She is known to be vocal about socio-political issues but actress-filmmaker Renuka Shahane believes film stars are not considered important enough to voice their opinion in India and are often trolled for speaking out.
“It is unfortunate because generally people think that actors are earning too much money and they’re doing too little for the country. There is that kind of jealousy in the common public. So, when they get a chance to troll an actor for whatever he or she’s saying, they do it,” Shahane said.
The director says as actors pay their taxes, they have a right to speak out just like the celebrities in Hollywood.
“We are tax payers. We have a right to participate in all kinds of discussion. Also, it’s a democracy so, it’s our right.
Actors all over the world are taking serious stands about things be it climate change or political racism.
“If Hollywood can do that or Thailand or South Korea can do that, then why can’t we? Why actors here are not considered important enough to say things?”
The 51-year-old star, who is at the 10th edition of the NFDC Film Bazaar to pitch her story Tribhanga, says there is a need for more women storytellers as Indian films often don’t capture the patriarchy affecting urban women.
“I think very often urban India is not represented in Indian cinema, especially women. You get to see stories about rural India and the patriarchy that affects rural women. But, the patriarchy that is inherent and there in urban India, there’s nothing much about it,” Shahane says.
The actress says there should be more individual acceptance for women in the industry and they should be given equal focus just like their male co-actors.
“According to me projects by women, for women and of women should be made. We should deal with women as individuals without them being somebody’s wife, sister or mother. Hindi women-oriented films do chronicle such stories but men still play an important role in it, which should not happen.”
“Tribhanga” is the story of Nayan, Anu and Masha and weaves a complex tale that goes back and forth in time through the generations of the same family from the ’60s to the modern day.
Talking about her project Shahane says, “In my film, men are appendages, they just come and go. The idea for ‘Tribhanga’ came from the Odissi dance pose, which is asymmetrical yet so magical. There is something magical about imperfection. Through this, I want to show the strong presence of women, who are totally independent.”