I Believe Caste System Must Be Eradicated: Ayushmann on Article 15
Now, I have just seen the trailer of Article 15 and I can tell you it’s one of the most powerful trailers I have seen in a long time. I can only imagine how powerful the film will be. Can you tell me how Article 15 came about? Did you approach Anubhav, did Anubhav approach you?
In fact, it was mutual. I really loved Mulk and I thought the subject was handled very beautifully in the film. When I met Anubhav sir, he offered me a rom-com and I was like, “I want to do something like Mulk,” and he gave me certain subjects. This was one of the subjects he had offered and I got really excited. I was like, I firmly believe that caste system should be eradicated. I have read literature on Dalits and he was really surprised that I have a keen interest in this issue.
Now, the kind of upbringing you probably have, caste may not have been a factor when you were growing up, or you must have not really considered anything like that important but there must be something that triggered off the need to read. Do you want to tell me where that happened?
I saw this documentary called ‘India Untouched’ five years back. It starts with a Dalit entering a Brahmin village in Tamil Nadu. When he enters the Brahmin village, he has to take off his shoes, put it on his cycle’s carrier and then pass the village. And it happens in every state in 2019.
Like, there are different wells in Gujarat for Dalits and Brahmins and Thakurs. The access to water is also not allowed. So, it’s like a basic human rights issue and it doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. It only happens in our country. There are separate utensils for our domestic helps. In the US, we may share a meal with our chauffeur; it doesn’t happen in our country. But, I think that needs to be changed. We’ve read about caste system in our history books. Where is the need to know about these demarcations? I think the future generation should not be told about these things. So I think only then the change can happen.
Have you personally ever been in a situation or in a circumstance where you have been made to realise which caste you belong to?
I have travelled length and breadth of the country when I used to do street theatre. I remember in Rajasthan, we were travelling for BITS-Pilani festival and the first thing... the second thing after... You know, they’ll ask you what caste are you from. Further conversation depends on your caste. How close that person wants to get with you depends on your social stature and your lineage, not the person you are. I have not faced any issue as such because, of course, I belong to an upper caste.
Article 15 is set to hit theatres on 28 June.
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