Bollywood actor Richa Chadha feels religion has become nothing but hypocrisy, be it in terms of how women are treated in the country or the way festivals are celebrated. The actor says she is not “religious” but has a deep connect with spirituality and the more she reads about it, the more she is baffled by the treatment of women in society.
“I live in this country, I care deeply about the culture. I am not religious but I am spiritual, so I read a lot about it. For instance, the Hindu religion and the importance of Shiv and Shakti in our culture. How Durga, Sita are important, how each goddess had a role to play in evolution. And then when I see how people treat women, it is really confusing to me. Religion has become about hypocrisy,” said Richa. The Gangs of Wasseypur star hits strongly at people who treat the festival of Ganesh visarjan as an excuse to get “drunk” and party, with no regards to the culture, something, which she says, must be questioned.
“During (Ganesh) visarjan, everyone is drunk, playing obscene songs loudly and dancing. They are using it as an excuse to party. By taking large statues made of bad paint, dumping it into the sea, harming marine life and environment. If you say anything then people say you’re not respectful if your own culture. That’s not true. I think we have to question our own culture.” Richa, 29, says the gender-based discrimination, where men are considered superior to women, is an issue which is integral not only to Indian but all over the world.
“There is the issue of rape in some places, then in some countries women can’t study too much. In some extreme Islamic countries women can’t drive. In every culture there is different manifestation but it is across the world.”
Asked if gender-based biases exist even in Bollywood, the actor said, “Of course they do. Because Bollywood reflects society, we are all living in a society. We are not a special entity. So whatever prejudices society has for us, we carry into the films. That’s the problem.” Richa, however, says she never faced any discrimination from men, as she is a “different kind of woman” who doesn’t let “people look down upon” her. The actor feels if there should be a change, one should believe that both men and women are equal.