Shabana Azmi: It seems that if women express their sexuality, society will crumble | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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Shabana Azmi: It seems that if women express their sexuality, society will crumble

Taking the film certification refusal to Lipstick Under My Burkha as a reference point, actor Shabana Azmi gets vocal about the need for gender equality and more support for women-centric films.

bollywood Updated: Apr 22, 2017 18:38 IST
Anjuri Nayar Singh
Shabana Azmi

Actor Shabana Azmi says that the kind of restrictions still being put on women now need to be broken.(Abhinav Saha/HT Photo)

Women-centric films often find themselves in trouble right before the release, and actor Shabana Azmi says that this is because of gender inequality in society. The latest example of this is Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, which was refused certification by the Central Board of Film Certification — the reason given was that the film was “lady orientated”.

“What does that even mean?” asks Shabana. “[The film] is about women expressing their sexuality. If women express sexuality, it seems that society will crumble and fall down. Such restrictions on women exist everywhere.”

Shabana says, “In society, the kind of strictures that are being sought to be put on women need to be broken. You cannot have a healthy society unless women and men get equal opportunities.”

The actor will be seen in Aparna Sen’s next film, titled Sonata, which is a story about three unmarried women and also stars Lilette Dubey.

Asked if she feels that the film industry, like society, also practises gender-based discrimination, Shabana says that although a lot has changed for the better, we still have a long way to go. “The process has begun,” she adds. “A lot of female actors are demanding and getting as much money as men. That (money earned by actors) is determined by commerce. If you have a Shah Rukh Khan film, who the heroine is, matters only a little bit. But if you have Priyanka Chopra film, chances are that she will have to do the film with someone not of [her] stature.”

Speaking of support for gender equality from male actors, Shabana says, “I feel it’s important for actors to support women-centric films. I credit Shah Rukh. He did Dear Zindagi, in which Alia had the bigger role. This also speaks of your confidence.”

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