Ever since the brutal crime from Hyderabad has come out in the open, the entire nation is boiling in rage on the same. Most of the citizens are unanimous in their demand for the maximum punishment possible for the criminals arrested, while some people are using this situation to their own advantage. Such people are now peddling the ignominious propaganda of India being grossly unsafe as a country for women.
However, actress Rani Mukerji had a rather nuanced and practical take on the sensitive issue. During the promotion of ‘Mardaani 2’, Rani mentioned in an interview, “I think the headline of this film should be, making women aware… Let’s not be blinded by things and accept that these things are happening… You have to be aware and tackle them.”
At the same time, when she was asked on whether India is safe for women, Rani spoke nonchalantly, “As a parent, you want your children to be independent but then you also want to make it safe for them. So how do you balance…? It is a responsibility on us to go out there and be aware… so that you are equipped. There are so many countries in the world that are unsafe for women or generally. You can’t put a trademark on any country that this country is very safe.”
Indeed, no place can be labelled the safest as sexual crimes against women take place across the world in the most heinous of ways. Hyderabad, itself labelled as one of the topmost safest metropolitans for women in India, today stands shook with the heinous gang-rape and murder of a 27 year-old vet.
In an industry, where elite celebrities have no qualms in shaming India on gender issues with absurd parameters, it is rather refreshing to see such a statement from Rani Mukerji. However, this isn’t the only instance where Rani has been sensible enough.
Last year, during the Actresses Roundtable hosted by noted critic Rajeev Masand, Rani Mukerji had stressed on the fact that women should learn to fight up for themselves. To quote her views, “I think as a woman you have to be that powerful within yourself, you have to believe that you’re so powerful that if you ever come into a situation like that you have the courage to say ‘back off.’ I think you have to have the courage to be able to protect yourself.”
Rani Mukerji did not deter from her controversial statement and further added that martial arts and self-defence should be made compulsory in schools, while saying that “you have to take the responsibility of your own self. You can’t tell mothers how to bring up their children.”
Deepika Padukone and Anushka Sharma, not only criticized her, but also tried to belittle her for the same. Apart from that, various users peddled lots of nonsense against Rani Mukerji over the same topic. It is ironic for our nation, that we cry hoarse on every problem, but also belittle the people who try to find effective solutions for the same.
Likewise, when Sandeep Reddy Vanga suggested increasing the level of fear in the punishment for the criminals found guilty of sexual crimes, he was mercilessly hounded by self appointed custodians of the society, just because the director of ‘Kabir Singh’ and ‘Arjun Reddy’ explained the complexity of human relationships to Anupama Chopra, as he bashed the critics left right and centre for their absurd reviews.
In such a scenario, Rani Mukerji’s views are not laudable, but also welcome. Her views are a refreshing relief from the muck usually spread by elite Bollywood, be it demonizing an entire religion for demanding an impartial enquiry in the Kathua case, or justifying the crimes of the Turkish Sultanate while criticizing the glorification of Rani Padmini in ‘Padmaavat’.