India got its moment at the 91st Academy Awards, with Period. End of Sentence, a film on menstruation, won the Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject category.
Set in rural India, the film directed by award-winning filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi and produced by Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment was part of The Pad Project, started by students at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles and their teacher, Melissa Berton.
“I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything. I can’t believe a film on menstruation won an Oscar,” Zehtabchi said in her acceptance speech.
Addressing Monga, she said: “Guneet Monga – know that you have been empowering women all over the world fight for menstrual equality.”
Zehtabchi dedicated the award to Berton, and said the project was made possible because her students in LA and people in India wanted to make a human rights difference .
“I share this award with the Feminist Majority Foundation, the entire team and cast. I share this with the teachers and students around the worlds – a period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education,” she said.
Taking to Twitter, an excited Monga posted: “WE WON!!! To every girl on this earth… know that you are a goddess… if heavens are listening… look MA we put @sikhya on the map.”
WE WON!!! To every girl on this earth… know that you are a goddess… if heavens are listening… look MA we put @sikhya on the map ❤️
— Guneet Monga (@guneetm) February 25, 2019
Set in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, the documentary is about women who lead a quiet revolution as they fight against the stigma of menstruation. For generations, these women had not been given access to sanitary pads. As a result, many girls had to drop out of schools, while others developed issues with their health.
The film shows how life changed after a sanitary pad vending machine is installed in the village. The women start manufacturing and marketing their own pads, naming their brand FLY.
Other nominees int he documentary shorts category were “Black Sheep”, “End Game”, “Lifeboat” and “A Night at the Garden”.
The last time Indians shone at the Oscars was a decade ago when AR Rahman and sound engineer Resul Pookutty won the Academy Awards for “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2009.