Self developer

Bollywood superstar, feminist, and contrarian Kajol returns to the screen

(JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Kajol, a 41-year-old Bollywood superstar, is returning to the screen after a five-year hiatus for the new film, Dilwale. Over her 23 year career, the actress has won best actress a record six times at the Indian Filmfare Awards, faced criticism for not conforming to industry beauty ideals, and berated directors who refused to cast her in parts written for male leads.

Asked whether she is feminist, Kajol replied affirmatively but said her contrary nature means some might also consider her the opposite. “I don’t object to chivalry,” says Kajol. “I believe in it; gender equality should not mean women should be ashamed to be feminine… but the stigma of not wanting to do things ‘like a man’ or being made to feel stupid in traditional gender roles is dumb.”

Kajol does not blame the industry for the absence of women over 40 in film but instead says that the industry responds to what audiences want. As audience tastes shift, she says, more opportunities for older actresses become available. And when it comes to giving advice to younger actresses? Kajol doesn’t believe in it: “Everyone has to develop their own way,” she says. “What I did when I was 18 years old is so different to what someone now might do.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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