As Bollywood celebrities continue to celebrate womanhood on International Women’s Day today, actorSayani Gupta prefers to celebrate women in her life every single day. Here’s what she thinks about sexism in Bollywood, her on-screen women-centric roles and just the idea of Women’s Day as she shared in a candid conversation with ETimes.
You have played strong female characters on-screen. What does Women’s Day mean to you personally?
I think it’s a bit of tokenism honestly. I am happy to be celebrating all the women around me on every day of the year, not just one day. This may come as a reminder to be respectful towards women in our lives, but having said that, it’s not enough. I mean it’s not just about buying cards for someone or putting posts up on social media. It should mean that you respect women every day and try to make their life a little simpler than you do on most days. Just treat them with dignity and respect and leave them alone to do what they want for their lives. Having said that, is that all that we need? Only one day to celebrate women? No, we need every day to be an equal partnership day of men and women, and people of all genders actually.
This Women’s Day, if you have to honour someone special in your life, who would it be?
I don’t think it’s just about this Women’s Day. I think of all the women in my life every single day of my life so it’s not a one-day thing.
What are your thoughts on the representation of women in Bollywood? The topic of sexism in the industry is never-ending…
Yes, it’s never-ending because society is sexist. So how will the industry be outside the purview of society? The industry is not like a box where you enter and forget about what happens outside. There is injustice everywhere in every single inch of society. There is violence against women everywhere and I am just not talking about physical violence, of course, that is there, but even emotional violence. It’s inside our bedroom, kitchen, home, school, offices and corporate spaces, so this industry is no exception.
As far as representation of women in Bollywood is concerned, yes it’s becoming better but it’s far, far away from what it needs to be. This is only because of how we deem women in our eyes when we are writing about them. Honestly, I have to say this, how men write about women is extremely problematic in our country. I have said this before, most of these men, I don’t know what they are eating or who they are hanging out with or what they are watching, but they have very little understanding of women. Goes without saying, this is not the case for all, but with exceptions, most. So, it’s just their writing and hence the films show their lack of understanding of the feminine, that’s where the problem lies.