“Toxic masculinity is a phrase to be used with care.” – Aditya Roy Kapur at the We The Women

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Aditya Roy Kapur was seen in a never-before conversation at We The Women, Barkha Dutt’s flagship town hall which hosted its 6th edition on March 4th in Jaipur this year. From strumming an electric guitar and singing on stage, to opening up about how he maintains a degree of “normalcy” in his life, the actor made headlines with his presence among many celebrated women at the festival.
The conversation, which can be viewed in full on the Mojo Story digital platform was focused on the idea of masculinity in modern times and the changing concepts of who is a hero.

In response to a question from the audience on “toxic masculinity” Kapur said he recognized the
seriousness of the issue but argued that the phrase “should be used with care”, suggesting that a casual
overuse of the phrase only trivialised it and created confusion.
He also spoke of whether rules that applied to women and private space were not respected when it
came to men, in the context of a bizarre moment with a fan who tried to forcefully kiss him. Aditya said,
“After a brief moment of surprise, I quickly recognized the situation for what it was and relied on my self-
defence instincts. While it can be uncomfortable to have your personal space invaded, I understand that
some people can’t help their excitement. I did not make a big deal about it, and security quickly took care
of the situation.”

“It’s important to have a conversation about personal space, but in this instance, I was able to handle it
effectively and without any further incident,” he added.
Aditya Roy Kapur reflected on his upbringing and the role his close-knit family and friends played in
keeping him real and grounded despite the massive adulation that comes his way. Revealing that he
wore a mask to go incognito at a recent Blues Festival in Mumbai and talking about moments when he
“just jumps into a Rick (Autorickshaw), he said, “My childhood friends and family are close knit and make
sure to keep me humble and grounded. It is very easy for one to surround ourselves with an echo
chamber in this business which has a lot of ebbs and flows…. I have seen a couple of these waves, which
go away as easily as it comes.”

Barkha Dutt asked Kapur about the patriarchal stereotypes that men also battle and that do not get as
much public attention. He spoke of a recent report he had read that revealed that 78% of suicides last
year were men, and yet only ⅓ of people in therapy are men, indicating that men are also battling
different crises. “Despite society encouraging men to be vulnerable and ask for help, the expectations
placed on men have not changed. Men are still expected to conform to certain societal norms, leaving
them confused and unsure of how to communicate their struggles. This highlights the need for society to
better understand and support the mental health needs of men.”
Asked about how he personally dealt with failure, Kapur said “It can be very brutal..I deal with it by first
going into a shell and not talking to anybody. Once I get my centre back, I try to get back into work. I
noticed that the best antidote to feeling down is getting on set….But otherwise, I also enjoy travelling
solo and trying out new things.”

In a throwback to his days as a VJ on Channel V , Aditya also shared his passion for music and revealed
that an album is upcoming. “Music has always been a way for me to escape and express myself. I listen
to all kinds of music, from classical to rock to Indie. It’s something that connects with me on a deep level
and I try to incorporate that into my work as well.”
As the crowd asked him to sing, he borrowed the guitar from Nagaland artist Imnainla Jamir, also a
speaker at the We The Women Festival, spontaneously played the guitar and sang a track, leaving the
crowd enthralled.

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