Bollywood starlet Deepika Padukone, who recently won the respect of many after openly speaking out about her battle with depression, stars in a powerful new short film, My Choice, part of Vogue India’s social awareness initiative #VogueEmpower.
The short film has been directed by Homi Adajania and produced by JSW and Sangita Jinda and is based on a piece written by Kersi Khambatta.
The video stars 99 women including the likes of director Adhuna Akhtar, Bollywood critic Anupama Chopra, model/lawyer Scherezade Shroff, actor Nimrat Kaur and other women who have made a difference in their respective careers.
Adhuna Akhtar. YOUTUBE SCREENGRAB
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When asked why the director used 99 women in particular, she replied: "I liked the idea of telling people I originally had 100 women planned but God said the last one was too busy right now.”
Nimrat Kaur. YOUTUBE SCREENGRAB
During the course of the short film, these women tell viewers all the things as they see as their right.
Here is a transcript of the film:
My body, my mind, my choice
To wear the clothes I like; even if my spirit roams naked
My choice; to be a size 0 or a size 15
They don’t have a size for my spirit, and never will
To use cotton and silk to trap my soul is to believe that you can halt the expansion of the universe
Or capture sunlight in the palm of your hand
Your mind is caged, let it free
My body is not
Let it be
To marry, or not to marry
To have sex before marriage, to have sex out of marriage, or to not have sex
To love temporarily, or to lust forever
To love a man, or a woman, or both
Remember; you are my choice, I’m not your privilege
The bindi on my forehead, the ring on my finger, adding your surname to mine, they’re all ornaments and can be replaced
My love for you cannot, so treasure that
My choice; to come home when I want
Don’t be upset if I come home at 4am
Don’t be fooled if I come home at 6pm,
My choice; to have your baby or not
To pick you from 7 billion choices or not
So don’t get cocky
My pleasure might be your pain
My songs, your noise
My order, your anarchy
Your sins, my virtues
My choices are like my fingerprints
They make me unique
I am the tree of the forest
I am the snowflake not the snowfall
You are the snowflake
Get out of the shit storm
I choose to empathise
Or to be indifferent
I choose to be different
I am the universe
Infinite in every direction
This is my choice
"In my family, my father is the only male in the house, but all of us have a voice," says Padukone.
Deepika Padukone. YOUTUBE SCREENGRAB
"I've always been allowed to be who I want to be. When you're not caged, when you don't succumb to expectation, that's when you're empowered."
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The powerful initiative, launched with the magazine’s seventh anniversary issue, aims to encourage people to think and act in ways on issues pertaining to women’s empowerment.
Previously, the same initiative came up with another video on domestic violence. The video, titled “Larke nai rotay,” (boys don’t cry), shows boys being told they are not 'supposed' to cry 'like girls' since a very young age.
It ends with a shot of a man about to tear up while hitting his wife/girlfriend, and stars Madhuri Dixit who says, "Instead of telling boys not to cry, we should tell them not make girls cry."
#VogueEmpower’s message is rather simple: It starts with you.
The short film originally appeared in Vogue India, and can be viewed there.