Sonam Kapoor speaks about objectifying actresses in Bollywood

Bollywood actors Sonam Kapoor and Fawad Khan at a promotional event for their upcoming movie 'Khoobsurat'. (SANSKRITI MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT)

Some may consider it a quirk of fate that while headlines across India are splashing actress Deepika Padukone’s face-off with one of the country’s top media houses for objectifying her female form to lure website hits, that a film of another out-spoken co-star would find itself at the cusp of its release with the title, ‘Khoobsurat’ (Beautiful).

Sonam Kapoor, who has ironically also been in the news in the past for allegedly not sharing warm vibes with her gutsy counterpart, defended Deepika’s very public stance, while falling back on the supportive adage, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

(SASNKRITI MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT)

“I am sorry that it happened to her. It’s obviously not right. I feel bad for her but I feel for the rest of us also,” Sonam told the media on the side-lines of promoting her film, ‘Khoobsurat’. “But the word ‘beautiful’ itself cannot be condemned as one of objectification.

“Being beautiful describes everything: from a sunset to a beach or a mountain, or even a female or a male form.

“I don’t think it’s objectifying it. Calling someone ‘sexy’ maybe considered objectifying. We may have pigeonholed women into that idea. But I don’t think that’s what it means or is meant to.”

The 28-year-old Sonam, who was in Dubai earlier this week to promote her upcoming romcom with Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, also said that actresses were objectified all the time, be it kissing scenes or wearing bikinis.

“But being ‘Khoobsurat’ is the exact opposite of that,” she stated. “You don’t have to look or dress a certain way to be beautiful or to bring beauty into someone’s life. Beauty is much wider. It’s an adjective. It all depends on how you use it.”

The actress, said her upcoming Disney release (screening cross UAE cinemas from today), gives a message of looking beyond the outer beauty.

She said: “The character I play tells you to simply be who you are, dress up how you want to and still be able to find a sense of beauty in that.”

(Bindu Suresh Rai)

A modern take on the 1980 Hrishikesh Mukherjee-directed film of the same name, Sonam essays the role immortalised by Rekha, playing a misfit who moves into a conservative household and opens up their lives to possibilities.

Quizzed whether Sonam was worried about Rekha’s dissection of her famous role and the younger actress said: “You have to understand, Rekha and my mom’s sister are best friends. My sister Rhea and I have grown up in front of her; when I have been sick in the past, she has dropped everything and popped over at home to take care of me. She is extended family.

(Sanskriti Media and Entertainment)

“The case will be that even if she doesn’t like my portrayal of a role she once played, she will only ever say good things about it. She loves us that much.

“In fact, we hold special screenings days in advance for Rekha whenever any film produced by the family. She is that special to us.”

Beyond films

‘Khoobsurat’, which has been co-produced by Sonam, Rhea and father Anil Kapoor’s company is a stepping stone for the actress to branch out from the front of the camera to a more well-rounded film base that includes production and possibly direction some day.

“My sister Rhea is my partner in every sense of the word; she’s my best friend, my business partner, my stylist, everything. I don’t want to comment on anything without her being with me, as it’s only fair that way, but I will say that our production house means a lot to us.

“Both of us have worked very hard to make ‘Khoobsurat’ the film it is today – in fact this role was written for me by Rhea – and we can only hope for bigger and better things for our company.”

Incidentally, not many recall but Sonam, who debuted in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘ Saawariya’ was also his Assistant Director on the film and 2005’s National Award winning film, ‘Black’.

(Bindu Suresh Rai)

Known for her impeccable style sense, which has won her accolades in Cannes and bagged her invites at some of the top fashion houses, Sonam also confessed that she is quite eager to launch her own fashion label some day.

“I do want to have a fashion brand some day. I think there is a space for High Street fashion that is inexpensive, yet trendy. But my sister and I are so busy building the production house, that fashion will take a backseat for now.”

Directed by Shashanka Ghosh, ‘Khoobsurat’ is also reportedly influenced by the 2001 Hollywood film ‘The Princess Diaries’. Sonam plays the role of a physiotherapist, who is hired by a royal family for her expertise, only to bring chaos to the household and have the heir to the princely throne, Viku (Fawad Khan) fall in love with her.

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