PadMan fame actor Urmila Mahanta’s international debut movie Beyond the Clouds, directed by reputed Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi, is all set to release this April.
The Beyond the Clouds is critically acclaimed director Majidi’s first India-set film where Mahanta, an actor from Assam, plays the role of a nurse.
Basking in the glory of PadMan’s success, actor Mahanta expressed, “I am really happy to see the overwhelming response from people regarding PadMan. Cinema should not be seen just as entertainment. This movie especially talks about the importance of menstrual health and hygiene. I feel lucky to be associated with this film.”
Many organisations and individuals in Guwahati and across Assam have distributed free sanitary napkins during the release week of PadMan. The movie was also screened for free in some of the theatres in the city.
Speaking to Northeast Now about the taboo regarding menstruation, Mahanta said, “The change would not happen overnight. With rising awareness, people need to internalise the change.”
An alumna of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, Mahanta has so far acted in Tamil, Hindi, Bengali and Assamese films.
Expressing her experience of working with Majidi, Mahanta said, “It was an experience of a lifetime to work with Majid Majidi. Since my FTII days, I used to admire his work. I had never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be working with him. It was very memorable.”
Further, she has a Malayalam film and a few Assamese films lined up as well.
Stating that there is need of more cinema halls and also a film policy in Assam, Mahanta said, “It becomes really difficult to get proper slots for Assamese films. For instance, in Maharashtra, the prime time slot is always reserved for Marathi films. While in Assam, the cinema halls do not give much preference to regional films.”
“There is a need to cultivate a culture of film appreciation so that more people go and watch films in the cinema halls. It is only through the joint efforts of the government, filmmakers and the audience that there can be a change,” Mahanta added.