Action For Change

Akshay Kumar believes that before teaching our women self-defence, boys should be taught to respect women since change needs to come from men and boys themselves

9/2/2017 6:35:29 PM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

Film star Akshay Kumar has been padding up for social causes. He recently co-produced and starred in Toilet Ek Prem Katha, a movie highlighting the problem of open defecation and the lack of toilets in India? He will soon be seen in wife Twinkle Khanna’s production, Padman, based on Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social entrepreneur from Coimbatore who invented a low-cost sanitary pad making machine. The box office success of his latest release, which is said to have crossed over Rs 100 crore, goes to prove that cinema can entertain as well as educate.

Kumar spoke to India Se, in an exclusive email interview, just before the release of Toilet Ek Prem Katha.

India Se: Recently Aamir Khan too has been working on women’s empowerment issues such as Dangal and Secret Superstar? Do you think Bollywood is changing and will that have an impact on society?

Akshay Kumar: Cinema as a medium is a great way to storytell and share messages with a world audience. You can entertain and inspire in equal measure. Bollywood is surely changing with the times and a lot of this has to do with giving writers courage and freedom of expression, which is the biggest key to what will take our industry to a new and interesting level. It’s not just about making films bigger and more expensive -- the smallest of films can be just as life-changing as a million-dollar project, if not more. It’s just how it’s accepted, viewed and understood that makes the difference. India is becoming so vocal about issues and human rights that larger audiences are far more accepting about offbeat films, movies with messages, and controversial dramas. India doesn’t like sweeping things under the rug anymore. We may have magic carpets, but even they are not enough to remove the various social concerns that need to be addressed in our country. I’m all for talking about, promoting and creating as much awareness as I can. I believe that change only happens if you do something about it.

India Se: You have been a great proponent of teaching self-defence to women. But don’t you think it is important for us to teach boys correct behaviour and values as well?

Akshay Kumar: Of course, it is important. Before teaching our women self-defence, it is imperative that boys are taught to respect women since change needs to come from men and boys themselves.

Men who treat women with disrespect should be ashamed of themselves. As parents, my wife and I both directly and indirectly convey to Aarav the importance of not only protecting but empowering women, too. This also means helping them to recognise and critique sexism and misogyny. It also means supporting them to resist prejudices based on disrespect and aggression towards women and encouraging them to take a stand against unacceptable behaviour. But, above all, it also means helping girls and women feel and be empowered.

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