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Society should look inward, soul-search: Shabana Azmi

At a time when there is a whole new debate on women's security and rights following the horrific gang-rape incident last month in Delhi, feminist-activist and veteran actress Shabana Azmi today said it is time for society to look "inward" and change prevailing patriarchal mindsets. It was a horrific incident. It is important for society to look inward, analyse, soul–search and see what we can do to change the patriarchal mindset existing in our society," Azmi said at the Jaipur Literature Festival here today.

At a time when there is a whole new debate on women’s security and rights following the horrific gang-rape incident last month in Delhi, feminist-activist and veteran actress Shabana Azmi today said it is time for society to look “inward” and change prevailing patriarchal mindsets.

It was a horrific incident. It is important for society to look inward, analyse, soul–search and see what we can do to change the patriarchal mindset existing in our society,” Azmi said at the Jaipur Literature Festival here today.

At a session titled “Sex and Sensibility: Women in Cinema” Shabana engaged in a discussion with lyricist Prasoon
Joshi on the current trend of item-songs and portrayal of women in cinema.

Azmi appealed to young actress to make an informed choice when they agree to do item songs.

I want to make an appeal to our heroines to make an informed choice when you do an item song. Look at the lyrics,
listen to the words and then decide if you will dance on it.

You say that you are making a free choice but are you really,” questioned the actress, who is famed for essaying critically acclaimed women-centric roles.

The award winning actress also said that there is a difference between celebration of sexuality and
commodification of women body.

Celebration of women’s sexuality is different from commodification of women body and we should understand that,”
Azmi said at the literary extravaganza, which is discussing women issues through various sessions this year.

The veteran actress pointed out that the camera could make a big difference.

It is the intention of the filmmaker and the camera angle that decides how the female’s body is captured,” said
Azmi.

Lyricist Joshi, said in today’s society there is much focus and respect for the women in the role of a mother but
that in a way means that her individuality is being compromised.

“Why do we celebrate motherhood so much? Society wants a woman to become a mother as early as possible. Motherhood is great but when you want to get rid of her individuality and see her only as a mother, then that is a problem,” he said.

Both the speakers agreed that there needs to be a change but it should come from within the industry and not by an outside body.

We don’t want a government body above us. Artists agree that we should introspect,” Joshi said.

————————PTI