Mumbai: Bollywood actress Rhea Chakraborty, who will be seen in the film “Jalebi”, says every man and woman has a role to play in changing the image and position of women in a patriarchal society like India. She says men should understand feminism is not male-bashing, but a celebration of gender equality. As more stories continue to keep emerging from women who are victims of gender violence, sharing her thoughts on the issue and how cinema can create an impact, Rhea told IANS here: “All of us have a role to play in changing the mindset on gender equality. For thousands of years, injustice and discrimination happened to women even for their basic rights to live as equal human beings.
“While it is good to see that dialogue has started, I must say that if a man is not a feminist, he has lost the understanding of gender equality. Feminism is not male bashing. It is a concept to celebrate gender equality, providing equal opportunity to every human being beyond gender.” Being a young actress, she has decided not to be a part of any film where women are projected in a bad light in the name of entertainment. “There is a thin but strong line between presenting a woman in an entertaining manner and seeing her through the lens of a male chauvinist. I will certainly not take part in the latter. A film has a voice that gets heard by the maximum population as it is part of our popular culture.
“While it is important to reflect the reality, unless we are creating more aspirational female characters to admire, we won’t be able to change the mindset.” Having started her career in Bollywood in 2013 with the film “Mere Dad Ki Maruti”, Rhea got noticed with the 2014 film “Sonali Cable”. However, she was not as visible as expected in mainstream big budget films.
According to her, “maintaining visibility is not a big deal”. “I could have done some item songs to maintain that, but I choose not to. In between, I also got film offers that I did not take up. Later, they went on to become hit films. But I won’t regret it as that was my decision then. I am now looking forward to the film ‘Jalebi’ because I know that all of us under the mentorship of Bhatt Saab (filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt) have made a film that has a soul.” Directed by Pushpdeep Bhardwaj, “Jalebi” is releasing on October 12.