Today’s India – deaf, mute and apathetic to women and their problems, cries out for ‘Kali’. A Hindu goddess worshipped as the destroyer of evil forces; the symbol of empowerment and shakti.
It is this Kali who inspires us women folk to call out on the evil forces around us and draw from her the power to change the world and destroy all that pulls us down.
And that is what seven women are doing – asking questions, taking stock and looking at their lives and transforming themselves in director Pan Nalin’s movie the Angry Indian Goddesses.
The movie is a buddy movie. It is about a set of friends who get together and set out to rediscover themselves, celebrate life and enjoy the company of each other. It shows how when women get together they have the power to not only transform themselves but things around them.
Of the seven Angry Indian Goddess portraying a mother, wife, sister, friend, lover, we spoke to five of them about their lives, roles, being a woman and what makes the goddesses angry. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:
Sandhya Mridul – ‘Su’ Suranjana
Sandhya is an established actor and a familiar face from Bollywood. She plays the character of a ‘Su’ aka Suranjana a corporate woman with a six-year-old child and a troubled marriage. Sandhya says, she relates to the challenges women face in the context of work-life balances. “I share the frustration with my
character about work life balance. I also have friends who have constant guilt as mother as they haven’t given up on their career and mother’s who are frustrated because they have given up on their career for their children. So finding that balance is a challenge.”For Sandhya, vulnerability and strength go hand in hand. “Women who are strong also have the capability to show immense strength,” she says. Sandhya makes a strong point about the abuse women face especially mental abuse, which according to her is often hard to identify and address and it is something which she wants to raise awareness about.
Angry Indian Goddesses, she emphasises is not about male bashing but is about women and their voices. Her message to women is to get themselves heard. “Just don’t feel ashamed about expressing yourself, being who you are. Stop pleasing other. Eat what you want, wear what you want- just live for yourself.”
On why the goddesses are angry she says, “There is a lot to be angry about. The goddesses come with a huge responsibility. They will voice a lot of things that have not been verbalized.”
Anushka Manchanda – ‘Mad’ Madhureeta
Anushka is an animal lover who supports a lot of NGOs working on animal welfare. We remember her from
the all girl band VIVA, as a Channel V VJ and as the voice behind popular Bollywood songs. “I have been fortunate to grow up in a household where I have always had freedom of expression and that ability to express myself defines me as a woman,” she says.She believes that education is the key to women’s empowerment. If women have education they can go far with it. Drawing from a dialogue from the movie Angry Indian Goddesses she says, “It is unfortunate that women don’t stand up for each other. This is something we need to change.”
In reality Anoushka is a very positive, diplomatic and non-confrontational person. This is very different from her character in the movie where she essays a confrontational, first to get into a fight, and aggressive role. “Since “Mad” Madhureeta is so unlike me, it was liberating to be her, shares Anoushka with a smile. Though Mad falls into the dark side quiet often, I am a much more positive person in real life.”
As to why the goddesses are angry, she says, “There is no other way to be. Look at what is happening to women in our country, and how desensitized we have become to it. The only way to bring a change is to first feel something; not be passive or apathetic. That is why the goddesses are angry.”
Pavleen Gujral – Pam aka Pamela Jaiswal
Pavleen is an anchor, model, actor, stylist and calls herself a “Woman of today. I get to do whatever I want in my life.” However, she says, “Women deserve respect, for the choices they make and for who they are.”
A computer engineer and a lawyer, she never knew she would be a part of the movie industry. In the movie she plays a typical Delhi girl, Pamela Jaiswal. But unlike her character who is a bit subdued and trapped in her life, Pavleen has been fortunate to be surrounded by very supportive people.
For Pavleen, “The movie is not about delivering a message but it is about people finding their own message or value.”
Also according to her, “It is a celebration of life and how when women get together they can have fun just like the boys. How women when they get together have the power to create their own world and stop themselves from following their heart.”
Talking about the goddesses being angry she says, “When women have been through enough, the climax is anger.”
Rajshree Deshpande – Laxmi
Rajshree has been into advertising, movies and TV and says, “I am a very strong person, a go-getter. I am a fighter and I am fearless but I am also emotional.”
Talking about the movie she says, “The movie has characters that are real. When you look at them you will realise that they resemble elements or traits of someone in your circle. With this movie we want to be the change in society. We want women to recognise the power they have and give it a voice.”
Pavleen’s message to the women is, “be yourself.”
Sarah-Jane Dias – Freida
Sarah is a former Channel V VJ and Miss India 2007 who says, “Frieda and I are as much similar as we are different. What was interesting for me was to find those similarities and differences.”
Talking about the similarities between reel life and real life in this case Sarah says, “We are both calm until repeatedly provoked, we are both lovers of all things and people, we are both emotionally charged.”
The one thing Sarah would want to do for women is make physical defense classes compulsory for all girls and ensure women are physically strong.
Angry Indian Goddesses is just one step towards reaching out to women and empowering them to speak up.
Time to be yourself and let your voice be heard. What say ladies? Let’s unleash the Kali within us all.