Mandana Karimi stages solo protest in Mumbai to raise voice about Iran

6 October, 2022 | Pranay Lad

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Mandana Karimi staged a solo protest for her native land Iran on Saturday after her industry friends did not respond positively to her invitation to join the protest.

Iranian-born actor Mandana Karimi on Saturday staged a solo protest at Mumbai’s famous Bandstand to raise awareness about the women’s rights movement in her home country.

Mandana took a placard to the Bandra Bandstand and stood there for hours, speaking to people and informing them about the current situation in Iran. Since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, allegedly by Iran’s morality police, there have been widespread protests against the country’s women’s laws.

Mandana posted a 17-minute video of her solo protest on Instagram Reels on Sunday. The video begins with her standing alone at a prominent landmark, holding a placard containing information about what is going on in Iran. In the video, she interacts with bystanders as well as some students gathered nearby, who briefly engage with her as well. “For Iran, for my mother’s tears, for my brother’s broken face and heart, for sleepless nights, for freedom for life,” she captioned the video.

Mandana told the media about the motivation behind her protest: “On October 1, people all over the world organised a Pan Global Protest Day to stand in solidarity with Iran.” I couldn’t find India on the list of 150 cities that protested. As a result, I decided to organise one in the city. The responses I received were unsatisfactory. They ranged from ‘I have to speak to my PR team’ to ‘we are only two of us, what can we do?’, ‘It’s better to post online about what’s going on back home, and give interviews’, ‘I have family commitments’, ‘I don’t care, I don’t live in Iran anymore’, and ‘I will put a story for you’. These are only a few of the words that have left me hollow and broken.”

She went on to say that as a result, she decided to go it alone. “It reminded me of Mahsa Amini.” She, too, was alone.

She had no contacts in Tehran and is the catalyst for this movement. Saturday was critical in demonstrating to our people in Iran that we stand with you. So I went out alone, held Mahsa’s name, played Sherveen’s song, and explained the current situation in my country to the few who gathered. It was overwhelming, but I felt like I was a part of something bigger,” she continued.

Mandana was born in Tehran and raised there. She moved to India in 2010 to pursue a career as a model. Since then, she has appeared in films such as Roy, Bhaag Johnny, and Thar. She rose to prominence after appearing on the reality shows Bigg Boss in 2015-16 and Lock Up earlier this year. Mandana has previously expressed solidarity with Iranian protesters by posting videos of herself cutting her own hair and discussing the issue on Instagram. Since they began two weeks ago, Iran’s violent protests have claimed the lives of 92 people.