Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh on anchoring ‘Ladies Vs Gentlemen’

Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh dicuss their new latest Ladies Vs Gentlemen, a poll-based show focussing on common gender tropes

When Filpkart Video approached Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia Deshmukh for Ladies Vs Gentlemen that seeks gender-based answers to a range of questions, they sensed an opportunity to voice their thoughts. Riteish, however, says that the show is not about what they think is right, but about what “India is thinking”.

The format of the show is simple: each episode has three opinion-based questions. The panellists and viewers are given 15 seconds to answer following which their responses are revealed along with the collective opinion of the public, known as ‘India’s opinion’.

When it came to hosting the show, Riteish says that there was not a question of tonality since the questions themselves would evoke a certain kind of reaction from viewers, who come from different walks of life. “Some of the questions were fun and some were thought-provoking. And there were taboo questions that were meant to be discussed. We [Genelia and I] represent a cross-section of India. Through the questions, we were able to gauge where India was tilting,” says Riteish over a Zoom call from Mumbai, along with his wife.

Genelia chips in to add that Ladies Vs Gentlemen, launched on November 18 on the Flipkart app, does not offer solutions. It is more about exchanging perspectives. “Even with us, we share different viewpoints and that is always respected,” she adds.

Being a couple has not changed or influenced their perspectives on gender, for, Genelia feels that they are not too gender-specific about their roles as parents. “For us, it is not a question of whether it is a man’s job or woman’s… it is more of who does it better. We give that space for each other,” she says, adding, “So, when Riteish sits down with kids to teach, I am not around because it is his time. We, as a couple, have evolved in what the kids have taught us.”

Given that they are actors working in an industry that has become a breeding ground for gender stereotypes, would they discuss some of their personal experiences on the show? “Since most of us in the panel are in the film and entertainment industry, yes, it comes back to our experiences,” says Riteish. Genelia, however, gives a measured response: “I haven’t had too many experiences that were gender-biased.”

That said, the larger goal, according to Riteish, was to open up certain subjects for viewers and make them feel okay to be discussed in reality. “There have been times where we haven’t given our opinions as a couple in public. What was more interesting was to hear feedback from people. We thought there was a clear distinction between the way men and women think. But we were mostly wrong.”

The show made Genelia realise how much she misses work. Although she says she wouldn’t give up being a homemaker for anything, “There is also a part of me that is creatively interested in films. I didn’t want to be unfair to someone who signed me for a film. That is why I took the break. Now the kids are a little older… I have reached a stage where I am ready. Plus, there is so much that today’s cinema offers,” says Genelia, who made a comeback this year with It’s My Life, a Hindi remake of the Telugu comedy Bommarillu.

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