Bollywood celebrities Lata Mangeshkar, Shabana Azmi voices India's concerns on Independence Day
Mumbai : From melody queen, Lata Mangeshkar to veteran actress Shabana Azmi to actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bollywood celebrities have shared what independence means to them.
Lata Mangeshkar: Independence is a state of mind that we Indians have not understood correctly. Independence is not only about what we eat or wear or the right to freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is not a freedom to abuse those who do not agree with you. It is also about being liberated from prejudices and intolerance. In our country, humanism is on the wane. To me, freedom is the right to be who I am and what I am without hurting the same rights of others.
CBFC chief and lyricist-adman Prasoon Joshi: I feel a sense of privilege, gratitude, and responsibility on our Independence Day. As a country, we've come a long way. Still, we have a long way to go.
Actress-activist Shabana Azmi: Freedom means everything to me. But I am deeply cognizant of the fact that with freedom must come responsibility. It's not only about rights but also about duties. To uphold the values enshrined in our Constitution and embracing inclusion and diversity. I salute all those leaders and common people who paved the way so that we can walk freely. The threat of violence is a tool for pushing women from enjoying the freedom that is rightfully theirs.
Actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar: To me, freedom is the freedom to use my voice to influence mindsets and prejudices. It's really not enough anymore to say one is here only to entertain and not reform society. That's just an escapist attitude. The celebrity status comes with a responsibility. It is very important to be a socially responsible citizen while working in my various other capacities as an actor and filmmaker and a singer. It's very important to try to be the best human being that one can be.
Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: To me, freedom is a place where the mind is without fear. We need to grow out of patriotic jingoism and to stop looking at the other nation as the enemy. I never understood why the country had to be divided on the basis of demography. Tomorrow, we might have separate Gorkhaland or a Jat-land because a lot of our people operate on a tribal mentality. It's time to build a highway among countries.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Freedom is the freedom from prejudices. Freedom from judging people by the color of the skin or their religious beliefs. Freedom is not only about any individual's rights. The right to everyone's freedom is equally important. If you are conscious of your freedom then you must value the freedom of others. I am never shackled by the fear of playing a character which may damage my image because I don't believe in an image. My freedom of expression as an actor is not negotiable.
Actor-politician Manoj Tiwari: For me, freedom is the freedom to use my position as an actor and politician to educate inform and improve the lives of the underprivileged, the way Akshay Kumar is doing through his films.
Actor Rajkummar Rao: Independence Day is the reminder of how our forefathers fought and sacrificed their present for our future. Let's make the most of this precious freedom and take our country forward.