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Bollywood heroes continue to be on-screen warriors and indestructible saviours, but it’s the actresses in Hindi cinema who seems to have evolved rapidly as they take fierce stands on issues that go beyond their craft. They throw their celebrity behind causes that could cost them dearly in their career, but that hasn’t stopped them from marching ahead. As we observe International Women’s Day on March 8, here’s a look at all the women who have stepped outside their comfort zones in the last few months. Taking a sturdy stand — whether we agree or not – has become the new norm among the women in Bollywood. Be it speaking against the Delhi riots where protests against the controversial Citizen Amendment Act broke out or hailing the court verdict of sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, the women don’t hold back…
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Deepika Padukone: When actors including Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ranveer Singh have largely maintained a stoic silence on Delhi riots and anti-CAA protests, Padukone made her stand clear as she made a significant symbolic gesture, even if it meant it would cost her recent film Chhappak dearly. A day before its release in January second week, Padukone stood in solidarity with an army of students at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University who were protesting against campus attacks allegedly led by students linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. She was lauded by a majority, but a handful of them accused her gesture of being a publicity gimmick. In an interview with Gulf News, she also spoke about how being directed by a woman wasn’t an exception in her career. “I won’t entertain bringing gender into this conversation at all … My director of ‘Chhapaak’ being a woman is by the way and not an exception here,” said Padukone, when asked if Meghna Gulzar’s gender played any part in agreeing to a part of this film.
Image Credit: Instagram.com/deepikapadukone
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Swara Bhaskar: The ‘Veere Di Wedding’ star belongs to a minority of actors who chose to speak up against the government’s decision to grant citizenship to a select group of minorities, which did not include Muslims under the CAA umbrella — a move that has triggered nation-wide protests in India. “The CAA and NRC combination is a sinister and disastrous agenda to link citizenship to religion in India. It violates the very fabric of our multi religious, diverse and secular country; it violates articles 14 and 15 of the Indian constitution and it violates the principle upon which modern India was formed. We had in 1947 made a decision that we would not become a country where citizenship is based on religion — to be unleashing the CAA-NRC-NPR agenda is to basically try and give The Hindu Rashtra a constitutional base. I’m totally against this Hindutva agenda which I think is sinister and anti-India,” said Bhaskar in an exclusive interview with Gulf News tabloid in December last year.
Image Credit: IANS
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Radhika Apte: The acclaimed actress was one of the first Bollywood actresses to hail the guilty verdict in disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault and rape case during a visit to Dubai on February 25. The verdict is being perceived as a turning point in the #MeToo movement around the globe. “It’s the right way of moving forward… A lot of injustice has been done to women and men who go through sexual harassment at work and it’s high time we speak about it,” said Apte in an exclusive interview with Gulf News tabloid last month. “#MeToo has brought about a lot of change as people [predators] would think twice before doing anything. There are so many people whose names haven’t come out yet. People have taken sides out of fear. There’s a lot that hasn’t come out,” warned Apte.
Image Credit: IANS
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Kareena Kapoor Khan: She may not be vocal about political issues in India, but Kareena Kapoor Khan seems to have figured out the secret formula behind keeping it together in her career and personal life. The mother of a three-year-old has a simple formula. “I fall, I falter and I get up,” said Kapoor Khan in an exclusive interview with Gulf News tabloid! ahead of the release of her March 12th film ‘Angrezi Medium’. “I take it one day at a time. Every day is a journey and every day is a learning experience with your little one and your work. Every day I learn something new … I am a first time mother and I always tell myself that it’s OK even if I did something wrong. I am going to learn from my fall and from all my mistakes. I don’t have a blueprint plan on what’s going to happen in my life or career. But that’s OK too.”
Image Credit: Instagram/therealkareenakapoor