Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Centre for Media and Cultural Studies


DVCAM, 55 mins, Tamil with English subtitles, 2005

Directed by Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar


SheWrite Poster


SheWrite weaves together the narratives and work of four Tamil women poets. Salma negotiates subversive expression within the tightly circumscribed space allotted to a woman in the small town of Thuvarankurichi. She is able to defy and transcend family proscriptions on writing to become a significant voice questioning patriarchal mores in a powerful yet gentle way. For Kuttirevathi, a Siddha doctor and researcher based in Chennai, solitude is a crucial creative space from where her work resonates, speaking not just for herself but also for other women who are struggling to find a voice. Her anthology entitled Breasts (2003) became a controversial work that elicited hate mail, obscene calls and threats. The fact that a number of women poets are resisting patriarchy and exploring themes such as desire and sexuality in their creative work been virulently opposed by some Tamil film lyricists, who have gone on record with threats of death and violence. In various ways, the dominant culture has tried to threaten and rubbish the poets and their work. This has been resisted by a group of poets and other artists who have formed an organization called Anangu (Woman), which is attempting to expand the subversive creative spaces available to women writers and poets, across Tamil Nadu. Malathy Maitri, who lives in Pondicherry, has been a Dalit and Marxist activist. She is a founder member of Anangu and militantly opposes the attacks on women writers. Her poems attempt to explore and express feminine power. Sukirtharani, a schoolteacher in Lalapet, writes of desire and longing, celebrating the body in a way that affirms feminine empowerment and a rejection of male-centred discourse. The film traverses these diverse modes of resistance, through images and sounds that evoke the universal experiences of pain, anger, desire and transcendence.

CINEMA. The filming of poetry. S. THEODORE BASKARAN ... SheWrite, colour, 55 minutes, Tamil/ English.
www.thehindu.com/lr/2006/01/01/stories/2006010100080200.htm - 26k



Best documentary, IV Festival Internacional del Documental Tres Continentes (IV Three Continents International Documentary Festival, Venezuela 2005


Indian Documentary Producers Association 2005:  The First Technical Award for Sound Design and the Second Technical Award for Cinematography


Festival Selection:

12th  Festival Internazionale Cinema Delle Donne (12th International Women’s Film Festival), Turin, 2005

Film South Asia, Kathmandu 2005

Platforma 2005, Athens

Karafilm Festival2005, Karachi, Pakistan

Madurai Film Festival 2005, Madurai, India

Ethnographic Film Festival of Montreal, Canada



Poster of ‘SheWrite’


Poetry Translation, Narration and Interviews

Pritham Chakravarthy
Interview Translation

Shanti Nakkeeran


Music Composed and Arranged by

S.L. Vaidyanathan

Assisted by

L. V. Ganesan

Digitally Recorded at

Muthu Digi Media

Audio Engineers

L. V. Ganesan

S. Chandramohan


Editing, Audio Mixing and Subtitles

K.P. Jayasankar

Anjali Monteiro


Location Sound

Elangovan R.


Camera and Graphics

K. P. Jayasankar


Script and Direction

Anjali Monteiro

K. P. Jayasankar


Produced by

Centre for Media and Cultural Studies

Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Mumbai 400 088, India

Telephone: +91 22 25563290 Fax: +91 22 2556 2912
E-mail: cmcs.tiss [
AT]vsnl.com URL: www.tiss.edu/cmcs



About the Directors

Anjali Monteiro is Professor, and K.P. Jayasankar is Professor and Chair,  Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Monteiro has a Masters degree in Economics and a Ph.D. in Sociology. Jayasankar has an M.A. in German language and a Ph.D. in Humanities and Social Sciences from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Both of them are involved in media production, teaching and research. Jointly they have won thirteen national and international awards for their videos. These include the Prix Futura Berlin 1995 Asia Prize for Identity- The Construction of Selfhood and a Special Mention of the Jury at MIFF `96 for Kahankar: Ahankar, the Certificate of Merit at MIFF `98 and Best Innovation, Astra Film Festival 1998, Sibiu, Romania for YCP 1997, the Second Prize for Saacha at the New Delhi Video Forum 2001, and Best documentary Award at the IV Three Continents International Documentary Festival, Venezuela 2005 and Indian Documentary Producers Association Awards 2005:  The First Technical Award for Sound Design and the Second Technical Award for Cinematography , for SheWrite.


A presiding thematic of much of their work has been a problematising of notions of self and the other, of normality and deviance, of the local and the global, through the exploration of diverse narratives and rituals. These range from the stories and paintings of indigenous peoples to the poetry of prison inmates.


They have several papers in the area of media and cultural studies and have contributed to scholarly journals such as Cultural Studies. Their most recent publications are:
Documentary and Ethnographic Film,
Elsevier Encyclopaedia of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Elsevier, 2001 and
The Plot Thickens: A Cultural Studies Approach to Media Education in India, in Lavender, T et al eds.,
Global Trends in Media Education, Hampton Press, 2003.

They are both recipients of the Association of Commonwealth Universities’ Howard Thomas Memorial Fellowship in Media Studies, and have been attached to Goldsmith’s College, London and the University of Western Sydney. They also serve as visiting faculty to several leading media and design institutions across India, such as Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and University of Hyderabad.

Some relevant Links:



http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mp/2002/10/07/stories/2002100700770300.htm http://www.screenindia.com/20020315/rtoly.html http://www.indianexpress.com/ie/daily/20010404/ien04027.html



© Pictures and Text: TISS