For veteran Bollywood actor Sharmila Tagore, celebration of ‘women empowerment’ or simply saying that today women are no less than men would make more sense when women from every echelon from our society will know what their rights are, what empowerment really means and most importantly getting opportunities like several empowered modern women of the country and the world.
In Ludhiana on Saturday evening as chief guest of a women’s conference organised by women of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the 72 year old remains glued to her words whose tongue fervently rolls out the ‘why’ element for this opinion.
“It’s galvanising to see many examples of empowered women today but what about women in rural India where women continue to remain under several shackles of our society who may not even have a lick of sense about their basic rights. This is quiet painful but once our society gets ready to offer them sheer freedom and all kind of opportunities they want to be part of, it will mark true achievement”, she confidently underlines who was also conferred upon the Padma Bhushan Award in 2013 for her contribution to Indian cinema.
Taking the conversation ahead, we ask her what difference she observes of working women today with the era of 60’s when she took the flight of her Bollywood dream.
“A question arduous to answer (laughs). In the 60’s and 70’s, the society’s quintessential mind set was that a woman’s place is just at home and if someone ever worked, neither her work was valued nor considered decent. And, for me it was harder since being part of Bollywood in those days was not an affair of good reputation. Secondly, the industry like other fields never had well behaved men and at times, you had to face odd situations but positive support from parents and later from my husband never let my spirits fall down and on top of that, I religiously adopted the policy of ignorance and draw all my energy on my work”, she smiles who also led the Indian Film Censor Board from 2004 to 2011.
Adding up, she says thankfully today all workplaces have become very welcoming and achievements of women are celebrated with huge pomp and show. In other words, it’s all about brining change in our mind sets, she remarks.
Coming to the core questions asked by the women from the audience in the open question round, many excitingly asked her what keeps her young even in her seventies and how life changed by getting married to Nawab of Pataudi –Mansur Ali Khan –the former Indian cricket captain to which she smartly answered.
“Those who live in the present remain youthful and I am one of them. After all, besides waiting for destination, I always ensure to enjoy the journey as well and for being part of Pataudi family, I will call it a responsibility full of pleasure”, she signs off.