"There should be no hindrance to what we want to do, what we want to wear, what we think and how we want to travel. Do what you want to do as long as you are not breaking any law," Sharmila said in response to a question related to revolution of feminism during a session at day two at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival here.
"What is my truth can not be your truth. Some may want to be a homemaker and some want to follow other careers and they should be allowed. If we want to be different we should be different and we should be allowed to be different," argued the actress in a session titled "Jorasanko: The Tagore Women".
The actress, a great grand niece of Nobel winning poet Rabindranath Tagore described in detail the women of the Tagore family.
Sharmila referred to the remarkable contribution of Tagore's wife Mrilani Debi towards Shantiniketan. Married off at the age of 10 Mrilani, said the actress, acted was a peacemaker in the family.
"Shantiniketan could certainly have happened without her help. She supplemented money and cooked herself for children who were staying there which affected her own home," she said.
Various aspects of the Tagore women especially those who looked after Rabindranath Tagore in his early life and formed the bedrock to his later success were also discussed.
Sharmila was in conversation with Aruna Chakravarti and Malashri Lal for the session.
Society should look inward, soul-search: Shabana Azmi
At a time when there is a whole new debate on women's security and rights following the horrific gangrape incident last month in Delhi, feminist-activist and veteran actress Shabana Azmi on Friday said it is time for society to look “inward” and change prevailing patriarchal mindsets.
“It was a horrific incident. It is important for society to look inward, analyse, soul-search and see what we can do to change the patriarchal mindset existing in our society,” Azmi said at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
At a session titled 'Sex and Sensibility: Women in Cinema' Shabana engaged in a discussion with lyricist Prasoon Joshi on the current trend of item-songs and portrayal of women in cinema.
Azmi appealed to young actress to make an informed choice when they agree to do item songs.
“I want to make an appeal to our heroines to make an informed choice when you do an item song. Look at the lyrics, listen to the words and then decide if you will dance on it. You say that you are making a free choice but are you really,” questioned the actress, who is famed for essaying critically acclaimed women-centric roles.
The award winning actress also said there is a difference between celebration of sexuality and commodification of women body.
“Celebration of women's sexuality is different from commodification of women body and we should understand that,” Azmi said at the literary extravaganza, which is discussing women issues through various sessions this year.
The veteran actress pointed out that the camera could make a big difference.
“It is the intention of the filmmaker and the camera angle that decides how the female's body is captured,” said Azmi.
Lyricist Joshi, said in today's society there is much focus and respect for the women in the role of a mother but that in a way means that her individuality is being compromised.
“Why do we celebrate motherhood so much? Society wants a woman to become a mother as early as possible. Motherhood is great but when you want to get rid of her individuality and see her only as a mother, then that is a problem,” he said.
Both the speakers agreed that there needs to be a change but it should come from within the industry and not by an outside body.
“We don't want a government body above us. Artists agree that we should introspect,” Joshi said.