Circle of Friends: An Immersive Conversation On The Issues Facing Women | Verve Magazine - Part 7
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April 20, 2017

Circle of Friends: An Immersive Conversation On The Issues Facing Women

Text by Prabha Chandran

Aparna Sen, Lillete Dubey and Shabana Azmi, along with successful women from diverse fields, look into the issues concerning the contemporary woman


By now we have navigated some five courses of starters and our special guests are complaining that they are not the founts of all wisdom. So we bring our discussions to a close with a last question on how, in a career spanning decades, they have each nurtured their creativity. How do they replenish themselves? Shabana immediately responds: “For any artist, life must be your resource base. It cannot be others’ performances or things you see. You have to be interested in life and in people. Very early on, I learned an actor is her own instrument. I have only my body, mind and voice to give to the part. So how do I refine it? By actively moving out of this very small circle of movies and stardom. What happens in the process of stardom is that you become disconnected from life itself. I read books, study paintings, attend classical concerts — I even took the metro today before coming here. Isolation also happens to successful authors and politicians…they get surrounded by sycophants.”

Aparna mentions the incredible wealth shown in movies like Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. “We are only reflecting the fortunate few, the very rich in our films. I was wondering how rich are these people? Where does their wealth come from? Who are they? I was asking myself…you don’t see a challenged person? You don’t see marginalised people…a Mizo person? The citizenry of India comprises of north Indians only in our movies.”

And so the afternoon draws to a close after many mocktails and cocktails mixed with earthy wisdom and animated discussions around the table. We have made some important connections with each other and indeed ourselves. Like the characters in Sonata, we agree to make our choices – careful not to call them compromises – and strive towards goals; refusing to brand ourselves as anti-male even if we struggle with the vagaries of a man’s world. And a final request from the film-makers, if the discussion hasn’t piqued your curiosity: “Do see Sonata in a theatre, not on a plane or laptop, so that women-centric films can continue to attract investors.”

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