Indian documentary 'Period. End of Sentence' wins Oscar at 91st Academy Awards

Monga's documentary traces the silent revolution in Uttar Pradesh, led by women of Hapur tehsil which is situated just east of New Delhi.

Indian documentary 'Period. End of Sentence' wins Oscar at 91st Academy Awards Indian documentary 'Period. End of Sentence' wins Oscar at 91st Academy Awards Source : Press


The 81-second trailer of 'Period. End of Sentence' deftly captures how the subject of menstruation is, even today, considered taboo in rural India. A secret which women keep among themselves and men are for once, not interfering. In the documentary, when school going boys are asked what ‘Periods' are, they burst into a shy, innocuous smile and say that they know about the ‘class periods.' In that part of India, women haven't heard of sanitary pads and they continue to use spare clothes. It is followed by a shot of young boys running past dirty, used clothes in the dump.

Guneet Monga is the executive producer of Period. End of Sentence which won the Best Documentary Short Subject at 91st Academy Awards. Monga's documentary highlights the stigma which still surrounds menstruation in many parts of India. To categorize this issue as one of ‘rural India' would mean overlooking the real problem which also persists in urban sections.

Monga tweeted after the academy announced the winner, "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."

In her acceptance speech, the director, Rayka Zehtabchi, an Iranian-American filmmaker said "I'm not crying because I'm on my period or anything. I can't believe a film on menstruation won an Oscar."

Monga's documentary traces the silent revolution in Uttar Pradesh, led by women of Hapur tehsil which is situated just east of New Delhi. The women are challenging the regressive notions towards menstruation which are rooted deep in the culture and psyche of the society they are themselves a part of. Before they look for solutions to practical issues of health and girls dropping out from school for lack of sanitary pads, they first had to confront the questions that remained within. Rayka brings out the experiences of women as they install the pad machine in the village.

"FLY" is the name these women give to their brand where they manufacture sanitary pad vending machine. They install the machine in their village and handle the marketing too.

Other nominations were Black Sheep, End Game, Lifeboat and A Night At The Garden but Period came on top. From the English department room to the Oscars red carpet, the journey started as a small dream to "empower and educate young girls across the world for better menstrual hygiene," Monga posted on her Instagram account before the Oscars 2019.

Monga described his journey which started seven years ago "with raising money and donating one pad machine... then thought the team should make a movie for better awareness. Action India from India helped on ground in putting a machine. Rayka Zehtabchi and Sam Davis captured all of this so beautifully with Mandakini Kakar producing for Sikhya Entertainment."

The students at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles and their teacher, Melissa Berton started The Pad Project and the documentary became a part of it. Berton said "I share this award with the Feminist Majority Foundation, the entire team and cast. I share this with the teachers and students around the world - a period should end a sentence, not a girl's education," Indeed. Period. End of Sentence is a stop forward toward ending the stigma and continuing the conversation.


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