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Patriarchy is hard on both men and women: Ratna Pathak Shah

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Veteran actress Ratna Pathak Shah has said even men have not been spared by patriarchy, let alone women, as the ideology also expects the former to stick to the age-old gender roles.

The 60-year-old actress said it is about time the mindset and social norms undergo a change.

"I say, not just women, everyone should get the freedom to do what they want. How many men have freedom of choice? Like doing jobs that they want to do. Even they behave in a way they are expected to. Patriarchy is hard on both men and women. So, we need to uproot the whole system and find new ways of looking at things," Shah told the reporters here.

The actress was in the capital to promote her upcoming film "Lipstick Under My Burkha".

Shah added people need to understand the circumstances that force a woman to take permission to lead her own life.

"It's not easy to do what you want to do, when you're financially dependent, have no real say in day-to-day matters in the family, when you've heard things like 'uffo, it's a girl again' in childhood. Even I faced such things in a liberal, open-minded family. But I never got stopped because of it. And the ones who really want to go forward don't stop, come what may."

Shah, who plays the role of a woman who is exploring her dreams and desires at the age of 55, said it is sad that women are labelled as a force that represents "opposing" points of view.

"Society is never ready to hear an opposing point of view. Anyone with an alternative point of view has to fight for space. Women have been fighting for space for a long time. And it's a pity we have been cast in the role of opposing point of view.

"The world consists of men and women, almost 50-50, together we share this planet. I don't see why one should be more important than the other," she said.

The actress, who was last seen in "Kapoor & Sons", added that people do get bothered by the fact that women want to tell their stories.

However, quoting Bob Dylan she said, "times are a' changing".

"Let more stories like this ('Lipstick') be made and such stories will not strike as unusual. This film could not have been made ten years ago. We were not ready for something like this. Thank God it has been made today where there is an audience already out there (to watch it).

"Today, the audience is not that clear that it will say 'yes, I want to watch this film'. But whosoever will see the film will end up questioning certain attitudes at least."

Shah said India needs sex education and this is what the Alankrita Shrivastava-directed movie aims at.

"India is in need of sex education. We don't know how we became a billion... 'Woh toh bas bhagwaan ki daya se hogaya' (It's all by God's grace). We desperately need some information, which is why Alankrita made this film, so that people get this information in one go," she said.

Shah said the role was not tough for her, but the real challenge would be to make her family understand the reason behind her choosing the part.

"The thought had crossed my mind that there are certain people in my family who may find it a little uncomfortable to see me do a role like this. But what went in my mind was 'how will I answer when I'm asked why I took up this role?'

"But since the film is yet to release, no one has asked this question yet. But, if and when, they do ask me, I know what I'm going to answer to them," she said.

Also starring Konkona Sensharma, Aahana Kumra, Plabita Borthakur, Sushant Singh, Vikrant Massey, the film is set to release on July 21.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, July 11 2017. 20:23 IST