Having dealt with taboo topics such as menstrual health and sanitation though his films, Akshay Kumar is now attempting to break gender stereotypes. And, he offers us some real life examples to emphasise the need for gender-based equality, reported India Today.
“There is a lady who manages the finances of her house, corporate finance and the finance of our country. She was in the Defence Ministry earlier. The change is happening,” said the actor at a promotional event of his upcoming film Mission Mangal. Akshay was referring to female Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who has garnered a lead position in the government, which was until now seen as a strictly “male domain”.
Likewise, his upcoming film chronicles the struggles of five women scientists as they embark on a mission to send a satellite to Mars. The characters have been essayed by Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari and Nithya Menon.
However, Akshay is unwilling ready to call Mission Mangal a ”women-oriented” film. “I feel irritated when someone says the film has a women-oriented subject. What do you mean by women-oriented? If we are equal, then there should not be anything as male-oriented or female-oriented, it should just be a film. That’s what I feel,” he said.
Akshay also revealed his intention behind choosing the project. “I’ve made this film mainly for children so that they feel encouraged to become scientists. Scientist as a profession is not very likeable, but now, people are becoming more aware of the need and importance of them. I hope this film conveys what a great profession it is.”
The Khiladi star also spoke on the need to provide equal opportunities to children. “Right from my childhood, I’ve seen parents who discourage a girl if she aspires to be a scientist or an engineer on the excuse that these are male-dominated professions,” he commented. “Instead, they encourage the child to become a doctor or a nurse or choose any other woman-dominated profession. Even our history books do not tell us stories of women, rather they emphasise mostly on men. I think the time has come to change this and the process has already started.”
Before Akshay, his Mission Mangal co-star Sonakshi also shared a similar stance. The Noor star is one of the main choices for films led by female protagonists. With hardcore entertainers like Dabangg, R Rajkumar and Rowdy Rathore, Sonakshi has a problem with films being labelled “women-centric” because she feels no one categorises a project as male-centric when Salman Khan or Akshay Kumar play the lead.
With her upcoming film Khandaani Shafakhana, Sonakshi is again aiming to prove that women-centric films can also be entertaining and the industry should do away with this tag.
In an earlier interview with The Indian Express, the actor said, “I just want this whole thing of calling a film led by a female artiste ‘woman centric’ to go away because when Akshay (Kumar) or a Salman (Khan) do a film, no one calls it a ‘male-centric’. A film is a film. Period. We should stop categorising them. We should treat them as equals.”
Mission Mangal, directed by Jagan Shakti, hits theatres on August 15.
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