MELBOURNE, 23 June 2022: Sona Mohapatra is a popular singer, cinematographer, and fighter cruising in a man’s world. Her intimate and unapologetic documentary ‘Shut Up Sona’ is hitting the global screens on Friday, 1st July on ZEE5 Global. The Indian award-winning documentary directed by Deepti Gupta and produced by Sona Mohapatra follows the story of the singer as she takes on blatant misogyny on social media, tirelessly fights for equal representation of women in the music industry, and stands up to all those who try to police her body, her mind, and her creativity.
‘Shut Up Sona’ has traveled to multiple film festivals across the world and won an Indian Award for editing in 2021, a Film Critics Guild Award Special Mention at MAMI, Impact Docs Award US, Best Documentary Award IndieMeme, and the Best Documentary Award at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne in 2021.
Shot intimately by Deepti herself, one of the few female cinematographers in the industry, the documentary is structured around a legal notice accusing Sona of blasphemy only because she sang devotional lyrics while being dressed ‘obscenely’. Various discussions with her husband Ram Sampath follow because this is not the first time Sona has been targeted for her clothes and her choices.
From being called the family’s black sheep to being asked to shut up on Twitter and being shut out from music festivals, Sona has faced disapproval and judgment all her life. The documentary however is also a celebration of her indomitable spirit as she continues to speak her mind and sing against all odds.
Sona Mohapatra says, “As a woman, I’ve been told where the lines are all my life. The lines I cannot cross: don’t sing loudly, don’t voice your opinion, don’t shout back at bullies, don’t ‘misbehave’. As a singer, artist, performer & producer, I’ve been making my way in a man’s world & the rules are skewed in their favor. I’ve been told to ‘shut up’ for bringing this up. This film is my response to those dictats, those affronts.
This film also gives space to the female gaze and showcases an artist, me & my music in all her unfiltered, raw glory. This is also a film about my passion for truth-seeking through my art, about the conflict between the medieval and the new, between stagnation and change, and about our right to exist with voices that are loud, fearless, and yes, impolite.”
About her experience of directing, ‘Shut Up Sona,’ Deepti says, “This film is not just about my friend Sona but about a woman whose relentless pursuit for equality has resulted in an inspiring journey which is part protest and part music. A woman who has been told to not take up so much space in public discourse, to back down, stick to music, cover-up, but mostly, to ‘shut up’. Sona shows by example that all women can stand their ground no matter how hard they are pushed back.
As one of the first female cinematographers in India working in a male-dominated profession, I relate with Sona’s story on so many levels and am sure, a lot of other women will too as they deal with millennia of patriarchy at every step, every single day.”