Bollywood speaks up about female power

Posted by: Adhika | Posted on: March 22nd, 2013 | No Comments

Currently in India there is wide introspection taking place about the role of woman, and the disempowerment Indian women currently face.  This issue has been gravely ignited with a gang rape case that took place on December 16th, 2012 whereby a 23 year old female student and her male friend were attacked by a group of 6 men after the two boarded a bus to go home. The woman died two weeks later. The case has led to a public outcry in the systemic negative treatment of Indian women. Here is an article outlining the views held on female power by various Bollywood celebrities published in DNA India.

If the world was a perfect place, we wouldn’t have the need to celebrate womanhood because one day is too less a time for such a celebration. But unfortunately, the world is not a perfect place. So, here we are… saluting the woman of substance; the role model; the mother, sister, wife, daughter and friend; and the woman who recreates life, without whom the world, however imperfect, would not exist.

Shilpa Shetty
: Whether we like it or not we live in a male-dominated society. This is especially true of rural and semi-rural India. Ironically in a country where a woman, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, occupies one of the most powerful positions, we also have a shocking gang-rape incident right under her nose. There is a clear dichotomy here. Female infanticide and cases of female subjugation are rampant. Sad but true! I only wish women would be given the fundmental right to have respect and security. Assaulter of these rights must be punished quickly and severely.

Bipasha Basu : Though women are the pillar of strength in every sphere of their lives, it’s great that one particular day is marked to celebrate womanhood. We are known to be ‘givers’ all our lives in every role we play — be it that of a mother, daughter, sister, lover, wife, companion or a friend. But we ourselves must celebrate the essence of being a woman on this day. I nudge you to break free from all shackles that bind your thought process, learn to love yourself cause only if you learn to care for yourself, others wil love and respect you.

And only when you are truly happy, you can give happiness to those around you. My mother, Mamata Basu, has been the woman who has inspired me the most. She is a great wife and fantastic mom who taught us to value people, money and relationships! Go ahead and do that one thing which you’ve been putting off to do since a while now. Pamper yourself. Because ladies this is our day! Happy Women’s Day. Be proud to be a woman — very proud indeed!

Nandita Das : Yet another Woman’s Day! No, can’t afford to be cynical. I have consciously made sure that cynicism doesn’t seep into my life and have striven to be an eternal optimist. And there are indeed good reasons to be. Both in my human rights’ work and films, I have met innumerable women who are constantly negotiating through their circumstances to find that little space where they can make their own choices.

Things have changed over the years, not because of one Jhansi ki Rani or a Sarojini Naidu, but because of hundreds of thousands of women, who have crossed the threshold and taken that step towards freedom and in the process opened doors for other women. When I think of that woman, the one who would have been the first to work outside her home, or the first to drive a car, or the one to see a play… all thosethings that many of us take for granted.

For me, I want to pay tribute to all those countless faceless, nameless women who probably have no idea, what they did for women at large. But if there was one thing that I would want to change in us women, across class, is the sense of guilt — always feeling guilty for not being able to do our best. The urban working woman is constantly feeling guilty for not being able to be a super wife, super mom, super at her work and all the other roles the society, and thereby she, has thrusted upon herself. Conditioning of generations is not going to vanish in a day, but we need to have faith in ourselves and feel no pressure to prove it to the world.

Chitrangda Singh : I wish a sense of independence for all women, not in an obvious way and not just to score points… When I say independence I wish women would have the freedom of thought and opinion. I also want women to be strong without competing with men. We should be allowed to be proud ofwho and what we are, with all our strengths and vulnerabilities. In brief, we should be allowed to be the ‘real perfect imperfect women’.


Kalki Koechlin
: I wish women could have the same freedom as men. Women should be able to get work as easily as men. They should have the freedom to wear what they want and speak their mind, and not get punished for it. They should have the freedom to be independent in thought, speech and movement.


Shabana Azmi : My primary identity is that I am a woman and I feel a sisterhood with women of all kinds. I’ve been privileged enough to make choices and I’ve benefited from the struggles that the women’s movement has undertaken. I salute and celebrate them. No society can be called civilised if 50% of itspopulationis denied equal opportunity. On Women’s Day let’s pledge to make our country a place where women can rise to their full potential.

Priyanka Chopra : The woman who has shaped my life will always remain my mother… she has been a rock in my life with her overwhelming support and constant advice… When it comes to my musical inspiration it’s definitely Madonna who has reinvented herself with every passing year and always manages to be contemporary… that’s the mark of a true star.



Gauri Shinde : Equal status begins at home. Ironically the most difficult gender challenge faced by women is to get respected by her own people. Only then we can feel confident enough to face the outside world. Older women need to treat their daughters-in-law well and on par with their sons. Mothers should teach their sons to respect women. And younger women need to believe in themselves. That’s where it begins. We are first human beings, then segregated by gender. Both men and women need to co-exist with dignity.

Sharmila Tagore : I think we have to forget this ‘man can do anything and women cannot’ mindset.If a woman enjoys doing a certain thing on screen it’s her prerogative. You don’t have to go and see her. Why be judgemental about it?Men do a lot of vulgar dances. I recall some of Govinda’s dance movements. But they were not condemned at all. But if a woman does it she is looked down upon.

This is double standards. Why do we expect women’s morals to be on higher plane than the men? Women have to wear overcoats and protect themselves from the male gaze while men can wear whatever they like. These moral values do not resonate with today’s times. I am not exonerating sexism , or the songs of Yo Yo Honey Singh. All I am saying is, we need to revisit these values applied to men and women and not just pass judgementon ad-hoc basis.

For example Jonathan Kaplan’s The Accused had an explicit rape scene. But the film was not sexist. Ifa woman is enjoying herself and her space on screen, there is nothing wrong with it. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with being an object of desire. You don’t have to live up to certain moral standards to get your right to security. To say prostitutes are not worthy of respect and can be raped is outrageous.

That mindset has to be changed. Every individual has equal right to self-projection.We must not blame media images for the way women are treated in society. There are deep socio-economic factors that are causing violence against women.We have to look not at the images but at society itself. Actually ,sexism cannot be related to sex-related crimes.

Vaibhavi Merchant : I’d like men to be man enough to respect a woman’s right to freedom, her speech, her will and dignity. She must be equal to men in every sense. Any sign of abuse of a woman’s fundamental rights must be dealt with severely irrespective of the strata of society she belongs to. Educate her partner, brother and son for a safer society.



Pooja Bhatt
: We women need to reclaim ourselves, and end our dependence on men, be it emotional or financial. Only then would we be able to walk tall shoulder to shoulder withour male counterparts.

Kalpana Lajmi : I’ve never followed nor believed in setting aside one day in a year to women. I ask for emotional, sexual and financial equality for women and men every day.

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