"Acting is using one’s imagination while activism is what one does as a person."
“I am an actor because I have a very strong imagination which raises in me empathy towards the pain and pleasure of the people. These two qualities are connected and make for an activist,” said actor activist Susan Sarandon here on Thursday.
The Hollywood actor who was the chief guest of the 44th International Film Festival of India was addressing the presspersons at the media centre of the ongoing festival on Wednesday. Elaborating further on acting and activism, in response to a question, she said acting is using one’s imagination while activism is what one does as a person.
Expressing her candid views on the social role of an actor, Ms. Sarandon said, “It has always been hurting to my ego to live without asking questions about the issues concerning mankind.” As cinema reframes one’s vision of the man and his world, it is important to make good movies with substance, she added. She asserted that ultimately one has to create his or her own story.
Responding to a question on gender discrimination, she said education is the basis of any change and that a man is comfortable when he chooses a strong woman.
“The business of filmmaking is very hard on a woman,” she said in reply to another question. “The Oscar is the biggest award but the film winning the award need not necessarily be the best. The awards are decided by contribution of the jury and the voting system which has evolved into a different system.”
The Oscar award-winner said she was impressed by the beauty and poise of Indian actor Waheeda Rehman with whom she interacted during the inaugural function.
“Waheeda is beautiful and dignified. It was really amazing to meet an older actress who is still doing films,” Ms. Sarandon said.
She said that it was necessary to empathise with the character to give one’s best performance and said her performance in the film Dead Man Walking was the most prized because she had not only acted in the film, but also had a hand to play in the development of the project.
“I happened to read the book and sort of forced them to make a film,” she quipped.
Replying to another question on her activism, she said it was her nature to respond to situations, instead of being meek and letting things pass that had led to her becoming an activist. She said her stance against war in the U.S. had resulted in some uncomfortable moments for her and her family.
She disclosed that she had wanted to wear a sari for the inaugural ceremony. “But then some people said I might have stumbled. But I have worn local clothes during my stay in Arab countries. I have survived to tell the tale,” she said.