Prime Video releases a new session of ‘Maitri: Female First Collective’

Mumbai: Prime Video has released a new session of ‘Maitri: Female First Collective.’ The collective is an effort to help build a community for women in media and entertainment where they can discuss their experiences, challenges, and successes, as well as offer their perspective and advice on how to effect positive change. The latest session features discussions on making the industry more inclusive for women by creating more opportunities, recognising contributions, and building a safer work environment, and is graced by nine eminent women professionals from Indian entertainment, including producers, directors, creators, talent, and corporate leaders.

Moderated by the ‘Maitri’ creator and curator Smriti Kiran, the participants comprised Prime Video creator of ‘Maitri’ & head of India originals Aparna Purohit; writer & director Indhu VS; writer, director & producer Ratheena Plathottathil; creator & producer Elahe Hiptoola; actor & director Parvathy Thiruvothu; actor, producer & performing artist Rima Kallingal; filmmaker & cinematographer Shreya Dev Dube; and Cinematographer Neha Parti Matiyani.

Prime Video also launched a social community for ‘Maitri’ in order to spark conversations and foster meaningful collaborations, allowing women in entertainment to share successes and work together to overcome challenges more easily. Sharing deeply personal stories and experiences, the participants discussed the progress made thus far as well as the challenges faced by female professionals in the industry, whether in film, streaming, or television, covering topics such as conscious and unconscious bias, gender stereotyping, safety, and much more.

The attendees' obvious camaraderie set the tone for the session as they shared their thoughts, opinions, and learnings on dealing with difficult situations. They reaffirmed their commitment to the collective and to working together to find potential solutions to create balanced female representation through the powerful medium of modern storytelling during the conversation. The forum agreed that having women in decision-making roles is critical to ensuring that more women are employed, basic logistics of safety and hygiene are addressed, and narratives are balanced and equitable.

Purohit said, "With the new session of ‘Maitri,’ we wanted to take stock of where we stand with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion, understand the challenges ahead, and collaborate to find the right solutions."

"We are very heartened by the encouragement and support we have received for ‘Maitri: Female First Collective’ so far. While it is a gradual journey, I am happy to see some change already coming through. To hear things like ‘we have women writers in our writers’ rooms,’ or ‘our women characters have agency’ and ‘our content will definitely pass the Bechdel test,' in conversations with creators is, for me, a major step in the right direction. At Prime Video, we remain deeply committed to DEI. As the next step, we want to strive to have at least 30 per cent women as HODs across all our productions," she added.

Kiran stated, "’Maitri’ is a space we all wanted but didn’t have. It has been created to connect women working across the vast and varied Indian film industry, have honest conversations about challenges we face, try and find solutions to those problems, and build opportunities that lead to a seismic shift in representation. It is that first step one hopes will lead to giant leaps.”

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