Free Press Journal

Frankly speaking with Sonam Kapoor


Sonam Kapoor often gets lost in the garb of her designer clothes. Even her co-star Akshay Kumar claims she is an import from Paris, but nothing is further than the truth. The actress speaks to Shubarna Mukerji Shu about the cultural shock that comes with working in Bollywood, despite being from a film family

Her film Pad Man is all set to release and everyone is hovering for some controversial statement or another because that’s what Sonam Kapoor does. She doesn’t speak thoughtlessly, but she speaks what she thinks makes her even more susceptible to controversies. Yet, the girl sure knows where to draw the line especially when it comes to her rumoured impending marriage with her boyfriend Anand Ahuja. “I have decided, that I am not going to be talking about it!” she quipped, so well, no matter how many times you knock, that door won’t open. But there is a lot about Pad Man and her journey that needs to be spoken about.

Even the smallest support goes a long way…

You know there is that popular saying: “Behind every successful man there is a woman”? I strongly believe that behind every success story are a lot of people who have helped put that person out there, helped them to meet that goal. My character in the film is the tiny little support that Akshay’s character needs to believe in himself. Sometimes you have an idea, you just need that encouragement to implement it. It is a beautiful relationship, that!

What does Arunachalam Murganatham mean to you?

What he did was so simple and his reason so beautiful, I obviously have a lot of respect for him. I had heard his TED talk, and frankly, forgotten all about it because that’s what we do. When you have it all, you appreciate what someone else is doing but you don’t really understand the gravity of it till you see how others are living their lives.

I was shocked to hear that women have to actually wash their stained clothes in gutter water, because they cannot use clean water to wash off the impurities. Can you imagine a life like that? Girls using raakh, bhusa…. and what not, think about the health hazards that people are putting their women through by not allowing them basic sanitation.

I am afraid, but this question needs to be asked:The movie you made should be seen by people who are actually living that kind of life of depravity. And yet, the biggest reason for this is the lack of funds. They simply cannot afford a sanitary pad. So how does that woman, reach out to your film? Would she ever be able to afford the ticket?

It is a sorry state of affairs, I agree. With Neerja we had pleaded the government to make the film tax-free and it worked. With all their wisdom, the government will do what they think is right even now. However, to answer your question, I will share a harsh reality with you, when it comes to entertainment and movies, villagers of the farthest corner of India find a way to see it. I don’t want to get into a problem by saying this but that’s the fact of it. They simply manage to find a way to see it.

We are beckoning people to talk about it, but did you as a young girl speak about your periods?

I was dying to get them. I got my periods at the age of 15, by them most of my girlfriends had already got theirs. I was 5’9”, 15 years old and still didn’t have it. I was jumping with joy when I finally got it. I could finally be one with my friends to discuss cramps and tampons and all that stuff which I couldn’t earlier due to the lack of experience.

Jokes apart, when it comes to my family we are all extremely progressive. I don’t think we ever questioned ourselves before discussing it openly. Believe me, in our house dinner table conversations centre about topics most people don’t even think about. We are a very verbose family and we talk about everything, rather openly.

My mother, sister and I have subjected Harshvardhan to some of the most embarrassing conversations too, so why not speak about something as mundane and periods openly? Our upbringing is such that we never really think twice about something we feel strongly about. If it needs to be said, it will be said. So, you can imagine what a cultural shock it was when I came into this industry?

We could guess, but please elaborate!

Well, when you come from a house where there is no differentiating between my brother and me, it seems rather shocking that you will be giving less pay than your co-actor simply because he is a man and I am a woman. It took a lot to come around to getting my head around the way the world really functions. Sometimes, I did think that my parents lead me into a fairytale and this real life is too harsh, but then, it is my upbringing and the way they have allowed me to have my thoughts and find my voice that has made me who I am. No cultural shock will ever make me feel otherwise.