Kavya Prakash on VAANKU – Mythily Ramchandran interviews (Guest Post)

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Indian director Kavya Prakash opens her directorial career with Vaanku, about a young Muslim woman’s wish to lead the Islamic call for prayer, Adhan, generally done by men. When a young woman, Razia, expresses her wish to lead the prayer, it sets rolling a ripple effect in her family and society around.

Well known Malayalam author, Unni R’s short story Vaanku, published in 2018, narrates Razia’s journey as she seeks to find her voice on a spiritual journey. Unni’s story now comes alive onscreen with debutant director Kavya Prakash’s upcoming Malayalam film, Vaanku, releasing theatrically in Kerala (India) on January 29. em>Vaanku also marks the debut of Shabna Mohammed as screenwriter and actor. Anaswara Rajan plays the lead role of Razia.

Kavya, daughter of noted Indian filmmaker V K Prakash – two times Indian national awardee – speaks with Mythily Ramachandran on Vaanku and her journey into cinema. Continue reading on THE FEMALE GAZE.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).