Films are to entertain, not preach, - Kirron Kher

Kirron Kher may be supporting a campaign against eve teasing - an Indian euphemism for mild forms of sexual harassment on the streets - but the Bollywood actor feels films are only meant for entertainment and not for spreading social messages.

"Films are meant to entertain people, not preach social messages. Art films are best left to do that," Kher, who is also a theatre personality, told IANS in her ever frank and vivacious manner.

In the capital to felicitate young women achievers in diverse fields, Kher said that it was however important that celebrities take up issues of social importance and talk about them because they have a great influence on the masses' opinion.

"People look up to celebrities and public figures. Therefore it is their responsibility to take up social issues and talk about them because they have the capability to change people's opinions and attitudes," she said.

"For my part, I am already a part of the programme called 'Ladli' which campaigns for the girl child. And now, on an invitation by the ministry of women and child development, I have pledged my support to the campaign against eve teasing," she said. Although at this age I would love to get eve teased!" Kher, who is middle aged, quickly added and laughed.

A brilliant actor, Kher made her debut in a Punjabi film, "Asra Pyar Da", in 1983 and earned rave reviews for her performance. She was given a National Film Award for her role in the film "Sardari Begum" in 1997 and the National Film Award for best actress for the Bengali film "Bariwali" in 2000.

She was also awarded the IIFA best supporting actress award for her role in the film "Devdas" in 2003 and the Bronze Leopard award at the Locarno International Film festival for her role in "Khamosh Pani" in the same year.

Some of her recent endearing performances were in the films "Rang De Basanti" in which she played Aamir Khan's mother Mitro, and in "Om Shanti Om" where she played the starry eyed mother of Shah Rukh Khan, Bela Makhija.

"When I was just starting out in my career, I took an eight-year hiatus to bring up my son, Sikandar, from 1988 to 1996. It was such a natural decision he needed me the most at that time.

"Sometimes we tend to overdo the women thing men can be more vulnerable than women," she said.

Wearing her long mane loose and smoothening the pleats of her cream coloured silk sari, Kher said she is as aggressive as her husband, veteran actor Anupam Kher, is calm.

"But I am a survivor. And my son is just like me," she smiled.

"Like most of today's kids, Sikander didn't really ask our permission to join films. It was his decision," Kher said about Sikander, whose pipeline projects include "Woodstock Villa" and "Summer of 2007".

Asked about her future plans, the ace actor said she was open to different roles, even on the small screen provided it interested her enough.

"But you will never see me in the serials!" she said.

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