Actor Shabana Azmi talked about the toxicity around the idea of masculinity and questioned why that idea does not include progressive qualities such as tenderness, empathy and being supportive. She argued for the need for change in gender roles to achieve gender equality.
Speaking to IANS, Shabana said about masculinity, "At present, there is toxicity around the whole idea of masculinity. Masculinity means flexing muscles, wielding power over the powerless. That is a toxic thing. It is true that we want women to change, and become independent. But to establish gender equality we also need men to change. Why is masculinity not about tenderness, empathy, and being supportive? All the qualities we look for in the new progressive man, we get to see in the character of Salim in Mee Raqsam."
Mee Raqsam is a movie produced by Shabana and directed by her brother Baba Azmi. The film portrays a beautiful story of a father encouraging his young daughter to follow her dream of being a dancer while their immediate social circle is against this. Shabana has said that the film is a tribute to her own father, late poet Kaifi Azmi.
Talking about the film, Shabana had earlier said, "The film is not based on my life with my father, but it celebrates the father-daughter bond. It was shot in Mijwan, a village in eastern UP, where my father was born. So Baba decided to make this film in his birthplace in the year of his birth centenary. There cannot be a better tribute to him."
Mee Raqsam stars Danish Hussain, Aditi Subedi and Naseeruddin Shah.