How many of us have brushed Sonam Kapoor off as just another genetically blessed, airhead actress?
Well, Kapoor's here to prove you wrong...once again. It's a pity that she has to do so over and over again.
With her brilliant new piece in Hindustan Times, the Neerja actress opens up about being pigeon-holed, among other things, and believing in her self-worth, even when millions of trolls on the internet try to tell her otherwise.
On people trying to put you down
"You might call me a ‘bimbo’, a ‘naachne wali’, but you know what, I’m a terribly self-assured woman. I have a strong sense of self and I don’t need you to tell me who I am. I would not have the balls to do what I do, wear what I wear or say what I say, if I didn’t have self-worth," writes the 31-year-old leading lady.
"The trolls can be sexist and judgmental but I know I’m smart and capable of expressing an opinion. I’m a successful woman, a feminist, a humanist, a national award winner and I say this with a great sense of pride and satisfaction: I get to live a fairy tale life every single day."
She adds: "I walk the international stage, I’m an avid reader with a library full of books, I am a consumer of news, an engaged Indian and so very capable of having a discussion on any issue, with anyone. Just because I’m an actor, it doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion."
On speaking up when it matters
The actress went on to talk about how she always makes her voice heard when she feels strongly about something.
"I spoke up when the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film, Padmavati, were vandalised. I have spoken up against meat bans. I’ve taken sides with my colleagues and spoken up when Sonakshi Sinha was fat-shamed or Anushka Sharma, an amazingly talented actress, was picked on only because people think they have the right to comment on our sizes or our boyfriends," she reveals.
"The truth is, in public life, we do end up being role models. I have 10 million followers on Twitter and even if 10% of those are trolls, that’s still nine million people that I feel accountable to. I owe them an opinion, a peek into my mind, and that’s why I speak up. It is important to take sides and I do so without fear. Not taking a position is cowardice."
On beauty and intellect not being mutually exclusive
Chances are, majority of us have at some point wished we were more attractive. But that raises the age-old question: are beautiful women not taken seriously?
"People think we don’t have brains because we dress up and look beautiful. Thankfully, I’m comfortable under my skin and in my head," says Sonam.
On religious intolerance
The Raanjhanaa star also hit back at bigots who deem her anti-national for being inquisitive.
"I’m a proud Indian. I love my country but for some of you — and you’re the bigots, not me — I become ‘anti-national’ only because I ask questions or choose to be critical. Listen to the national anthem one more time. Recall the line you heard as kids, ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Issai…"
"I’m a practising Hindu but my best friends are Muslims and I’m not giving them sermons on why being a Hindu is something better. Nor, for that matter are they. By the way, I am a strict vegetarian. I don’t even eat eggs but I don’t have a problem with what anyone else eats. How can you choose for anyone else? How can you take freedom of choice — a fundamental right — away from anyone else?"
Read her powerful piece in its entirety here.