Ahead of the ‘Lalkaar’ concert in Mumbai on November 21st, actor Farhan Akhtar speaks on MARD’s involvement with the campaign on ending violence against women and girls. Farhan elaborates on why #BasAbBahutHogaya is the call to action.
Q1 -With What Aim did you start up with this campaign (MARD)?
Ans- I Initiated this campaign back in 2013. There was an emotional reaction after the horrific Nirbahaya Incident. I always felt that the anger me and my friends used to feel after every such incident always stayed up to our living rooms. But I started feeling if I can’t channelize this anger and concern then what is the point? So I started with MARD, an initiative that addressed our concern of having a society which is safe for men and women. Like we men have freedom to go out late at night or watch a movie, same principle should be applicable for girls as well. The main motto behind initiating MARD was to change the thought process of men, especially the young ones.
Q2- Till now what is the overall response of the people?
Ans- The response of people is very positive. Now it has been 4 years. We engaged with lot of students from different colleges and we saw that there has been a positive impact on their thought process. Apart from this campaign, there are lot of NGOs, lot of people who kept highlighting different issues as well. However, the amount of change that has been brought about is not enough. We will keep trying and working to achieve it.
Q3. Do such type of incident also happen in the film industry and if they do happen then how do people of industry deal with it?
Ans- I feel that irrespective of the nature of the industry one hails from, the victim of such violence and such harassment should speak up. I’m somebody who is interested in what they have to say. However, I don’t know anyone who this has happened to.
Q4- This campaign was initiated on social media and social media has played a big role. However, there are people from rural background who don’t use social media that much. What are your plans to reach such people?
Ans- This is the first year of our campaign and it is the first time that Feroz Abbas Khan, Population Foundation Of India and I have come together. This campaign will slowly unfold. The show started by Population foundation of India named ‘Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon’ has already reached such audiences and their messages have reached the masses. The show also airs on Radio. So we are trying our best to use all the available modes of communication. We will be conducting our concert ‘Lalkaar’ on 21st November in Mumbai. We would also love to conduct more such concerts in regional languages to reach more people who don’t have access to television and internet.
Q5- What is your message for the men out there?
A- I’d like to ask all the men out there to listen carefully to the messages conveyed through ‘Lalkaar and be a catalyst.