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International Men's Day: Indian Actors Talk About Emotional & Legal Challenges

© Photo : X (Former Twitter)Indian actors
Indian actors - Sputnik India, 1920, 19.11.2023
On International Men's Day, celebrated Indian actors delve into societal expectations, mental health concerns, and strategies to challenge conventional patriarchal norms.
In the realm of Hindi, a famous saying echoes: "Mard ko dard nahi hota hai" (Men do not feel pain). This phrase encapsulates the societal expectation that men should embody strength and stoicism, and discourage the display of vulnerability or weakness.
Numerous men within the Indian entertainment industry have stepped forward to disavow this notion, underscoring the importance of validating and acknowledging men's emotions. They advocate for promoting a culture that encourages men to seek assistance whenever needed.
Renowned Indian actors candidly share their perspectives and express their aspirations for positive change with Sputnik India, delving into the myriad challenges faced by men in today's society. These challenges include dealing with the effects of patriarchy, societal pressures, mental health issues and the worrying rise in suicide rates.

Social Pressure Fuels Mental Health Issues & Sparks Suicides

In an interview with Sputnik India, actor Rohit Bose Roy highlights the overlooked fact that men can be victims of patriarchy, facing pressure from peers and societal expectations.

"Men are supposed to be the head of the family, the breadwinner who runs the house, provides a roof over the head, and education to the children. Doing all this, while not complaining, without any kind of commendation because that's what a real man does. It has been normalized in Indian society and happening for many generations," Roy shared.

"Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, these societal expectations and pressures have exacerbated mental health issues and contributed to a surge in suicide cases,” he added.

He argued that men do get hurt, but they don't get to talk about it.

In aspiring to create a more supportive environment for men, Roy envisions a future where voices speak out about men facing the challenges of social pressures and and unexpected aspect of patriarchy.

“All my life, I have been taught that this is your job, this is what you are supposed to do, and I would happily do it as well. I feel a little bit of empathy, love, and support can go a long way in easing that pressure,” Roy asserted.

© Photo : Rohit Bose RoyIndian actor Rohit Bose Roy shares how Mahatma Gandhi's teachings and philosophy transformed his life.
Indian actor Rohit Bose Roy shares how Mahatma Gandhi's teachings and philosophy transformed his life.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 19.11.2023
Indian actor Rohit Bose Roy shares how Mahatma Gandhi's teachings and philosophy transformed his life.

‘Create Safe Place for Men to Open Up’

Actor and TV host Jay Bhanushali told Sputnik India that men are often ridiculed and judged for crying, expressing emotions and letting off steam.

"If a friend comes to you for emotional support and a place to vent, maybe about their mother, a boyfriend, a lover or someone who's bothering them, we should refrain from making fun or jokes at their expense. Instead of saying things like 'stop crying like a girl', 'don't be a wimp' or 'be a strong man', just listen to them", Bhanushali shared.

Highlighting the impact of societal conditioning on men, Roy observes that it creates internal barriers. When someone overlooks or fails to acknowledge their emotional side, individuals tend to withdraw and build emotional walls.

"That is why the vulnerability of the man is completely removed. A man is vulnerable, he can vent his emotions in different ways, be it through anger, crying or talking his heart out. We should stop being hard on each other and ourselves and create a safe place to open up," says Bhanushali.

© Photo : TwitterActor-TV show host Jay Bhanushali
Actor-TV show host Jay Bhanushali - Sputnik India, 1920, 19.11.2023
Actor-TV show host Jay Bhanushali
Actor and director Kabir Sadanand believes that social conditioning makes men turn inwards rather than outwards.

"It is important to go to a counsellor and tell your heart to a stranger. It's not about being unwell or mentally unstable. It's about letting go of the things that are bothering you," he shared.

Breaking Stereotypical Gender Roles

Actor Gautam Rode believes that today's generation is breaking away from the gender roles that exist in society.

"The traditional notion of gender roles, where women are the sole caretakers of the family and men are the sole managers of the home or the family business, is gradually changing but still has a long way to go. In my case, it has definitely changed as Pankhuri (wife) and I go hand in hand and do everything ourselves. We share roles equally. She can take care of the outside world and I can take care of the house or vice versa. It has become a collective effort," said Rode.

© Photo : Gautam RodeIndian actor Gautam Rode shares how Mahatma Gandhi's teachings and philosophy transformed his life.
Indian actor Gautam Rode shares how Mahatma Gandhi's teachings and philosophy transformed his life.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 19.11.2023
Indian actor Gautam Rode shares how Mahatma Gandhi's teachings and philosophy transformed his life.
Another actor, Ruslaan Mumtaz, emphasises the imperative to normalise crying, cooking, and engaging in household chores for men in the present times.

"We grew up hearing things like men don't cry, that being a man causes a lot of stress. This has been so dangerous that it has led to depression and health problems," Mumtaz said. "Boys cry, it's normal. I never stop my son from crying or say things like 'only girls cry'. We need to normalise men crying, cooking, cleaning or doing any of the things we normally associate with women," he added.

© Photo : TwitterActor Ruslaan Mumtaz
Actor Ruslaan Mumtaz - Sputnik India, 1920, 19.11.2023
Actor Ruslaan Mumtaz

Need for Equal Legalistic Approach

Actor Saurabh Raaj Jain told Sputnik India that a prominent challenge confronting men today is the pursuit of gender equality in the legal sense.

"When we talk about and practice equality, men are sometimes pushed into a corner, especially when it comes to the legalities of divorce and child custody. I think we need to look at both sides with the same lens. Often, men are subjected to harassment, blackmail and mental trauma because of legal processes," Raaj stated.

© TwitterActor Saurabh Raaj Jain
Actor Saurabh Raaj Jain - Sputnik India, 1920, 19.11.2023
Actor Saurabh Raaj Jain
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