BENGALURU: Bollywood actress Gul Panag, in the city for a talk on the society in transition, called the Censor Board an “archaic” institution.
She has worked with Alankrita Shrivastava, whose film Lipstick Under Burkha was denied a certification by the CBFC, calling it a “lady-oriented’ film.
Gul said such decisions by the Board only only reveals its misogynistic and patriarchal side. “It is okay to have man-oriented cinema but the moment you have a story to tell from a female’s perspective, it suddenly becomes objectionable,” she said.
She called Censor Board archaic and said that an age-related rating system should be adopted to rate movies like how it is done in US and UK. She explains, “If a particular film is rated for a person of a particular age to watch, then you don’t get to decide what’s there in the film. If it is adult rated, above 18, then you don’t get to decide for me what I can watch at 18.”
Asked about why Bollywood actresses shy away from feminism, she said it is because they are confused what the term means.
“Recently Trump’s former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said that she is not sure if she is a feminist as she says, it is difficult to identify as a feminist in a classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male and is certainly pro-abortion in this context to which Webster Dictionary got back saying there is only one definition of feminism and that is equal opportunity and access to rights,” said Gul. “We had a model turned Bollywood actress who also said that she does not believe that she is a feminist. I think most people are confused what it means.”
She added that being a feminist could hurt the sentiments of certain institutions that have a set value system. “Being feminist means exercising your rights to equality in terms of access to opportunities and rights and I guess that upsets the status quo of such conservative factions of the society,” she said.
In the conversation with City Express, she shared about how outgoing she is and is not bound by societal rules.
You are known to do roles that break stereotypes. Have you faced any stereotype in your life?
To be honest, I haven’t. I was born into a family that gave me the same opportunity that my brother got. So, I haven’t had to fight against stereotypes.
That makes me realise how privileged I am. It is important to instil in our society and women specifically, not to be bound by what other people think. You should in fact decide what you should do and when you should do it and I feel given that choice, everybody can exercise their full potential in life.
You seem to be an out-going person…
I haven’t let the social conditioning define what I should be doing. Too many people end up doing that and finally we lose the essence of who we really are and we all end up being the same. But we humans are meant to be different.
Not just flying, you seem to enjoy riding too…
I go on several rides. One of the most talked about is the one to Leh. I do a series of documentaries called Off Road with Gul Panag. It’s in second season now. This time, we went to the North East part of India and it was magical. I don’t think I am trying to be different. I just do it when I feel like doing it.
So, you don’t plan but just go by your instinct?
Adventure should be planned. It cannot be reckless. I have the advantage of not having a 9 to 5 job but you have the advantage of structured leave, that I don’t have. When you want to do something, write it on a piece of paper. It’s like you commit to it and it will begin to happen. If you condition yourself to suppress these flashes, then flashes will stop coming in and then you become a slave to the life that somebody else has chosen for you.
(Gul Panag was in Bengaluru as a part of International Women’s Day celebrations at The Hilton, Embassy GolfLinks)