When contemporaries invested in followers and views, i invested in making film without support: says Sona Mohapatra
Sona Mohapatra alienated music directors by calling out gender difference
Sona Mohapatra is linked with being outspoken. The artist has often raised her voice in opposition to a variety of issues, and she recognizes that it has had a significant impact on her emotionally and professionally.
One such cause she is passionate about is the portrayal of female vocalists in the music business. She claims she has been discussing it for the past eight years.
“Whether it’s your large music festivals, launches, or the mainstream… even if you turn on the radio, you’ll see that only two songs out of ten include female vocals. Only 89 songs include female vocals out of 100, and solo female songs have fallen totally out of favour in the public. It’s really about testosterone,” says the 45-year-old singer known for songs like Ambarsariya and Jiya Laage Na.
When it comes to music festivals, she claims they have a “terrible three percent” presence of female artists.
“I was someone pointing it out, hurting my peers, offending a lot of music directors, males who call all the shots since I come off as a problematic lady, constantly whining,” Mohapatra explains. But there is some great news. After all of these years of pleading with the NH7 music festival, I was not called, but in their most recent edition, the participation increased from a median of 4-5 percent to 21 percent. It was a huge jump, so people did pay attention; perhaps there was some shame or awareness, but I am not the one to know.”
She believes that “problematic women” like herself contribute to this shift. “It might be at your personal expense if you are the kinda person who refuses to get over things until they transform. “You don’t always charm yourself to everyone,” says the singer, whose documentary Shut Up Sona will have its Australian debut during the fest and is also nominated for An award in the Best Documentary at the IFFM awards.
She is simply ecstatic. “At a time when many of my contemporaries were engaging in internet followers and views, I decided to take a leap of faith, invest a large portion of my money, and make this film with no support and total faith. Shut Up Sona has gone far and wide to the major global festivals from New York, Toronto, and across Europe, but today is our first exhibition Down Under and after ages a genuine cinema screening,” the singer said.