Smitha Sathish's short film 'W@40' centres around a lesser-known topic — Perimenopause
Smitha Sathish brought a lesser-known topic to the fore through her musical short film W@40 — Perimenopause.
Smitha Sathish, a former member of the Juvenile Justice Board, motivational trainer, social worker, and counselling psychologist, brought a lesser-known topic to the fore through her musical short film W@40 — Perimenopause. Menopause transition or Perimenopause is a phase that all women have to go through eight or ten years before they reach menopause. Getting through the phase with varied symptoms can be overwhelming for women especially in their 40s and reinforces that it’s not all in the women’s mind.
The twelve-minute short film opens with the story of a photographer. She’s in her 40s and is going to the beach for her work in her friend’s car. The photographer is struggling due to mood swings and an unreasonable boss, who thinks only young people are creative. She meets another woman at the beach. A mother in her 40s who’s staying away from her small family, who are enjoying playing on the beach.
From here on, the short portrays a montage of many women suffering through various symptoms like hot flashes (severe sweating and a sudden feeling of heat), heavy bleeding that causes many to change tampons or pads in a shorter time to depression, mood swings, feeling of irritation etc. Women from all walks of life, from homemakers to daily wage workers, all are connected to each other in some subtle way and all are going through the menopause transition.
“Postpartum depression, PMS etc have been receiving some acknowledgement over the past few years. However, menopause remains a lesser discussed topic. It requires more attention as many, including those who go through it, are unaware of it. Families often are unable to render help due to their unawareness,” says Smitha, who directed and conceptualised the short.
Awareness can lead to a much more hospitable environment. Smitha’s previous short film Hot Flash is also about menopause but in a familial background. Its plot revolves around a woman who is suffering hot flashes and accompanying emotional turmoil. “After watching Hot Flash, many shared their own experience with hot flashes. Some suffered it while at their workspace and their colleagues offered help and some said how badly other’s ignorance is bothering them. When people started sharing their plight, I felt responsible to bring more awareness to the subject,” says Smitha
The various symptoms portrayed in the film are inspired by Smitha’s personal experiences and her extensive research on the subject. “Are you okay? the question can be of huge relief for many. There needs to be an environment for them to open up about their struggles without being judged. It is a painful experience for many when their families don’t understand the aftermath of the hormonal imbalances,” says Smitha.
All the actors in W@40 are first-time actors. Smitha features many real-life families in the short and she has also taken the role of a photographer. The short film, which was released on World Menopause Day, has managed to shift the mindset of many. “Several men realised the extreme changes that happen in a woman’s body, and some teenagers also understood that they should be of help for their mothers who work despite the pain and other symptoms, I’m glad that my short could cater such difference in perspectives,” says Smitha. Kiran Krishnan is the music director and lyricist and Dr Aswathi Jayaraj has sung the track.