The true idea of feminism is having a choice and equal opportunity, says newly wed actress Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, who chose to add her husband Anand Ahuja's surname and was at the receiving end of comments and criticism.
Sonam, who dazzled on the red carpet of the 71st Cannes Film Festival, spoke to select media in a video chat from the gala, where she represented cosmetic brand L'Oreal Paris.
"I am a true feminist and I believe in choice. Nobody told me to change my name after marriage. I decided to do it by myself. The whole idea of feminism is to have equal opportunity and choice to do what I want to do. That choice should be mine," Sonam said.
"I always said that I am a feminist and I have the choice to change and not change my name. Kapoor is my family name, so is Ahuja. I am a part of that family too, so I chose to keep both the names. In fact, Anand has also changed his name and nobody noticed that. It is my personal choice," added the daughter of veteran actor Anil Kapoor.
Sonam married longtime beau Anand on May 8. She immediately changed her name to Sonam Kapoor Ahuja on all her social media accounts after the marriage ceremony got over.
"Taking your father's name as the last name is a practice. That is how you show respect to your father. You can give the same respect to your husband using his name as the last name. It is the same thing. It is a cyclical thing.
"One can break it and give their child a new surname but it takes a lot of effort. It is a complicated discussion, but at this point in time, this is my choice," she said.
Her new film "Veere Di Wedding" is all set to release on June 1.
Asked if she would be working in films as enthusiastically as she did before marriage, Sonam said: "Well, people are asking me these questions, which is sad. I do not think it has really changed that much.
"I know it for a fact that Kajol, who also got married at the peak of her career worked. Actresses like Dimple Kapadia, Waheeda Rehman also worked after marriage. In fact, Madhuri Dixit did a film like 'Devdas' after marriage."
"I think as women we should come together and understand that it should be always a choice. And that should not be taken away. I am also making sure that I am leading a normal life of coming back to work after marriage and doing what I do the best," added the "Khoobsurat" actress.
There has been a buzz that she is shifting to London with her husband.
Clarifying that, Sonam said: "I already have a home in London. I am there for last two years, and nobody noticed. My life will be the same as it is for the last two years. I will stay there for four-five months and then mostly in Mumbai."
She said she is not even looking for any flat in Mumbai.
"I already have a house in Mumbai, then why?"
Commenting on pay disparity in the film industry, Sonam said: "There is a very misogynistic and patriarchal attitude towards women at the workplace globally, not only in India.
"Women in a powerful position are expected to be masculine or aggressive, otherwise she is not given the kind of respect... People expect her to be in a certain way.
"Even though she demands a certain amount of money or power, they certainly become undesirable. That mindset is what we need to fight. There should be women who should stand and say this is something that I want to change. Things will change."
Being the brand ambassador of the cosmetic brand L'Oreal, Sonam felt proud to represent her country at a global platform like Cannes as a woman of worth.
"It has been amazing for me to be a part of the brand for the last eight years. They are great…the kind of campaigns that are happening at the red carpet with Time's Up and #MeToo where women are standing for their equal right, it is great to represent the brand as a woman of worth," said the actress.
On the film front, she is looking forward to shooting her new film "The Zoya Factor".