Farhan Akhtar has been one of the prominent voices on gender parity and even launched the MARD (Men Against Rape & Discrimination) campaign. On International Women's Day, he's come out with a song for women titled 'We All Are On The Good Side' with FarOut Media.
He spoke about that and more in conversation with ScoopWhoop. Here are edited excerpts:
The song was inspired by my daughter when she was seven-years-old. The art work you will see in the song is an adaptation of what she had drawn. It really was a moving image that she drew from a personal point of view and experiencing the world in a way before all the prejudices and biases.
She had drawn this heart with these 4 figures and written 'We all are on the good side' below it. I had told her then that I loved it and I will make it into a song. It later became this song, And with Women's Day here, it's the perfect day to talk about equality for women.
My daughter was very excited about the song. And she was at some level my co-writer on the song. It was fun for her to hear it and I am hoping at some point I could get her to do a little dub of it.
Here's the video:
Ever since the MARD campaign rolled out, what's your interaction with people been like about it?
People have been vocal about their opinions and thoughts about the MARD campaign. When they meet me, or email me, to express their thoughts on the initiative it definitely means something.
The more important thing, is that they are aware about the initiative and the cause spearheaded by MARD, and other NGOs. There is a sense of awareness among people that they all want to be involved, speed up and facilitate this kind of change for everyone to see.
As a filmmaker, what do you have to say about the portrayal of women in Bollywood? Is there anything that makes you cringe ?
There are two other areas that have been debated over and over again. One is the whole concept of item songs and the objectification of women. I feel in all honesty that women too have a choice, and they should use that choice to say NO when they feel that they are being objectified.
The second thing with the item song trend is that it is so in your face, even when it is promoted on television or you see it on the internet. You have a choice to not buy a ticket or not watch it on TV and Internet.
When filmmakers and audiences realise that it's no longer working is when they will feel the need to stop doing it.
The other aspect that troubles me, and I have spoken about it more often is that, is the depiction of women. Which I feel is changing.
What's your list of films where you felt the actress had a strong character and a message to give?
There is a film that released way back in 1960's, called Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? That was a great film that was made many many years ago. In recent times, Kangana Ranaut's Queen had a very powerful message. Julia Robert's Erin Brokovich and Angelina Jolie's A Mighty Heart'. Most of Meryl Streep films portray her as a strong woman.
There has been a long struggle to achieve balance and parity with all genders. I feel great men, on some level, have realized that we have to be a part of this solution. Where we can stand shoulder to shoulder with each other.