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Polarities Between People Widening In The Country: Ratna Pathak Shah

A still from 'Khoobsurat'.

A still from 'Khoobsurat'.

Ratna Pathak Shah is worried about the widening gap between people in the country.

Mumbai: Ratna Pathak Shah is worried about the widening gap between people in the country and believes it is the time people united to fight against the agenda that is being spread. The actress, whose latest film Lipstick Under My Burkha had run into trouble with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), says it is sad the word liberal has acquired a negative connotation today.

On whether the censor board was always as rigid as it is today, Ratna, in an interview to PTI, says, "No. They were always silly in what they were chopping and cutting, but I
don't think there was such a serious agenda. Now, there seems to be an agenda. I can't shake off that feeling. I would like to fight that agenda."

Ratna says it is ironic that women in the country are considered a minority and it is troubling that only the majoritarian idea is acceptable. "That's one of my greatest fears about what's happening in our country today, how it is going to affect minorities - the women. Women are not even minorities, considering we are 50 percent of the population but in everyone's head, we are. "Anything beyond the majoritarian idea is not acceptable today. That's a very dangerous state to be in and that must be fought."

The Kapoor & Sons actress is, however, happy to see people taking up the fight on the Internet and beyond. "It will be a tough fight. We are in for really hard times in our country. The polarities are becoming wider, there seems to be no desire to bring people together in the country. Unfortunately, I see this replicated in many parts of the world," she says.

The 60-year-old actress is pained to see how people have turned "the whole idea of modernity on its head". "It's devastating to me because I've personally invested in the way of looking at the world with reason, acceptance, and openness rather than with rules and refusals. Liberal has become a bad word, that's a gaali (abuse) today.

"This idea flowered, bloomed, showed us how beautiful it can be and it's beginning to wither. What are we going to do to protect that flower? How are we going to see that it doesn't wither? That's our fight."

The actress says she is not worried about the present generation but the future is what she is concerned about. "We have messed up the whole world, we will be out of it very soon but it's the young ones who will have to fight. We have to be prepared for all interventions. But just because it's going to be tough, should it not be done? It has to be done."

Can art break the patriarchal, regressive mindset people have? Ratna believes if not change, it can surely make people rethink the notions and perhaps challenge them. "Art makes us look at the world with a different perspective. When a person makes a film like Masaan, he is asking you to see things that you haven't seen before. It's forcing you to accept a reality that exists.

"When you see Fandry and Court, they shake you up. So, that is one of the big roles that cinema plays. It makes you aware, question and may show a path that you can take."