'Art films make me happy'

Right Balance

Having done films like ‘Earth’, ‘Fire’ and Firaaq, actress and director Nandita Das feels strongly about certain social issues, to which she allots a large portion of her time.

versatile Nandita DasSure enough, the actress was in the City to address and inspire the employees of SAP Labs to strike an equilibrium between their personal and work lives.

Jumping right into the discussion, Nandita says, “In a patriarchal system, all women are groomed to multi-task.” She then talks about the typical roles of men as breadwinners, and women as homemakers.

“But now that women are also earning for the family, men should give them a hand with housework,” she advises. According to Nandita, all roles should be respected and each woman must take a journey within herself to find the right balance for her.

“If one is unhappy juggling several roles, it isn’t going to help her or anybody else,” she continues. Her idea of a true partner, be it a husband or wife, is one who shares responsibilities, to shape a more holistic life for one another.

When asked about how she manages to work while maintaining a healthy personal life, not to mention taking on additional activities of her own interest, Nandita laughs. “I love working for women’s rights, making good children’s films and writing for magazines — these are all threads that lead to a common goal, which is to interact with different people from all walks of life.” After a pause, she adds introspectively, “Things keep changing in life. Everything finds its own place.”

Despite having left her mark in the film industry, Nandita admits that she barely watches mainstream cinema. “Art films make me happy,” she says. She prefers the movies that she chooses to deal with real journeys and real relationships. “Whether the characters are strong or vulnerable, they must represent real life characters with interesting journeys; because that’s how life is — with intricacies and complexities that can’t be avoided.”

She then goes on to describe two of her upcoming movies that deal with the issues of fishermen in the South, and the problems of tribal groups in India, “Problems,” she adds, “That are out of our consciousness.”

Expressing her revolutionary vision for the country, as well as the world, Nandita shakes her head. “There is no one remedy or one pill,” she says reflectively. “I would want a world with no discrimination,” she finally decides.

After a moment’s consideration, she adds, “Where human beings can be treated for who they are — without considering each one’s baggage — be it gender, caste or religion.That way, the world would be a much better place,” she concludes.

 

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