On International Day of the Girl Child today, we speak to Pankaj Tripathi, who received accolades from all quarters of his endearing portrayal of Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena’s father in her biopic, starring Janhvi Kapoor.
He says that while reading the script he resonated with the character’s thought process, and that obliterated any and all hesitation. “Script padhte hue mujhe lagaa tha ki main ladkiyo ke liye aisi hi duniya chahta hoon. I felt as if those thoughts which I was reading on paper were my own. Main chahta hoon ki har pita Gunjan Saxena ke pita jaisa ho,” he says.
This year’s theme is ‘My voice, our equal future’, and reinforcing this message, Tripathi says that change needs to begin at home. Elaborating with an example, he says, “Ghar pe agar papa ko paani chahiye hota hai, toh voh kehte hain Pinky paani laa do; Rahul baitha hoga sofe pe usse nahi bolenge. Now this will lead to Rahul believing that Pinky’s duty is to only fetch water. This kind of thinking is ingrained in us, which we don’t realise. Main bhi kayi cheezein aisi kar deta hoon jo lagta hai ki galat ho, toh main baad mein maafi maang leta hoon.”
Tripathi, who has a teenage daughter with his wife, Mridula Tripathi, believes that it is very important to have a democratic approach in raising kids. “I always tell my daughter that we can only guide you from our experience. The day you become an adult, you will explore the world and live your life on your own terms. I can only give her guidance; it is upto her to accept it or reject it. Agar aap unhe freedom dete hain aur ek democratic mahaul dete hain, toh voh kuch gadbad kaam nahi karengi,” he says. Having been a professional sportsman, the only constant advice he gives his daughter is to take up sports of any kind.
The Sacred Games actor stresses the importance to accept change and to leave behind a better world. “Sab log chahte hain ki duniya ko thoda aur sundar banaa de. Fir bhi samasyaaein reh jaati hain. But through cinema and stories, we can evolve and make this change possible. We need to be ready to understand the thought behind any new development, instead of rejecting it immediately,” says the 44-year old actor adding that he often wonders what brought about the changes in his thought process.
The desire for a male child is a dark secret that our society tries its best to hide. Dismissing this mindset, Tripathi says that there is nothing a girl can’t do. “Ladkiya kya nahi kar rahi hain aaj. Yeh soch bilkul uchit nahi hai. It is wrong to think like this. Women are far more evolved than men,” he signs off.
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