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"Cinema, for the Longest Time, Has Shown Certain Sections of the Society In a Particular Light" : Sonam K Ahuja

The National-award winning actor talks about breaking stereotypes, portraying characters from all walks of life, and more...

Sonam Kapoor Ahuja is in a happy place. Oh, and she’s also in a very busy place. This year, at the 66th National Film Awards, Padman won the Best Film On Social Issues. She’s travelling the world with her husband Anand Ahuja, the Founder of Bhane, and setting major #CoupleGoals on Instagram.

At the Cosmopolitan India cover shoot, while her hair was being primped and make-up perfected, Sonam’s phone was on fire. She took more than a dozen calls and texts, gave bytes for The Zoya Vlogs (a daily behind-the-scenes account of The Zoya Factor’s promotions), and discussed outfit choices with Cosmo India’s stylist. “It’s a very special film for me,” she said enthusiastically, “and I’m dedicating all my time and energy on its release.”

Her last film, the February 2019-release Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga saw her playing a small-town woman who navigates through difficult family dynamics while fighting for her right to be in a relationship with her girlfriend. It was an unconventional role and story, which aimed at breaking stereotypes and portraying the social stigmas faced by the LGBTQIA+ community in the country. It won’t be wrong to say that Sonam is one of the few mainstream Bollywood actors who have essayed the role of a queer individual sans the stereotypes.

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Previously, actors like Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das (Fire, 1996), Kalki Koechlin (Margarita, with a Straw, 2014), and Fawad Khan (Kapoor & Sons, 2016) have played such characters on-screen. Although there is still a dearth of such films, Sonam believes that there’s a wave of change in the industry. “Of late, there have been several films that have broken stereotypes. Cinema, for the longest time, has shown certain sections of society in a particular light. That’s changing with more films focusing on issues plaguing people from all walks of life, and portraying them in a true and honest manner,” she tells us.

While Sonam has established herself as one of the most popular actors of Bollywood (and it was not a path laced with roses), she is also considered to be the undisputed fashion icon of the industry. It helps that sister Rhea is her go-to stylist and advisor, making them a terribly powerful, terribly stylish duo. “Fashion is always evolving, and I’ve been keeping myself updated. Over the years, I have adapted to and understood the fashion revolution.” But while she’s setting new benchmarks and expanding her wardrobe, is she making socially and environmentally conscious sartorial choices? “Yes, absolutely,” comes the actor’s prompt reply.