By Kanika Katyal:
Dear Sonam Kapoor,
Whenever I tell people I’m a Sonam Kapoor fan, I am faced with frowns like I’d told them Santa was not real.
But then I sit them down and explain the ‘why’ of it. I am your fan because I think you are a fearless woman who does not seek validation from anyone to voice her views. Honest and opinionated. It’s just the way you are! I find your candour commendable because really, how many people in the world today, say exactly what they think? Not many.
Like last year, the time when you spoke about gay rights on Koffee With Karan. It was the first time that someone had spoken about the issue on the show. Fellow fan Harish Iyer in fact called you “a beacon of hope” in response to your public stance. You took the conversation global when at Cannes last year you said in an interview,”We’ve regressed instead of progressing… I think movies can influence the way people think sometimes and if we do start making love stories or we start making movies about people who are amazing human beings, people who have done something in life, people who are inspirational who aren’t necessarily only straight, I think people will start appreciating them more.”
Moving on, today, reports are coming-in that the Delhi Government is mulling to bring down the legal drinking age to 21. Back in 2011, when actor Imran Khan filed a PIL on the issue of legal drinking age in India, you were among the first ones from Bollywood to have extended your support to the campaign on social media, when you tweeted, “It is hypocritical that we can vote, drive and get married before the age of 25, but can’t drink alcohol.” Hear, hear!
As a celebrity, you’ve been extremely vocal about body image issues that all of us deal with. You have revealed your personal stories that actors usually shy away from talking about – “I was battling with my weight since 12. I had all the health problems that come with being overweight — I was diabetic, I had to take insulin tablets.” If that doesn’t take courage…
And to all the people who make comments about your fashion sense, I challenge them to point to me one appearance of yours where your outfit, hair or make-up hasn’t been on point. Dressing up takes effort, and it reflects one’s personality and well-being. Studies have shown how your clothing choices affect your emotional state. And I personally agree, that feeling good about oneself, boosts confidence. So instead of dismissing you as vain or shallow, they should acknowledge that you have redefined fashion for Bollywood actors. And on top of that, I remember you saying that you bought your first Louis Vuitton bag with your own money, not your dad’s. That’s empowering.
More than anything else, with ‘Khoobsurat’, you brought back the fairytale for all of us! I could totally relate to the hopelessly romantic, physiotherapist, Milli, ( from a Punjabi family!) who radiates optimism. People confuse dreamy with delusional, optimism with foolishness and innocence with gullibility. ‘Khoobsurat’ came to me at a time when my world was losing out on colours, laughter and love. You taught me to be unapologetic about my enthusiasm and love myself for who I was. I believe that one is never too old for a fairytale. Or better still, as C.S. Lewis put it, “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.”
Fan as I am, as I sat interviewing Anupama Chopra for her new book earlier this year, I couldn’t help but ask her, what was it about you that made her decide that you were the perfect person to launch her book (The Front-Row Interviews), and she said, “Sonam is not sanitised. When you interview actors these days, [their] responses become controlled, they become very careful, and not without justification, because there is so much invasion into the private space, and there’s so much pressure. But I think she’s very open, [and] genuinely enthusiastic about talking in general… which made her the perfect person.”
It takes immense courage to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you someone else, or fix you according to their ideas of what is right. So for all of these reasons and more, I am a proud Sonam Kapoor fan.
Once again, Happy Birthday Sonam!