And Deepika Padukone is in news again. Besides savouring the success of her yesteryear movies and voicing her experiences with depression, not to mention the “cleavage” episodes and her off-screen relationship with co stars, Padukone has been in news for both right and wrong reasons.
This time Padukone is seen in Vogue’s latest short film directed by Homi Adjania, director of Finding Fanny. The video showcases the star with 99 other female celebrities including Nimrit Kaur, Anupama Chopra and Zoya Akthar, to promote gender equality in the rape-driven and respect-depriven Indian society.
The video that was released last weekend has gone viral in the social media circuit with more than 3 million views. People have once again applauded the efforts of the actress and its makers for such a strong social reminder in the name of women empowerment. But as usual many other men and women have backfired Padukone for the content that she has been calling out in the video. Well considering India’s love for bans, I would be least surprised of this video encounters the same destiny. Vogue has already removed the video from its official site it seems.
But what I actually fail to understand is the incapability of the so-called educated men and women, the urban Indian crowd, to appreciate the film. The BBC-released documentary India’s Daughter which was sort of a wake-up call for most Indians was widely accepted and praised but Vogue’s presentation couldn’t stir the same emotion. In fact the film has been said to be Padukone’s latest promotional stunt who needed to “push” her career further.
TO LIBERATE OURSELVES FROM PATRIARCHAL TRENDS
In my interpretation Padukone’s voice has been something we women irrespective of age, caste and creed have been waiting to hear. Not because we needed to vent out the angst on men or society as a whole, but to gather the courage to liberate ourselves from the shackles of patriarchy and societal trends. What we do, how we speak, how we dress, where we go, at what time we go – have always generated meaningless and endless interest to people around us. And have we, women ourselves, not succumbed to this “caged” mindset? We are the victims of course but we could be the culprits as well for we chose not to stand up for ourselves. We chose not to fight for what is ours. We simply forgot about our own existence.
RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SEXUAL PREFERENCES
So what if I do not marry? What if I want to have sex with a woman? That would be my choice. I may sport the shortest skirt with a bindi on my forehead and that again is my choice. Infidelity is not a crime if I am suffering in a wrong marriage. Rather it could be a wise choice and it is definitely my choice.
The film is no way against men unless you want to look at it that way. Men who feel intimidated when women opt to defend their choices and lives need to undergo tremendous change in their mentalities and that day isn’t too far. If women can build their families, homes and lives I guess we can help them change this attitude too. “My love for you cannot be replaced. So treasure that” That’s what really matters.
TRANSFORM EMPOWERMENT AND GENDER EQUALITY
In the context of women empowerment, Padukone’s video could generate ripples even to the remote corners of the country. Now this is where we need both women and men. We need to transform terms like empowerment and gender equality from hashtags to reality. Ripples would not go any further if we fail to help spread awareness to people who do not watch such short films or access social media. Empowerment is not just about you and me. It would be an incomplete gesture if we do not help the woman nearby stand on her feet.
The last line of the video is in fact the best. “I am the universe. Infinite in every direction”
Mostly importantly we women need to have faith, a strong sense of belief that a vast universe is inherent in each one of us with which we can conquer anything and everything. To have such faith is again our choice.
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