With blasphemy and the freedom to have a voice eating up space in the public discourse, musician and fearless feminist Sona Mohapatra’s documentary on herself is best labelled, ‘Timely’. Or even ‘Timeless’, as stifling a voice, and some would say especially that of a woman, will always be an ongoing debate.
Directed by Deepti Gupta, Sona the outspoken, married to fellow musician Ram Sampath who backs her as someone who excels at what she does, is like a river in full spate. Interspersed with her jabs at events like IIT’s Mood Indigo that don’t sign up women performers, Sona, like most feminists, looks at statements, events, and faiths through the gender lens, questioning, demanding, arguing for an equal stage. Every religion has its misogynistic streaks. In Hinduism too, women are more consorts. And Meera, known only as Krishna’s devotee or daasi, had her own overt sexuality. Says Sona, and you don’t have to agree with all that she spouts. You may not endorse her style of dressing in tentlike capes and sleeveless tops either.
But what you cannot help but agree with is her right to speak her mind and choose her own wardrobe.
That’s what makes Shut Up Sona relevant and important.
She has stirred organizations like Brotherhood Of Peace into demanding that she take down videos of her singing Sufi songs like ‘Tori Soorat’ dressed the way she is. Sleeveless and bhajans aren’t an ideal fit either. And so she riles everybody, singing what she pleases, saying what she thinks, wearing her style, and treading where women don’t traditionally venture. Like singing Aamir Khusrau at a shrine with male Sufi singers. All of it unapologetically and unabashedly. Add to it ‘unafraid’ and it would sum up this “serial offender”.
She hits back at Vishal Dadlani who’s somewhat patronizing and questions why she should be clubbed with Ram Sampath when ‘Sona Live’ is her personal identity. “I don’t need a Ram Sampath to validate my headliner status,” she stomps.
The singer who took on Salman Khan, called out Anu Malik and Kailash Kher, and also watched the men ultimately slip back into society unscathed while she herself was dropped from ‘SaRe Ga Ma’, is the eternal performer. Dramebaaz too, I guess.
But she’s compelling. Deepti winds up with statistics on the pathetically few songs recorded with female singers vis a vis male singers and has Sona in a boat surrounded by the statements of politicians and others across the board that demean women. It’s unignorable.
Tune in to Sona and her many voices – as a woman, as a performer, and enjoy the wonderfully uplifting music that’s credited to both Ram and her.
You can’t say, ‘Khamosh’ to this lady.
Watch Shut up Sona Trailer: