Updated: March 26, 2022 8:43:40 am
Shefali Shah is earning acclaim for her performance in the thriller film Jalsa, in which she stars alongside Vidya Balan. Both actors have thumbed their noses at regressive film industry conventions with their choice of work.
The two spoke to journalist Barkha Dutt for her Mojo Story portal about the ingrained sexism that is prevalent in the country. Ingrained or internalised sexism — as opposed to the deliberate, overt variety — is sexism in which the society’s misogynistic standards are so deep-rooted in a woman that discrimination between men and women seems normal behaviour to her even if she directs it at herself.
Shefali, whose career was recently given a boost with streaming projects such as Delhi Crime and Ajeeb Daastaans, said, “It’s been years of conditioning, that a woman stays at home and looks after the house. She does the household chores, the husband goes out and works.”
She added, “You know, when I am at home and haven’t gone to work, nobody asks me ‘why haven’t you gone to work?’ but he (her husband Vipul Amrutlal Shah), I will ask, ‘why are you not going office today?'”
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In an earlier interview with Pinkvilla, she had spoken about being an opinionated woman in her home. She said, “I’m picked on a lot by my family. The thing is, I’m very passionate, and that’ll come across in the way I have a conversation… On a certain level, maybe from your in-laws, but they belong to a different generation. Like, I remember, when Vipul goes to shoot, obviously nobody questions, but when I’m shooting continuously, it’s like, ‘Again you have to shoot?’ And I’m like, ‘Are you serious? Did I just get asked that question?’ Or, it’s like, ‘You’re shooting for so many hours?’ That’s how it works, how come that question is never asked to your son?”
Meanwhile, Jalsa has received mostly positive reviews. The movie, which reunited Balan with Tumhari Sulu director Suresh Triveni, was given 2.5 stars by The Indian Express’ film critic Shubhra Gupta. She wrote, “Jalsa has one of the most tightly-executed beginnings I’ve seen recently, which develops the odd bump as the plot progresses, until it reaches a cathartic, if slightly designed end.”
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