Gul Panag talks about how she manages to devote time to acting, activism, politics and fitness.
Actor, model and former beauty queen Gul Panaag, is a woman of substance, who without being swayed by the general sentiments is able to take a stand and justify it. “Dhoop” was her debut film in 2003 and since then she has worked in “Dor”, “Manorama Six Feet Under”, “Hello”, “Straight” and others apart from serials like “Kashmeer”. She had fought the last Lok Sabha elections and is an active social worker, concentrating on gender equality.
She was recently in town for the launch of Pinkathon, a women-only marathon to promote general fitness among them and spread breast cancer awareness. In an interview with Friday Review she talks about fitness, movies and the social inequalities prevailing in India. Excerpts:
Tell us about Pinkathon.
Pinkathon is a women-only running event. The main target of this event is to make women aware of their health, fitness and wellness. It is an ideal event for those women who are not comfortable running in the mainstream event. It is an excellent opportunity for them to come out of their shell.
You are a social activist working towards gender equality. What do you think is the crux of the problem?
Patriarchy! We are essentially a very strong patriarchal society. A patriarchal structure at home that does not discriminate between genders is fine. But a society cannot be patriarchal. Such a society promotes gender stereotypes and that is exactly where the problem lies.
In our country stereotyping the genders is promoted in each formal and informal structure – right from the home to schools to courthouses. The gender inequality in India is a result of steep patriarchal notions and misogyny, to some extent. Violence against women is not just violence, it is used a tool of power and intimidation.
As an Aam Aadmi Party worker, where does your party stand in the present scenario in terms of its agenda?
The idea is to continue the movement to change and cleanse. We all know how hugely corrupt our political system is. By corrupt I mean the people who run the system. The main focus is to build a structure to fight that. Our party was not born organically. We were a movement masquerading as a political party and now it’s time to transform into a political party from a political movement, which means structure-building and organization-building right from the grass root level.
How do you manage stay fit while been busy in fitness with politics and showbiz?
At 35, it’s my youthful vigour and it is my fitness that allows me to work for the number of hours that I do – earning a living and all the party organization work. I have been a marathon runner and I am able to do this only because I have taken care of my fitness since the beginning. I have evolved as a person who inculcates fitness in my everyday routine.
What are your upcoming projects?
The shooting for “Ab Tak Chhappan-2”, with Nana Patekar is finished and will be released soon. Also, I am producing my own adventure travel series. Any movie that comes my way and justifies my time and interests, I will take that up. But right now my hands are full juggling between politics, silver screen and Pinkathon.