ANINDITA ACHARYA, Kolkata: Actor Soham Majumdar believes there are many educated, urban homes which still follow the archaic customs when it comes to menstruation. “Let alone villages, even many urban families don’t allow their menstruating girls to enter the temple. So, if your family believes in regressive and archaic customs, you would also follow suit,” he says.
We are at Windows Production House in south Kolkata and just behind Soham, there is a huge poster of Aritra Mukherjee’s Bengali film Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti where he is seen essaying Ritabhari Chakraborty’s husband. In the film, Ritabhari plays a lecturer and also a priest. The film also tackles a number of social taboos, and one of them is menstruating women entering temples. In fact, a few days ago, a Bhuj spiritual leader raised a controversy when he said menstruating women who cook, will be born as dogs. To them, however, Soham, who became an overnight sensation for portraying the role of Shiva in Shahid Kapoor-starrer Kabir Singh, has only one thing to say. “Such people don’t need to exist. Or you just need to sit next to these people and talk to them,” he says.
Interestingly, Scotland’s parliament has recently passed a bill that will ensure women gets menstruation products free of charge. However, back in our country, around 45 per cent women still do not use sanitary napkin. Soham has a practical outlook towards this issue. “A film cannot change the mindset overnight. However, it can lead to a conversation. One should follow proper hygiene and sanitation during menstruation. But in reality, most rural household and even urban household do not follow sanitation precautions. Rather than hygiene, we remain more anxious to follow the regressive methods which are associated with menstruation. We have tried to highlight some issues through our films,” says the actor, who made his film debut in Kaushik Ganguly’s Drishtikone.
Soham admits Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti is an important film in today’s time. He also believes that teachers can play a more pro-active role in this case. “I seriously believe that if we can empower the teachers, we can produce better students. We need to educate the girls and boys equally on menstruation and that can begin from school,” suggests Soham, who will be seen in Soumyajit Majumdar’s Homecoming.