Mumbai: On the occasion of International Women's Day, 21 women such as actresses Neena Gupta and Swara Bhasker, rapper Hard Kaur and yoga expert Natasha Noel came together to celebrate womanhood through a music video titled "Fire within me".
The video, which features the women, is part of the campaign #ishapemyworld by Levi's brand. Prior to the launch of the video on Friday, the women had gathered here on Thursday.
Swara said: "As an artiste, my job is not just to express but to engage. Films are transformative, they are humongous…Kubbra's (Sait) performance (of a transgender) in 'Sacred Games' was found inspiring by many people from that community, it was a representation of that community.
"Rest is whatever resonates with the audience, but a performance, a good film, a good story - has a power. So, we should engage people globally with our art because we are not just artistes but also citizens."
Referring to the #MeToo movement, she said: "One hashtag that started many years ago, restarted in 2017...it has changed our mind on how we look at our workplace and why certain behaviour from people in the position of power is not accepted."
Talking about engaging the audience with art, comedian Kaneez Surkha said: "As a comedian, I find 'improv' more engaging than stand-up comedy and every time I am doing it, I am doing it out of passion…without intending to break the norms."
"But it made me realise that I'm pushing the boundary whenever I face obstacles and stand strong with my conviction that I will do 'improv'".
On one of the defining moments of her journey that changed her life, actress-host Kubbra said: "My mother protected me so much when I was a child that I was scared to go beyond my call of duty. Then one day when I was 21 years old, my mother put me on a flight to Dubai saying that 'You get yourself a job!' I was scared..I mean a girl who did not even travel alone and now in a different country, searching for a job?"
"But when I think about it...my mother gave me constant support, had confidence in me, I won every situation. When I took up the role of Kukko in ‘Sacred Games', though people said that it was a bold choice, I did not look at it that way. It was not courageous to play that (a transgender character), I was just doing my job."
"If it played out that way and created impact, it is great. But initially, that was not my intention, I did what my job, my craft allowed me to do," she explained.
Natasha Noel, a survivor of sexual violence, spoke about how she reached a point and decided not to be defined by the sorrow of her life.
"I was three years old when my birth mother burnt herself live in front of me. Of course that affected me but like all of us would love to believe that things will be fine with time, mine got worse."
"So much so that I started getting comfortable with the pain…and then, I realised that I was carrying the pain with me all the time. I thought without my pain, I could not be anything. But hey, I don't want to be defined by my pain… Thus, I picked myself up and found my way to heal myself," the yoga expert said.