'RRR is a regressive film' says Ratna Pathak Shah

The actor was in conversation at a book launch event 'The Queen, The Courtesan, The Doctor, The Writer (50 Inspiring Stories of Muslims) by Sabah Khan

Priyanka ChandaniUpdated: Saturday, December 17, 2022, 06:49 PM IST
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Ratna Pathak Shah |

Veteran actor Ratna Pathak Shah on Saturday said that S S Rajamouli's film RRR is regressive. "Films like RRR are so popular today. But it's a regressive film. It looks backwards while we should look forward. We just feel whatever we are doing is good because we are part of the mother of democracy — India," said the actor. Shah was in conversation at a book launch event, 'The Queen, The Courtesan, The Doctor, The Writer by Sabah Khan at YWCA's Lady Willingdon Hostel in Mumbai. The book is a compilation of 50 inspiring stories of Muslim women who have done remarkable work in India starting from the time of colonialism.

The Khoobsurat actor further noted that filmmakers need to analyse their work critically. "Until filmmakers will not see their work critically, we will have to watch films like RRR. But we don't like criticism. Our ego gets hurt, This atmosphere is created by so many big people and unfortunately, we have accepted it," she added, when asked about the importance of stories about women.

Meanwhile, RRR  has been named one of the year’s 10 best films by the National Board of Review. The film has also revived the hope for an Oscar this year, as earlier, the film failed to compete with Pan Nalin's film Chhello Show. In addition, the movie has grossed over 12000 crore worldwide.

Further, about the films, she said that earlier films too had male-centric stories and women's representation was minimal. "Women were standing at the back and crying. My mother did many roles where she was standing and crying. So this stereotyping of women was very painful for me," she said and further added that theatre has more progressive stories of women. "I used to think about it and when I grew up I saw that theatre was very progressive. Theatre didn't have similar men-centric stories. Especially the kind of plays I used to do. My mother used to work with IPTA (Indian People's Theatre Association) and Gujarati commercial theatre, and I saw a clear difference in how women were portrayed and positioned in the plays. It was very clear to me that there are two ways to see women," she added.

Taking a dig at television shows today, Shah said that TV shows today have created an illusion and every woman has accepted that. "I wonder if it was the same TV which had serials like Shanti (1994), Tara (1993), and Udaan (1989). Women's representation was very progressive, modern, and independent. But today, women are all decked up in a sari and jewellery. We all want to be like those TV serial women, like a decked-up doll. It is an illusion and we need to break this through powerful stories of women and we have so many of them in India," shared the actor.

"My idea of a woman is to not see her as a woman but as an interesting individual," she stated.

Talking about her growing up years, she shared, "It is true that stories of men are told more, especially, when we talk about men who are role models who have done some good work for change, we mostly talk about men. But I come from a family where women have been very strong. I have heard many stories about women. But when I came out of my family environment and joined college, I learned that women are not respected much. It was surprising," she said, adding that she grew up around progressive people. "And whatever remaining conventional attitude I had was changed by theatre. So this conventional attitude was very surprising to me. I wonder if people don't see their mothers and their role in the family."

On the work front, Ratna Pathak Shah is set to make her foray into Gujarati cinema with Kutch Express. The film also stars Manasi Parekh, Darsheel Safary from Taare Zameen Par, and Dharmendra Gohil.

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