Spotlight: Our heroes can cry

Is there a need to celebrate International Men’s Day? Well, there have always been two schools of thought about celebrating such days. One questions why we need such days to celebrate male or female and other relationships, while the second believes it is important to have such days.

I am inclined towards the second school of thought. I am all for celebrating occasions such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Women’s Day, and Men’s Day. All these special days should be celebrated. It is like celebrating a festival such as Diwali.

International Men’s Day is a day when I like to show my love to my father and brother.

Very few people know that I come from a family of pilots, and I have been influenced by men in my life. I started acting at the age of 16. I wanted to take a risk and had those rebellious qualities in me.

So even though my family has been associated with aviation, I chose a different path. I have got these qualities from my grandfather who was in the Air Force during the pre Independence era.

He went to America and Russia to get trained and it was amazing. At a time when it was difficult for people to get trained in driving, he was learning how to fly a plane. He was vice chief in the Air Force and my father was a commanding officer in a squadron. He used to teach young pilots, while my brother is a commercial pilot. In fact, my father’s leadership qualities helped me a lot during my film Chhichhore.

The film industry too has many inspiring figures. Right from Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, to Irrfan Khan to Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the work of these actors and their transformation and journey to stardom is wonderful. It is a good thing that the industry is changing and is not stuck to toxic masculinity.

It is high time that society should get rid of it. I am happy that the heroes are properly represented in films now and people can feel connected to them. They are no more unreal dramatic heroes. There is a real interpretation of characters.

Yes, this is a good time to be in the industry. The times have changed and I am happy that people no more think characters have to be either black or white. They can be grey. Our heroes can cry and people are accepting them even if they are imperfect.

Speaking of roles which have influenced me, I absolutely loved two characters of Shah Rukh Khan — the grey one in Baazigar and the one in Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, where he realises his flaws and is fine with them. I also liked Aamir Khan’s character in Rangeela, who, again, is also not a typical hero. Such parts are written nowadays which is good for us all.

— Co-ordinated by Sonali Pitale Joshi