International Women's Day 2022: Filmmaker Radhika Lavu on breaking stereotypes

In a filmmaking community dominated by males, women leaders were rare and their role in films was framed around the concept of stereotypes. But over the last two decades there has been a change at various levels. One of the individuals who is part of this change is Radhika Lavu, Founder & MD, Ellanar Films.

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In a filmmaking community dominated by males, women leaders were rare and their role in films was framed around the concept of stereotypes. But over the last two decades there has been a change at various levels. One of the individuals who is part of this change is Radhika Lavu, Founder & MD, Ellanar Films. Her latest project was a six-part philosophical drama titled Unheard, which was released on Disney Hotstar last year.

Radhika Lavu
Radhika Lavu

Unheard makes us see myriad socio-political angles of pre-independence India from 1900s to 1947 through the lens of the Hyderabadi people. A perspective which has mostly been relegated to the shadows of Indian media, the series makes us witness the freedom struggle through the eyes of Hyderabad.

A B.A in Mass Communication from St Francis College, Hyderabad and an MA in Film Making from Goldsmiths College (University of London), Lavu started off her filmmaking career by creating over 50 documentaries for the State Government of Andhra Pradesh and advertisements for several brands. After dabbling in freelance filmmaking, she set up the Hyderabad based Ellanar Films in 2015. The first period drama which Ellanar had produced was Gods of Dharmapuri, a fast-paced gangster drama which turned out to be a successful OTT venture that is one of the most streamed Telugu originals on Zee5.

Post Gods of Dharmapuri, Lavu wanted to venture into something more philosophical, which compels one to think and reflect, which is why she opted for Unheard.

For Lavu, Women's Day is an opportunity to highlight the conditions and changes in the core dynamics of India's gender discrimination and a time to celebrate the global empowerment of women. "It reminds us to acknowledge the achievements of women around the world while taking a realistic look at how far we have come and how what the journey ahead holds for us," she says.

"The film industry now is a robust ecosystem of fierce women dreamers and achievers who are writing the new history. They have successfully proven themselves in every role. From producers, writers, and directors to strong lead actors, the women of today are revolutionizing the global concepts of the capabilities of women," says Lavu.

As a woman entrepreneur, Lavu has always strived to find ways to highlight and tell stories from female perspectives. Although maintaining a work-life balance can be difficult at times, it is only a matter of time management according to Lavu.

Going ahead, Ellanar has several out-of-the-box projects that Lavu is tight lipped about, but surely promises they shall be as unexpected like its previous productions.