Successful producer Ekta Kapoor wonders why Indian society links being settled down to marriage.
Ekta, who has produced content for television, films and now has a presence on the digital medium too, received the FLO (FICCI Ladies Organisation) Icon Award for Media Entrepreneurship here on Thursday.
President Ram Nath Kovind was the guest of honour at the event at Vigyan Bhawan, where Kapoor was among 10 women achievers lauded at the 34th annual FICCI Women’s Group FLO Awards.
During an interactive session at the event, Kapoor said she failed to understand why she has to be married to settle down and why the two things linked at all.
“What I am asked a lot by journalists is, ‘When are you settling down?’ How much more do I need to settle down? I really don’t understand why settling down is linked to getting married. For years, my father and mother saved the best of alcohol for my marriage.
“This year, the defining moment of my life came when my father took all of that out on his 75th birthday. It was a celebration of today and not expectations of tomorrow,” said Ekta, daughter of veteran actor Jeetendra.
Often called the queen of soap operas on the Indian small screen, Ekta also faced criticism for showing regressive storylines in shows like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kahin Kissi Roz, Kasautii Zindagii Kay and Pavitra Rishta.
On the flip side, she has produced movies like Lipstick Under My Burkha, and now she is connecting with the youth through a digital app ALTBalaji where some of the series explore homosexuality and other taboo topics.
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She said: “My journey has been quite a paradox. I make movies which explore sexuality and TV shows which have very conservative families. And I think both are two sides of the same coin. I deal with everything with a pinch of salt. I am quite a feminist,” she said.
“Just because the woman is in a sari doesn’t mean that she cannot shoot a gun. That is what I feel happens a lot in TV. I get a lot of women who expect me to conform because I do a lot of socially conservative TV, and they get bit of a shock like when they ask me, ‘Girls today think about sex a lot’ and I say, ‘They do it as well’.”
Ekta, however, said she has evolved.
“I started doing family shows when I was 24 and films like Lipstick Under My Burkha at 42. At a younger age, I have done more conservative stuff but as I aged, I did more of what I can call non-conformist work. I think we should not put ourselves into a box. We all need to realise that,” she said.