Paakhi Tyrewala, who wrote and directed the Sikkimese feature film "Pahuna: The Little Visitors", says she faced hiccups in the journey as people did not take women directors seriously even just a few years ago.
"'Pahuna...' is not a commercial film. Many people questioned me why I am not making the film in Hindi language and then things started coming out of nowhere that I am a woman director," Paakhi told IANS over phone.
"Three years ago, things were different. There were not many female directors. We (women directors) got discriminated in a lot of ways but now things have changed. Many women filmmakers are now coming out and have started receiving equal representation in the industry. But we still face many issues. Issue of pay gap still prevails in the industry," she added.
Produced by Priyanka Chopra Jonas and her mother Madhu Chopra under their Purple Pebble Pictures banner, and co-produced by the Children's Film Society, India (CFSI), "Pahuna..." released last year in India after getting premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2017.
The 90-minute long feature film, which revolves around children who get separated from their parents while fleeing to Sikkim to escape Maoist insurgency in their Nepal village, will now be screened for Syrian refugee children.
For the 34-year-old Paakhi, it's "a dream come true".
"I always wanted to do something for these kids (displaced children) but everything is being done by big organisations. Now, through my project ('Pahuna'), I will be able to reach to them. I want these kids to have a theatre experience. I hope my film brings joy on their face and gives them a ray of hope," she said.
Expressing concern about the lack of children's films in India, Paakhi said: "The idea of screening is to show 'Pahuna' to as many children as possible and then draw them into conversations. Sadly in India, very less films deal with children's issues.
"There are hardly any smart and intelligent children's films which evoke conversations. So right now, my focus is to make good children's films which talk about issues being faced by the youngsters," Paakhi added.