Oct 162017

On Monday, at MAMI there were only women panelists belonging to varied fields. It was a treat to watch such talented women talking about women empowerment and speaking their hearts out about the drastic gender inequality in the field of Indian cinema. ‘Lights, Camera, and Equality’ is the motto of Oxfam- an international confederation of the charitable organization. Bollywood members like Shabana Azmi, Kiran Rao, Nandita Das, Manisha Koirala and Kriti Sanon amongst others were present at this occasion. Ecstatic about the collaboration, Kiran Rao says it’s a great ‘synergy’. Further talking about Oxfam, Rao adds, “Oxfam’s initiative is to get together women and talk about gender issues and how much change you are going to make to the world.”

Veteran Shabana Azmi affirmed that the change has started, though it’s just a ‘drop in the ocean’, it has begun. So, as an extension to this topic, mid-day exclusively got in touch with the actresses present at the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality.

When quizzed Kiran Rao, who does she considers the powerhouse of an actress from Bollywood, with the immense crowd-pulling potential to cinema halls, she said it would be difficult to take names, but spoke about the actresses who made a mark with their roles.

“People like Vidya Balan, Rani Mukherjee, Kangana Ranaut, Alia Bhatt are the ones, who’ve chosen roles that are outside of the expected game. When a very very glamorous actress decides that she wants to be a farmer, a house-help in the film. Maybe they’ve chosen a role, which is not like the stereotype, we see in Hindi films. I think they are definitely pushing the envelope.”

Rao spoke at length about Kangana Ranaut. “With every film she does, she tries to do something. She chooses films where women play a crucial part, and it’s not that they are extremely heroic. They maybe anti-heroes. You see a woman thinking big and making decisions for their layered personality, their character. I think those are the women who are pushing the envelope.”

Neha Dhupia, too, mentioned Kangana amongst other actresses, for being influential women. She determinately said, “I think there’s Alia Bhatt, Kangana Ranaut, Deepika Padukone. I take Deepika’s name again and again because I was floored by what she did in Piku. That’s one of her best performances as far as I’m concerned. Yes, there’s this opportunity of magnum opus like Padmavati waiting to watch out, but she played it even beautifully in a small film, so I think these three women can for sure.”

The 90s diva Manisha Koirala, too, considers Kangana Ranaut as a powerful actress apart from Deepika Padukone. “There are some really strong actresses coming forward and portraying themselves in a different way. I love Deepika Padukone very much because she’s upper-talented and spoke about depression. She was able to come out of that glamour and class and finally put across her issue and she could have had a real problem…”

“And of course, Kangana has always been there. More and more women could come forward and stop playing blame-game and (was she hinting at Hrithik Roshan and Kangana row?) probably finding a creative solution to the situation because I believe there is more way of coming out with peaceful solutions to every problem,” added Manisha.

However, present at the Oxfam event was a young actress from the current crop, Kriti Sanon, who went the neutral said, ” I think we are in a time where content is something that pulls the audience to the cinema halls. I think that’s a good change, where the film is not actor-dependent, it is but not so much, and that kind of balances out the equality thing that we have.”

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