Years after Kaifi Azmi wrote the moving poem Aurat, envisioning women’s empowerment, his daughter, actress and social activist Shabana Azmi, is bringing together Bollywood’s iconic male actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, to walk for her NGO Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS) to support the cause.
The idea, she says, is to convey that “the man cares for the woman”.
Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Farhan Akhtar, Ranbir Kapoor and Sidharth Malhotra — all belonging to different generations of the Hindi film industry — will walk the ramp to show their support for emancipation of women.
The show, Men For Mijwan by Manish Malhotra, is in support of MWS, an NGO founded by Azmi’s father.
“What is unique about the event is that iconic male stars from different generations, whom we are referring to as Men Of Style will be walking the ramp for the empowerment of women in rural India
“‘The man cares for the woman’ is the message we wish to convey. This is an idea whose time has come. There is much greater awareness today that for a healthy society, male participation in women’s empowerment is the need of the hour,” Azmi said.
The aim of the NGO is to empower rural India with a focus on girls and women, and it is now jointly run by Azmi and her godchild Namrata Goyal.
The fundraising fashion show will showcase creations made using chikankari art by Mijwan girls. It will be held on April 1 at the Grand Hyatt.
“It is very heartening that my colleagues in the film industry whom we approached, were all aware of Mijwan and warmed up to the idea, and I am truly indebted to them for their support,” Azmi said.
“In fact, they have been forward in spite of gruelling film schedules. Some will come straight from their shooting, while some need to go back for a nightshift, but they are accommodating us because the issue is so important,” she added.
Azmi said she was happy with the way Mijwan has grown from strength to strength over the years.
“When we started, we had one embroidery centre in Mijwan,” she said. “Today we have 10 centres across Uttar Pradesh and we’re still counting. The girls and women now have a livelihood, because of which their status within the family has changed,” Azmi said.
“They are saying no to marriage before the age of 18, have opened bank accounts in their names and they are being looked upon as assets, not liabilities. It’s a huge mindset transformation in a patriarchal society,” she added.