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'One should not play the woman card all the time'

By SAMEENA RAZZAQ
December 07, 2021 10:24 IST
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'#MeToo is very empowering but I think there has been a lot of collateral damage at the same time, which I feel is very wrong.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Chitrangda Singh/Instagram

Chitrangda Singh returns to the screens with Bob Biswas.

In the first part of this interview, she revealed that to look beautiful, you have to live a very boring life.

Why don't we see her more often in the movies? She tells Rediff.com Contributor Sameena Razzaq, "I think over the last 10 years that I have been here, I haven't really done that much work because of my family situation. I have been in and out of my career at different points."

How do you look at the competition in the industry with so many young actresses coming in? Do you feel a sense of insecurity sometimes?

Not really. I think over the last 10 years that I have been here, I haven't really done that much work because of my family situation.

I have been in and out of my career at different points.

But I don't think it's really been about competition for me because I don't think I was ever in that kind of race to start with.

If there is a part written for young people, it will be written in a certain way. If there is a part written for a certain age group, it will be written differently.

I think there is enough work for everybody right now.

I don't think there is pressure of competing with somebody but there will always be pressure of getting good work.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Chitrangda Singh/Instagram

You spent almost the entire lockdown in the mountains. What did you discovered about yourself there?

I may sound cliched, but I discovered what is real happiness is.

Being in that space really made me feel happy maybe because I was not in a city, stuck in a house.

I was trekking, we went fishing... the whole household shifted to Pahalgam in a cottage. Our dogs were with us.

It just felt like I was living a dream like I don't have to go back to work, I don't have to do anything. I am just living everyday as it comes.

There was no pressure of planning.

There was no pressure of going to meetings or not having meetings to go to.

There was no pressure of having a shoot.

It was like you are living in a vacuum, you are living a lovely life.

Family, friends and time like that heals you. It makes you healthy from inside.

Even success doesn't fix you like that.

Even a fantastic shoot will not fix you like that.

I am not one of those people who would sit on a mountain top and do meditation.

I have never done any meditation in my life.

I have never believed in such things.

But it really changed something.

It made me happy all the time for no reason!

 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Chitrangda Singh/Instagram

You walked out of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz citing discomfort while performing an intimate scene with Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Despite movements like #MeToo, do you think sexual harassment is still rampant that actresses have to face time and again?

See, women for as long back as you can think of have ventured out of the house and worked.

I don't think it's just the film industry.

I have friends in the corporate world, and they have gone through similar and far more difficult experiences.

It's rampant, it's everywhere.

I don't want to sound crass but even a woman who goes to work in the fields in the village has to handle a certain amount of male gaze. So it's everywhere.

Having said that, I think there is a lot of awareness about these issues now and a lot of women are standing up to it.

In the end, it's the choice of those two people and we are nobody to decide whether it is right or wrong.

In that sense, this film industry is such an amazing place because there is absolutely no coercion, no pressure. You have a free will, whether you are walking out or walking in.

I feel a lot of things are exaggerated because people are ready to believe the worst when it comes to the film industry, which is not true. 

It is not fair to demonise it.

This is me talking, someone who is not from the film industry. I can tell you this out of my own experience.

#MeToo is very empowering but I think there has been a lot of collateral damage at the same time, which I feel is very wrong.

Bollywood is still very male-dominated. Do you think it is possible for women to survive on their own terms here?

Absolutely! I am sitting here and talking to you at the promotions of Bob Biswas after having walked out of something that I felt was wrong. That's a choice I made, right?

I am sure a lot of men also make their choices and walk out of projects for their own reasons but nobody talks about that.

So, yes of course, you can survive.

Ekta Kapoor is such a successful woman. She has paid her dues and proved herself.

I am sorry to say this but one should not play the woman card all the time.

If you are among the first few female producers, prove yourself and make it easier for the women who are coming.

WATCH: '#MeToo is very empowering but I think there has been a lot of collateral damage at the same time, which I feel is very wrong.' Video: Afsar Dayatar/Rediff.com

Bollywood is very competitive, and involves a lot of aggressive networking. You are a single mother. How do you make time for your son?

This is slightly personal and I don't think I would want to talk about this. All I want to say is that I have the luxury of choosing what I want to do or don't.

There are women, who go to work and have to swipe a card at 9 in the morning and have to get back and manage their whole network as well. It's tough on women everywhere, who are choosing to work, especially if you are in a traditional Indian set up where you are managing a lot of other things as well.

It is far more difficult for these women than it is for me. I think I have it far easier.

You will be seen in Gaslight as a parallel lead with Sara Ali Khan and Vikrant Massey. What made you say yes to it?

The script it is just amazing! I have not been a part of an exciting script like Gaslight.

It is probably the most exciting script I have read in a long time.

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SAMEENA RAZZAQ