Nandita Das
Indian film actress and director Nandita Das.Creative Commons/Raj Ravi

Actress Nandita Das, who has been associated with social work related to women empowerment and children welfare, opened up about how Indian films can contribute to the cause.

Nandita feels that Indian movies generally portray men as tough and independent, but women are shown in subordinate roles. Being chairperson of Children's Film Society, Nandita feels that such onscreen portrayal makes pre-defined roles of women and men in the minds of children.

The critically acclaimed actress opined that better representation of such characters are required to break the stereotype.

In a Twitter conversation with Youth Ki Awaaz, Nandita opened up about her thoughts on women empowerment and better films for children.

Below are the questions from Youth Ki Awaaz and respective responses from Nandita on Twitter:

Youth Ki Awaaz: @NanditaDas You are associated with a lot of rights-based causes. What makes you passionate about creating gender-neutral society and supporting the cause of education for girls?

Nandita: From the time I did my MSW I've been engaged in gender issues. It's shameful that we still have to demand equal space and opportunities for girls. My concern and engagement in the issue is through the advocacy work I do. We all must do our bit.

Youth Ki Awaaz: As Chairperson for the Children's Film Society, you promoted the making of children-centric films. How do you think that children's films can play a role to inform and educate the masses and shaping people's opinions about girls?

Nandita: Most of our films are supposed to be for 6-60yrs. Many have regressive dialogues, lyrics, stereotypical portrayals of men & women, lewd item nos. - greatly harming the kids. In my 3 yrs at CFSI, I realized why kids don't watch children's films. Most are dumbing them down.

Youth Ki Awaaz: How do you think pop-culture, movies and mass media can play a better a role in streamlining the conversation around education for girls in India?

Nandita: Images all around affect our perceptions - films, TV shows, ads portray men as tough, in control, bread-winners & women as wives, mothers, juggling work & life, always pretty - the roles get defined in a child's mind. Films that have better representation are needed, to inspire.