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There are conversations about gender equality around the world, and Aditi Rao Hydari feels there is “a huge gender imbalance” in India. The actor says, “I have been vocal because it upsets me. I want change, and it can only happen if we prioritise education, not literacy. We need a wholesome education. When you educate a girl, when you give equal opportunities to a girl, you educate her family, her community and the whole nation prospers.”

The Daas Dev actor adds, “But at the same time, we need to empower men too with sensitivity so they make this essential gender equality a part of their lives.” Hydari has shown her versatility by experimenting with her craft in her career. “I live in the moment and I’m always looking forward. I have been working since 2010 finding my way slowly and steadily step-by-step, fumbling sometimes but managing to find the light.”

What kept her going is her unwavering belief. “I’m always able to turn a negative into a positive.” She says there are days when she feels like she “might pass out, but I enjoy the hectic pace. I’m looking forward to doing more, to learning more and to being challenged more,” she said.

Hydari admits it was tough to find her way in Bollywood. “If you leave a kid in the dark, his eyes get accustomed to the dark and he/she finds the light in the darkness… so yes may be [my initial struggle shaped the way I am now]. I don’t have someone making films for me, planning my career, making sure every milestone is well recorded and appreciated and perceived as it should.”

Hydari says she is always asked why her potential hasn’t been tapped in the industry. “That’s a question you need to ask them [filmmakers], not me,” says Hydari. “I do my best whether it is a 20-minute role in an ensemble cast or a lead character. I also cry, I feel disappointed, I sometimes feel things are unfair, but I have a huge sense of belief, and it makes me take fearless decisions. I have complete control over them and it empowers me,” adds the Bhoomi (2017) actor.