Set to participate in a conversation around gender parity at Cannes, Shruti discusses struggles of being a female actor in India
Six years after she first turned up on the Cannes red carpet to promote a film she had eventually dropped out of, Shruti Haasan is set to return to the gala. This time around, Haasan, in the capacity of the chief guest of honour, will participate in a round-table discussion on gender parity. Titled Activating Change, and hosted by Breaking through the Lens, the talk will focus on challenges and opportunities that the under-represented genders in the film industry face.
“I have spoken to my co-stars about [gender parity] but, it is not a conversation we get into in detail, because it is still awkward and hasn’t been dealt with openly. I am happy to start talking about it. A lot of us are in the process of [effecting] change, be it about mental health, or pay parity. I was always influenced by musicians who spoke about their struggles, or of their triumphs and tribulations,” she says.
In an industry that dotes over its male actors, is Haasan often dissuaded by the lack of parity? “I never forget the fact that I am privileged. In India, we still don’t have proper health or sanitation for girls, or access to education and clean water. When I look at it through that lens, I feel, those are the first things that we should be speaking about. I have focussed on raising awareness about the larger good and questioning patriarchy.”
The actor, who fronts the Hollywood movie, The Eye, admits that she often finds herself juggling between choosing promising opportunities, and raising her voice against discrimination. “I have also been part of films where my roles have been cut at the editing table, or have been seen as the second lead to the man. But, when I get the opportunity to do female-driven subjects, I will do them.”