I have learned to manage my expectations when it comes to Bollywood celebrities taking a stand, especially when it comes to any real issue. When they do it, I retweet because I’ve been raised right by my parents. When they don’t, I swallow my disappointment and look at slo-mo videos of cakes being iced for therapy.
So when International Women’s Day rolled around, I was pretty much prepared with my saved collection of icing videos because my incessant social media usage had given me an inkling of what to expect from Bollywood. But I was still disappointed because I’m a human and I still believe that an owl is going to land up in my house at any minute now with my previously-misplaced Hogwart’s letter.
I appreciate a good post about appreciating the women that have helped in shaping the lives of the people we follow and look up to, but with the current global atmosphere of #TimesUp, violence against women and awareness about gender pay gap, these appeared a little tone-deaf.
But credit should be given where credit is due, a lot of celebrities, including Manoj Bajpayee, did express their disdain at the way people started wildly speculating about Irrfan Khan’s confession that he had been diagnosed with a rare disease, despite his request to not turn it into click-batey headlines and rumours.
Aside from the usual gym-fies (that’s ‘gym selfies’ for the uninitiated) and plugs for upcoming movies, here are the posts that stood out this week:
After doing a rather confusing Oscars ‘Best Dressed’ round up on her Instagram Stories, Priyanka decided to turn into an interviewer for Women’s Day and quiz her co-stars about things like their female role models and what they feel about a day dedicated to celebrating women.
The candid livestream was fun and it was heartwarming to see the easy camaraderie between Priyanka and the people she has worked with, especially Ranveer Singh.
The duo discussed Ranveer’s impressive ability to carry off skirts (after Ranveer revealed that Zoya Akhtar made everyone wear skirts on the set of Gully Boy for Women’s Day), and the important women in his life. Ranveer jokingly admonished Priyanka for putting him on the spot by interrogating him on a livestream and turned the tables on her, asking her when she is doing a Bollywood project next. Priyanka promised that some announcement is coming soon.
She also highlighted the women who play a key role in her achieving her goal of world domination.
Katrina Kaif is quickly becoming one of the most ‘fun’ celebrities to follow on Instagram. Her Instagram Stories offer a BTS look of her glamorous on-screen life, including clips of her getting dolled up or dozing off between shots.
Shah Rukh Khan claims that his recent posts, from the sets of their upcoming film Zero, go through Katrina Kaif, who was disappointed in his last selfie.
Irrfan Khan released a statement on his Twitter account earlier this week that claimed that he was suffering from a rare disease and he would appreciate it if people didn’t speculate as to what the diagnosis could be and wish the best for him.
Regardless of his wishes, news channels and websites rushed to claim they had exclusive intel on what the diagnosis might be and other baseless rumours.
With everything that has happened in the past couple of weeks, Arjun Kapoor’s latest Instagram post, featuring an inspiring quote from author R.M Drake, was hard to not be affected by:
All the Bollywood men
Women’s Day brings out a lot of conflicting emotions in me. While I appreciate a whole day celebrating women and their accomplishments, it also feels frivolous when it gets reduced to discounts on brands and ‘motivational’ social media campaigns.
This year I was reminded of another reason why this day frustrates me.
Like every year, Bollywood men posted and tweeted pictures of the women in their lives and gushed about the way they’ve made them the men they were. Don’t get me wrong, I have a heart. Most of the posts were actually really sweet and heartwarming but they were also disappointing in their predictability and passiveness.
I’m not insinuating that it’s the obligation of celebrities to take stands and talk about social issues, but it seems like a waste of opportunity as an influencer of such large scale if you keep mum about issues like gender pay gap. There have been several reports that Bollywood has a gaping wage gap problem between male and female stars. This year has seen the conversation about sexual intimidation of women in the workplace gain momentum across the globe, but Bollywood men seem curiously silent about it.
Again, it’s their prerogative what they want to share on their social media, but it seemed hypocritical for influential men like Amitabh Bachchan, Karan Johar and Varun Dhawan to talk about celebrating women and respecting them, while not even acknowledging the struggles faced by the women they work with everyday.