Set in India, a documentary about menstrual hygiene has just won an Oscar

‘Do you know what a period is?’ The trailer for Period. End of Sentence begins with different people—adolescent girls who giggle, teenage boys who get embarrassed and old women who dodge the question—trying to wrap their head around this deceptively simple question. Dealing with menstrual hygiene and the stigma around it, the documentary (set in a village near Delhi) has just won the Oscar for ‘Best Documentary (Short Subject)’.

Directed by Iranian-American filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi, the documentary explores the experiences of rural women, as they try and manage their periods after a low-cost sanitary manufacturing unit is installed in the village. The machine was invented by social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham, who’s a household name today, courtesy the Akshay Kumar film, Padman, that was based on his story. 

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Guneet Monga is the executive producer of Period. End of Sentence, and her firm Sikhya Entertainment, has co-produced it. Monga has also supported other critically-acclaimed Indian films such as The Lunchbox and Massan. “Thank you to the Academy for the highest honour and for recognising the efforts of the young girls from Oakwood school in LA to Kathikera in UP in helping us shatter the glass ceiling. Periods are normal and in no way do they stops us from achieving anything… Every girl in India or anywhere around the world needs to know this and hear this loud and clear. Period is an end of a sentence but not a girl’s education… Here is to more girl power… I really want every girl to know that each one of them is a goddess. Now, that we have an Oscar, let’s go change the world,” Monga said in a statement.

period poster

The other nominations in the Best Documentary category included Black Sheep, End Game, Lifeboat and A Night At The Garden. The 91st Academy Awards were held in Los Angeles, on February 24.

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