Actor Ayushmann Khurrana dons many hats, some that take him outside the world of films, too. The father of two is UNICEF India’s celebrity advocate and has worked for children’s rights at many levels, including a campaign directed at protecting children from cyber bullying. In his latest outing, the 38-year old actor was part of the World Children’s Day (November 20) event held in the Capital where he spoke about inclusion of girls in sports, the power of cinema in bringing about change and more.
1. What motivated you to join UNICEF?
It’s the social responsibility of every public figure to do something for the future generation and the society. I am proud of my filmography as well as I have been dealing with different social issues through the world of entertainment. I believe in cinema for change. But, if I can do something outside the realm of cinema for the children, that’s great.
2. Any landmark moments that you would like to share from this two-year association?
I am honoured that I am part of UNICEF India. Last year, we discussed about cyber bullying. People could be anonymous with certain agendas in their heads and that was the moment I realised that it is not just bullying offline but also online, especially with teenagers who are vulnerable. We live in times where people take their online identities more seriously than their real identities. You put a certain image of yourself outside and when it gets tarnished, it’s nerve-wracking. Children should be open about it with their parents or elder siblings because when you are in the age group of 13-19, everything just bloats up. The teenage mind is impulsive, so to give that grounding, we need good family support.
3. How can sports be used to channelise energies and end gender disparity?
It comes with family. If your women are empowered, your family is empowered. They have a female gaze so your sons will also have a female gaze and that’s very important for this country to prosper. Sports give you a certain assertiveness – it’s mental and physical and has discipline. When you have that, your energies are also channelised. You have a voice, which makes it very important for women to be part of sports.
4. Any leaf out of your own parenting style book that you want to share with other parents?
I wish I get more time to be a hands-on father, but having said that, I certainly believe that being in the position that I am, I should be able to make some difference to the society.
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