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‘I have a problem with the word success’

‘I have a problem with the word success’
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We have seen Nandita Das donning various caps, at times of an experimental actor, a wonderful director, as a jury member or a social activist. She was recently bestowed with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by French government for her works. But we saw a different side of her, playing a mentor for kids at National School of Drama's 8th Bal-Sangam. At the occasion, she spoke about several things but she showed her strong concern against system of reinforcing the stereotypes.

Talking about the existing education system she emphasised on the need to indulge various art streams as a part of regular curriculum. She feels that a child is like a sponge as they absorb everything around them. It's responsibility of parents to expose children to arts and let them choose what they enjoy doing the most. ‘Arts is a life skill tool, of course some of us chosen it as a path. For me, it’s a means to and end and yes the journey is as important as the end.’

While choosing a path there are also things like success and competition but Das is strictly against children being told since childhood that there is a rat race or a competitive world outside. Setting an example of her parents painter, Jatin Das and mother, Varsha who is a writer, she said  ‘I have a problem with the word “successas its highly subjective. I'd rather choose happiness for my children and let them do what they enjoy, as my parents did with me.’

The education system in country is designed in way that it prepares a student for a stable career but Das thinks its not always important to do only something for the sake of doing it. ‘I am not a full time actor, nor full time director or activist – these are all just labels. With time, we suppress our other interests just because we have to excel at one thing but there is nothing bad in following all of our passions.’

She feels that every child is unique and the existing educational system is just reinforcing the stereotypical mentality of teaching all the students same thing, so that all can think in the same manner. ‘I feel its essential to bring out the uniqueness in each child by exposing them to arts. Art allows you to be less prejudiced, to be more open and it encompasses all. It also has a magical element and spontaneity, it allows one to create and that’s vital.'

She also spoke about her support for Dark is Beautiful campaign. Again, she is trying to fight the stereotypical mentality and being discriminated on basis of skin colour for women. ‘They always had my support but I never thought that I'll become a face for it,’ she said. The way TV commercials and skin products are capitalising on being dark is what she finds absurd.

‘It’s awful to see commercials which says that you wont find success or that love of life because you are dark and you need a fairer skin tone,’ she added. She feels that we have to change the mindset of the society and its need of the hour to rise above the mentality of reinforcing the stereotypes.
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