Sushmita Mukherjee: Am not a feminist who burns bra
Lonavala: Actress Sushmita Mukherjee continues to perform her one-act play “Nari Bai” for three years now. While several things have changed in the course of time, with a collective consciousness on women empowerment, gender equality, violence on women, Sushmita says that the play holds relevance because the protagonist is the seed of change.
Recently she staged the play at the LIFFT India Filmostsav 2019 that has started from December 12 and will continue till December 16.
“I am not one of those feminists who would burn her bra to prove a point. I do not make any major changes in my play to make it relevant in the present time. My central character ‘Naribai’, who is a prostitute, carries a seed of change and that is why it holds relevance all the time. I do not specifically go by a Nirbhaya case or of the recent Priyanka Reddy incident because I believe that we are living on one planet. Anywhere in the world, one person is killed in the name of God, one woman has faced violence on the basis of gender, or a forest is burning due to climate change — all these affect all of us. It has a domino effect,” Sushmita told IANS.
“Being an artiste, I believe that art does not need to be preachy. Rather, it should plant the seed of change in the mind of the audience. My protagonist is a prostitute — we all are. We all are selling something of our life — body, mind, soul. That way, we all are prostitutes,” said the actress who appeared in TV shows like “Karamchand” and “Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo”, and in films like “Khalnayak” and “Rudaali”.
Starting her career in Doordarshan, the actress has observed and she became a part of the change in the business of entertainment.
Asked about how she looks at the changing image of elderly female characters in cinema, Sushmita said: “Your generation is seeing change because we, over the past 35 years, have questioned the norms. There is a change in consciousness and change is the only way to stay relevant. We cannot stop change but we should watch in which direction society is changing.”
“Those areas of society that were called the ‘cow belts’ are now much appreciated and that is a great thing,” she added.
Has Bollywood has given her a deserving opportunity? “I was never part of the game of Bollywood because that has a lot to do with acting and more, and you cannot play cricket with the rule of tennis. As an artist, I can act, write, direct. I am doing all these things on stage. To be a film actress, I would also have to have a good network, befriend influential people. These days, I would also have to make my presence felt on social media and big Bollywood parties. But I am more interested in working on my craft as an actor,” she replied.
“I am not commenting on whether the rule of the game is right or wrong for an actor. I am saying I don’t fit in there. Of course, when any filmmaker thinks that I am suited for a part in a film, I get work. I don’t complain, because that only bring bitterness,” she signed off.
The LIFFT (Literature, Illusion, Film Frame TV & Theatre) India Filmostsav 2019 will present over 250 films in various categories from 40 countries and open to public till December 16 in Lonavala, Maharashtra. There will be conversation sessions with many international filmmakers and actors at LIFFT India, which is founded by Riju Bajaj and will take place at Fariyas Resort.