. This woman loves her boyfriend so much that she agrees to get into a physical relationship with this businessman.

The woman protagonist in the movie wants to marry her love interest but she is unable to do so or live with him because of lack of money. So, she sacrifices herself and forms a relationship with the businessman.

OneWorld South Asia: What is the central message from your movieAbout Love’?

Maria Danilyuk: The film director Anna Melikyan does not impose her own opinion. Anna, through this film shows life as it is, as it exists in reality. Anna Milikan does it bravely but with a great proportion of irony.

The audience after having watched the movie can make their own conclusions and shape their opinions about what is love. The film consists of several novels. Each novel is different from the others and depicting different sides of love.

For some this is a tragedy, but for others it is comedy and romance as well. The character I play in the movie is an example of sacrifices in love. It is a kind of ideal love. She loves her man so much that she is ready to share her love with another woman. So, this is the kind of sacrifice she makes for the sake of love.

OWSA: How do exchange of information through such fests help in women empowerment?

Danilyuk: This exchange of information broadens horizons about what women in other countries on what all they can do and what rights do they enjoy. It emboldens weaker strata of women to think that they can also fight for such rights and lead a better life.

The BRICS festival platform helps people to watch new films to meet new cultures. I watched an Indian film (Raam Reddy’s Kannada film Thithi) that inspired me so much and I really admire it. Therefore, it is great to know more about different cultures and other BRICS countries.

OWSA: What kind of response did you expect from the Indian audience for your movie?

Danilyuk: Initially, I was not sure if Indian audience will like the movie, but after the movie was screened, people were delighted to watch the movie.

Looking at the reaction of the Indian audience I feel that Indians are very cheerful and open about Russian movies.

(The interview was conducted with the help of an interpreter Ksenia Shirinskaya)

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