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Ayushi Agarwal

IWB Blogger

FLO Jaipur Organizes Movie Screening And A Talk With Mr. Om Puri

  • IWB Post
  •  October 24, 2015


It was the day when a cluster of bright, influential women associated with FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) FLO Jaipur Chapter came together for a movie screening, and a one-on-one talk with Mr. Om Puri, at Hotel Holiday Inn.

The smell of fresh coffee was wafting through the air, and a large screen was placed in the middle. Chandeliers adorned the ceiling, and eminent women personalities were chatting away! The evening got kicked off by an exclusive screening of the movie “Haat- The Weekly Bazaar”, directed by Seema Kapoor, and featuring Divya Dutta as the protagonist. The movie was set in a Rajasthani village background,  where lack of education and patriarchy had given way to ugly societal notions and practices.

One such practice was ‘Natha Pratha’, which states that for any reason if a woman wants to leave her husband, her father or any other person who supports her has to pay compensation to her husband. If the compensation is not paid, the woman will be punished. That punishment could range from chopping off her hair, rubbing boot polish all over her face, and/or parading her naked all through the village.

The movie talked about the existing double standards and the importance of raising a voice against wrong notions. It was definitely enlightening as well as entertaining. A must watch!

After the screening, Mrs. Alka Batra, Chairperson, Flo Jaipur gave a formal introduction to Mr. Om Puri, and addressed the issues highlighted in the movie. She spoke about how “Empower to power” women can help the society grow and develop.

Mr. Puri’s entry was met with a huge applause, and air of excitement had enveloped the audience. All of us had seen his familiar face uncountable times on the movie screen, whether he was portraying a comic role, or a serious one. The fact that Mr. Puri is a versatile actor as well as an inspiring theatre personality was no secret.

Catch some snippets of the talk down below!


Mr. Puri: “If I go back to my college days, there weren’t a lot of women in diverse professional fields. There was a dearth of female doctors, lawyers, clerks, etc. A very small percentage of women would have a career in those days, but see how things have changed within 50 years! There isn’t a profession where it would be difficult to find a woman. They are undoubtedly equal to men now.”

“I personally feel, that the woman who made all the difference was Mrs. Indira Gandhi. When she became the Prime Minister, women belonging to rural areas realized that women too have the capability to break free and even someday become the ruler of a country. They must’ve realized their underlying strength and capacity to become something, and bring reforms. “

“But, there are some women who tend to misuse the privileges being given to them by the laws of this country. This results in giving a bad name to the entire institution of womanhood, and this has been my personal experience. There is a wrongful FIR against me, that I beat this woman with a stick, for which she still has no evidence, no case. These side-effects of extra privileges need to be kept in mind.”

“As far as the film industry is concerned, women nowadays are portrayed in a very bad light, and a very undignified manner. The cinema of 50s and 60s presented actresses like Vijayanti Mala, Meena Kumari, Nutan, etc. in a very graceful manner. ‘Sharm’ and ‘Haya’ made those women seem elegant. Present actresses don’t even blush anymore! Plus, there is no romance. Films, dialogues, looks and songs today lack elements of romanticism, but sadly this is the kind of cinema which is being promoted by the Indian population.”

During the one-on-one rapid fire with Mr. Puri, the spectators asked some interesting questions, to which he gave some amusing replies:


Q. It is always said that behind a successful man, there is a woman. Do you think that the same man is preventing her from stepping in front of him, or maybe, walking along with him instead of behind?

Mr. Puri: No. It’s because she needs to push him!

[Off the cliff, Mr. Puri?]

Q. Sir, if women today are lacking grace, ‘charm’ and ‘haya’, then men too lack that same old passion for women. That respect towards women is lost, due to which women are compelled to take this strong, tough outlook on life. What is your take on this?

Mr. Puri: I agree. Women have no doubt become more courageous. Circumstances have forced them to become tough.

Q. Women are still treated as commodities. How can men change these existing notions related to women?

Mr. Puri: I can only change myself! Every person has the power to truly change himself only.

Q. Why are men always paid more than women in Bollywood?

Mr. Puri: In today’s times, men in the movies are expected to jump out of windows, and women just need to wear a sari, and dance!

[Sexist much?]

Q. For men, the idea of an ideal woman changes before and after marriage. Why?

Mr. Puri. I agree that the perspective changes, but what I do not understand is why you all think that I am here representing all Indian men!!! I feel like I’m Ravan, and I’m sorry that Kumbhakaram and Meghnath were unable to attend this screening!

Jokes apart, I feel women need to embrace the positive side of the world as well, instead of just focusing on the negative. Things are changing, and they will continue to change. For that, you need to raise your voice, and not just inside your house, but outside too!

JWB: ‘Haat’ is a movie where the people who are uneducated and uncivilized. But what about issues of marital rape and dowry, which take place in the families of highly educated people?

Mr. Puri: Education can do miracles! Women are not scared to support themselves anymore and become independent. She has become strong and confident, because of the education being provided. She has the power to leave her husband at any point, and take care of herself. An economically sound woman can fight anything.

JWB: Yes, she’s aware, she’s independent, she works, she has career, she’s smart. What about the mindset of Indian men? When will they start to change?

Mr. Puri: Lets burn all men on a pier!! They deserve to die!!

[Uh… That was so not the reply I was looking for]

The spectators quite enjoyed his witty comebacks and unusual observations.

However, I feel that some of Mr.Puri’s replies were downright sexist and somewhat undignified. A lot of intriguing questions were not properly answered.

Kudos to the women of FICCI Flo for coming up with such an innovative way of engaging an audience, while illuminating everyone with enlightenment and valor.


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