In the climax of Rumi Jafry’s engrossing thriller Chehre, the mighty Amitabh Bachchan delivers a rousing eight-minute monologue on violence against women. It is a tour de force that brings the plot to a boiling point and takes the narrative to another level altogether.
Producer Anand Pandit cannot get over how significant the monologue is. “No actor in the world has delivered such a long and revealing monologue on any issue. You will be surprised to know it was Bachchan Saab’s idea. He thought it would be a good idea to elevate the debate on the issue of rape and women’s safety in the film to another more universal level, and he was right.”
And the biggest surprise of the monologue? “Bachchan Saab wrote the entire monologue himself. Not just that he performed it in one take ,at the end of which all of us broke into spontaneous applause. We now intend to use that eight-minute monologue as a video on women’s safety to be distributed free of cost to all organisations devoted to creating a safe environment for women,” proclaims Pandit.
Sexual violence against women has always concerned Mr Bachchan. In an interview with me in 2016, he said, “Laws, punishments, public awareness, safety, regulations, debates and discussions shall take place aplenty, and they should. But unless we change the mindset of our countrymen, or indeed any human that indulges in such horrific, depraved, degenerate and disgusting crimes in any part of the world, we cannot expect fruitful results.”
Mr Bachchan had heatedly concluded his arguments on women’s safety by saying, “There needs to be an educational effort, efforts to bring uniformity, respect and equality without discrimination. Women cannot be objectified. A woman’s body is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship and it's high time they started exercising that right!"
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