Shabana Azmi: Need to change the way we bring up boys

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Shabana Azmi: Need to change the way we bring up boys

Actress Shabana Azmi wonders why society is caught with particular concepts about masculinity, from telling boys not to play with dolls to telling them not to cry. She says it’s important to deal with patriarchy and the notion of masculinity at the start, to change issues for girls in addition to males.

“Many years ago, when I was a Member of Parliament, I was on a committee that was set up by the chief minister’s wife on the scourge of female foeticide. Many steps at that point were taken and one feels that ultimately, it is based in patriarchy. The belief that a boy should be privileged at birth because of being born male — that discrimination against the girl child exists all through her childhood, adolescence and then later adulthood,” Shabana instructed IANS whereas speaking about her movie, “Kaali Khuhi”, which explores the subject of feminine infanticide by way of lens of horror.

“What we need to do is to tackle patriarchy, because patriarchy affects not only women but also men. Men also internalise. We have definite ideas of how a man should behave. Boys should never cry — why shouldn’t they? Why is it looked down upon?” she added.

The actress continued: “Why do we, at the age of three, decide that girls should be playing with dolls and the minute a boy decides to play with dolls we say, ‘haww, this is terrible’. All this stratification that starts sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously, is what we need to really get to the root of.”

She cited her son Farhan Akhtar’s MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination) for example to elborate on her level.

“For instance, my son Farhan. He runs an organisation called MARD, which asks that we redefine masculinity. Why is masculinity about brute power and muscle power? Why isn’t it about passion or compassion? Why isn’t it about gentility, gentleness, compassion, or kindness?” she requested.

There are many questions, and the solutions lie in tracing the root trigger, and altering — which Shabana feels is a “huge battle that one has to fight”.

“It is all very well that we say that we need to bring up our daughters as independent, and we are doing a good job of it. But until and unless we change the male and the notion of masculinity by bringing up our sons differently from how we bring them up, this scourge is not going to end. It is a huge battle that one has to fight. So, whatever steps can be taken (should be taken), film being a very important medium, particularly because it is told in a story form,” added the daughter of late Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi.

Mention that one wants to contain males to change issues for girls, Shabana added: “(Change) the way we bring up our boys definitely.”

On display, the acclaimed artiste will subsequent be seen bringing alive the complexities of the character of Satya Maasi, who’s haunted by her personal previous in “Kaali Khuhi”.

Set in a Punjab village, the Netflix Original movie traces the journey of a lady named Shivangi (Riva Arora), who’s put to the final check when she witnesses her household getting engulfed in the secrets and techniques of a mysterious nicely.

“It was the script that resonated with me. It was very interesting that the issue of female infanticide was being tackled through this. I would hesitate to call it a horror film. I think it’s more like a dark thriller. Because if you call it horror then there are some precondition responses. You think there will be lots of prosthetics and you feel, ‘oh God, there are going to be these jump shots’. But the fact that it was being told through a story that held your attention made it more effective in reaching out to audiences,” mentioned the National Award successful actress whereas speaking about the elements that drew her in the direction of the challenge.

Directed by debutant Terrie Samundra, the movie additionally options Sanjeeda Shaikh, and Satyadeep Mishra. It will launch on October 30.

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