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Manoj Bajpayee: Homosexuals much more accepted in society

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New Delhi: The National Award-winning actor Manoj Bajpayee believes that the majority has begun to accept the LGBT community and it’s the ‘minority’ who need to change their outlook towards homosexuals.

The country’s colonial-era provision of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, that criminalises homosexuality, continues to dread the homosexual community.

The National Award-winning actor, who is known for his power-packed, character-driven roles, is earning accolades for portraying the late Aligarh Muslim University academician Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras in Hansal Mehta’s “Aligarh”. Siras was suspended from his job as a professor because of his sexual orientation. He was found dead in his apartment in Aligarh in 2010.

“I am treating this as the biggest truth and I am ready to believe that today homosexuals are much more accepted in society. It is just that this minority who is aggressive, violent and loud that we have to keep on making these films to change their mind, to make them think and to keep the debate going,” Manoj told reporters in a candid tete-a-tete here.

Dressed in a casual white shirt and light blue denim, Manoj’s eyes lit up while he expressed the view that society, unfortunately, tends to take this “minority” as the “majority” when it comes to rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders.

“I always believe in the thing that there is a minority in our society, which is very loud in their voices, who get this liberty from god knows where to invade into anybody’s privacy,” he asserted.

Manoj’s character in the film is a reserved mind, who loves Marathi literature, Lata Mangeshkar’s songs and whisky.

“He also has a very deep understanding of the word love and where he is talking about uncontrollable urge, which is very natural. This is what happens to me… I am heterosexual. It happens to me when I find a girl very attractive. When you love somebody, you love somebody completely…” the actor eloquently explained what love means to both Siras and him.

“You can fall in love with anything… With a certain kind of bird or a butterfly… Love has a broader meaning,” he added.

In 1998, Manoj captivated the imagination of Indian cinegoers as the underworld don Bhiku Matre in “Satya”. A year later, he stunned audiences as the honest police inspector Samar Pratap Singh in “Shool” and went on to do several memorable films before gaining mass acclaim as Sardar Khan in “Gangs of Wasseypur”.

Having done so much in films and theatre, the 46-year-old actor said he isn’t getting any younger. And he has shown it in his role of Siras, a sexagenarian.

“With age and experience, you only learn a lot about human beings. It is that and the craft… All of them together, along with research, which made me understand the minutest details of Siras. Understanding his soul, his state of mind, was very difficult and extremely important for me,” Manoj said.

However, he said that the techniques used by actors to get into the roles may not be understood easily by outsiders.

“The technique that we use is purely from actor to actor, but it is very difficult for an outsider to understand as to what we do, and what kind of workshop we conduct for ourselves,” he added.

Calling his role in “Aligarh” a “very challenging” task, Manoj said he had a “lot of responsibility towards the community and towards a life which was so pure and spiritual and dealing with a man who fought a very reluctant battle”.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court referred to a constitution bench the curative petition seeking a relook at its earlier verdict upholding the validity of Section 377. Manoj says he is “very hopeful” that the bench will come out with a “constructive decision”.

“Aligarh”, which also stars actor Rajkummar Rao, released on Friday. (Ankit Sinha, IANS)

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Not Afraid To Fail, Asserts Deepika Padukone

Deepika said while people suffering from depression were not expected to identify the symptoms and reach out to a psychiatrist, those around them have to understand it

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Deepika Padukone opens up about her mental health and related concerns in an interview. Twitter
Deepika Padukone opens up about her mental health and related concerns in an interview. Twitter
  • Deepika Padukone is undoubtedly one of the biggest superstars of Bollywood
  • She recently revealed that she is not afraid to fail
  • She also opened up more about depression and other mental conditions

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone said she was not afraid to fail and not afraid to talk about the way she feels.

She believes that success and failure are all part of life and everybody fails at one point in their life. “I am at a stage in my life where I have been through everything.”

Deepika Padukone speaks about not being afraid of failures. Wikimedia Commons
Deepika Padukone speaks about not being afraid of failures. Wikimedia Commons

She was speaking on ‘Making mental wellness a boardroom priority’ at the World Congress on Information Technology and Nasscom India Leadership Forum here on Wednesday.

In a packed hall at ‘global influencer session’ on the last day of the three-day event, Deepika, the founder of The Live Love Laugh Foundation, shared her experiences with depression and gave tips to technologists on how to overcome it.

Also Read: Padmavati and The Modern Time’s Playboys

In a chat with Nasscom Vice-Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer Wipro Rishad Premji, she said that depression is going to be the next big epidemic.

She said it was important that the persons suffering from depression speak about it with his or her near and dear ones and approach a counsellor and psychiatrist.

Deepika Padukone advised all IT companies to have counsellors and psychiatrists to help the employees who may be suffering from depression.

Deepika requested all IT companies to hire psychiatrists. IANS
Deepika requested all IT companies to hire psychiatrists. IANS

She said the employers should also ensure that such employees are not treated differently, noting there is a lot of stigma attached to mental illness and such people don’t speak due to fear of losing their job.

She believes technology can help create awareness on depression but personal touch and feel is important to help the person. “Personal feel and touch, physical proximity, one-on-one is important which technology in some way is taking away from us.”

On whether social media is adding to the problem, Deepika said while it has been a boon in a lot of ways, she believes that everything should be in moderation. She observed that people on social media sometimes present a glorified version of life.

Recalling her fight with depression, the actress said she was not afraid of being judged when she opened up about the problem. “It’s okay to have moments of weakness, okay to break down and okay to cry. It’s okay if you don’t look great all the time,” she said.

Deepika Padukone is taking up many initiatives involving mental health.
Deepika Padukone is taking up many initiatives involving mental health.

Replying to a query from the audience, Deepika said when she was suffering from depression, she used to feel like not getting up from bed and going for work.

“There was no motivation and drive. I was not able to think straight. You feel a burden. You feel clouded and don’t feel like yourself.”

Also read: 7 Bollywood Celebrity Lehenga to Flaunt in the Upcoming Wedding Season

About the many episodes of breaking down, she said one day when her parents were returning to Bengaluru after visiting her, she broke down in front of her mother, who understood the problem and reached out to a counsellor.

“If my mother had not understood the problem, I would not have got the intervention.”

Deepika said while people suffering from depression were not expected to identify the symptoms and reach out to a psychiatrist, those around them have to understand it.

The actress said frequent sessions with counsellors, medication, lifestyle changes, spacing the work, adequate sleep and the right kind of food helped her overcome the problem.

Deepika Padukone also opened up about her struggles with mental illness. Instagram
Deepika Padukone also opened up about her struggles with mental illness. Instagram

She stressed the need for people to come out and speak about mental illness. “You are not alone. One in three or five persons feels depression. It’s going to be next big epidemic to hit our country,” she said.

On the activities of her Foundation, she said it was working to create awareness in Karnataka’s Davangere district. “If I am able to save even one life, I will feel my job is done.” IANS