Wednesday, July 27 2016, 07:43:53
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Drishti Bodhraj Premprakashi

JWB Intern

Illustrator Shivani Gorle Is The Queen Of JWB’s Computer Screens

  • JWB Post
  •  July 23, 2016


The Facebook page read, ‘ portraying illustrations of badass female characters from various movies engulfed in circles. My personal favorite was that of Natalie Portman from ‘Black Swan’.

The moment I saw it, I knew I had to contact the girl who created this concept.  A girl’s name is . A girl is a 21-year old illustrator from Mumbai.

I called her up and voila! She was up and ready for our Q&A session.

What inspired you to start this project?

I was scrolling through Netflix and found a category that said “Featuring a Strong Female Lead” and it made me think that why do we need a separate category to celebrate women. So, I started drawing female characters that I thought were very bold.

What is one female character you can relate to most?

I’d have to say, Hermione. She’s close to my age, and I think that if I were to to be a part of the wizarding world, I’d have similar experiences. I love how she never lets anyone question why a female character is so strong.

It’s not Leviosa-r, it’s leviOsa! Sorry, my Potterhead is showing,

I watch movies and draw their women in circles. Why are all your drawings in circles?

*Laughs* I’m obsessed with circles. Everything my room is in circles. I have circular lights, a round bed, and bookshelf. It’s been going on for a few years now. I think that circles are aesthetically appealing, so I draw my characters in circles.

The only song that came to my mind was, ‘Round and around and around we go….’

What is one male role that you think a woman could play better?

I saw this movie called ‘Fundamentals of Caring.’ It’s about a boy in a wheelchair and how people treat him like he’s handicapped. People don’t realize that he has dreams and aspirations like us. I think it would be fascinating to see a girl playing that role.

What social messages do your illustrations carry?

They all carry different messages. Recently, it has highlighted the positive change in the film industry. I love how they’re starting to work on character details and personalities and, taking characters based on real people like Mastani and Joy.

TBH, Mastani is bae.

How do you select a movie?

I usually re-watch the movies I’ve already seen and draw the empowered women. My first illustration was that of Jennifer Lawrence from Joy. I loved the last part of the movie where she walks confidently. I took that as an inspiration for my illustration. I then chose their best lines to add to the picture.  

What is one movie that you find to be extremely sexist?

*Laughs * I think I’d say Great Grand Masti. Even though I haven’t seen it, I think it’s safe to say that the movie has been sexist. I’ve heard a lot of people criticize Sultan for being sexist because of the choice that Anushka Sharma made. I personally think that everyone is overreacting to her decision. She plays an empowered woman, and it was completely her decision to choose family over career, and that’s okay.

Take notes, pseudo-feminists.

Who is the first person who critiques your illustrations?

My best friend. He’s a filmmaker. He had complete control over his life and aspirations and inspired me to do so too. Whenever I need any advice, I go to him. As for my illustrations, I send the drawings to him through WhatsApp, and he gives me feedback on it.

A 50-year-old male character can play the role of a 30-year-old and star beside an actress much younger than him. Women aren’t allowed to do so. What do you have to say on that?

I think it is unfair. It reveals the amount of sexism we have inherited. People think that women lose their charm and sexuality with age but men don’t. I think we need to combat this notion and not be scared of making movies with an elder female character as the lead. There’s one movie called ‘The Rebound’ which shows Catherine Zeta Jones falling in love with a younger man. You should watch.

One advice you have for directors?

I think they should work more on developing characters and making them sound more human and not utopian. Giving the characters some flaws will make them look more realistic and well-rounded. They should give them real life goals and aspirations like us.

Dear Indian directors, take inspiration from K-Dramas.

Do you have a story behind drawing one of the characters?

I think it came up when I was drawing Silk Smita from ‘The Dirty Picture.’ This was around the same time that Qandeel Baloch was killed. I realized that they had similar situations in dealing with the patriarchy and the condescending attitude of people towards them. So I decided to draw Silk as a tribute to Qandeel.

What’s one thing you would change about dating in movies?

I think we can get more women to approach the guy rather than the other way round. I think we can also work on getting female characters to embrace their sexualities on screen.

It’s time India embraces the Sadie Hawkin’s concept.

Would you prefer a movie date or a picnic date?

A picnic date sounds nice. Not in a place like Mumbai though. Maybe in a hill station. Unless we can hang out after the movie, I don’t prefer movie dates because I am an avid movie watcher, so I will completely ignore the person next to me.

One movie that left you in tears?

I’m not an easy crier, lol. So a movie has to be really amazing to make me cry. But one movie that did make me cry was a movie called ‘The Help.’ It is based on slavery during the 1930s. Although it was abolished by then, there were some rich American families that had African American slaves. I loved how Emma Stone was helping make reforms for the slaves.

One movie that gave you fits of laughter?

‘Queen’. Hands down, ‘Queen’. And ‘Spy’. I loved Melissa McCarthy. She is so badass. Also, Rebel Wilson from ‘How to Be Single’, of course!

I swear, y’all need to go and watch Spy right now. You will lurve it! [insert excessive snorting between laughter noises]

What characters are under progress for your artwork?

I think, it’ll be Brie Larson from ‘Room’ for sure. Angelina Jolie from ‘Wanted’ and Tabu from ‘Haider’. I’ve been getting a lot of requests to feature South Indian actresses. I also plan on watching a Marathi movie called ‘Sairat’ and feature the protagonist from it.

Illustrate your life in 4 sentences.

I am 21, from Mumbai, and I graduated last year.

I completed my degree in Mass Media and,

I plan on studying in New York City at the School of Visual Arts.

I love travelling and work as a freelance illustrator soon.

The original question included 3 sentences. You’re welcome, Shivani.

Will you take up art as a career or as a hobby?

*Pondering over question* It’s very hard for me to decide. It’s like, art is my secret love affair, and branding is my husband. I have no idea what I’ll go forward with. I’m trying to include the design on the side while I work on branding.

This literally sounds like the plot of steamy erotica book, lol.

Cinema with popcorn or sofa with pizza?

Sofa with popcorn, lol.

Shivani likes to swing both ways. Not in that sense, y’all nasties.

Do you watch movies alone or with some company?

Uh, mostly I watch movies alone because people think that my choice in movies is boring. And on weekends, I watch them with family.

What are three movies that every teenage girl should watch?

One would be ‘Udta Punjab’. It should not be a rated 18 but a PG13 movie at least. Girls should also be aware of the side effects of drug addiction and I feel like Alia Bhatt’s character is inspiring. I loved how she got over her addiction and emerged successfull.

The second one would be ‘Herbie Fully Loaded’. The one with Lindsay Lohan. I liked how it was a woman-centric movie from older times.

Thirdly, I would suggest, ‘Juno.’ Also, ‘Scott Pilgrim v/s The World’. It’s not very woman-centric, but Ramona is badass in it.

So the phone call continued beyond the interview and boy, was it fun! Shivani and I have a lot in common when it comes to movies. Also, I found out that her father works in Dubai and that she keeps visiting. How cool is that?

I won’t be able to meet you in person in India, but, let’s meet in Dubai.

Until then,

Valar Drawhaeris!


Okay, bye.

P.S. Here’s her Facebook .

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