Women are active in show business like never before, but will they surpass the status Bollywood heroes enjoy? Never, says actress Bipasha Basu, who feels there is "minimum" opportunity for female actors in the Hindi film industry.
"In Bollywood, the opportunities for female actresses is very minimum. There's not much choice for us except to be safe and look pretty and do some nice dance numbers," Bipasha told IANS in an interview.
But Bipasha says: "One Dirty Picture hasn't changed anything much. It's just that you're lucky sometimes to get a Dirty Picture or for my sake, get a Raaz, Jism' or Corporate."
"As one off, you will get a film, which will be talked about in the context that 'Oh! Women are getting into trend now! It's going to be such a great time for female actresses'. The thing it is never.
"We all are going through it, including my contemporaries. As much as we say that the film industry is changing, it is a very hero-centric business and it will always remain that," said the 33-year-old, who entered the film industry in 2001 with Ajnabee.
After spending over a decade in show business, and having cemented her standing with projects such as Raaz, Jism, No Entry, Dhoom 2, Apharan, Corporate, Race, Bachna Ae Haseeno and, most recently, the successful Raaz 3, Bipasha admits she can sense some positive change.
"There are now some intelligent filmmakers, who are making films which are thankfully not about being feminist but about making an entertaining film with the heroine having to do something. And as an actress, you have to really hunt for these films! These are not very easy to find and they are not on higher budgets. It's rare that a 'Raaz 3' comes your way and that's when you jump at the opportunity," said the actress.
Who does she blame for the paucity of films with women in focus?
"The audience is the barrier. If we get eyeballs for films which are just women-centric, it is going to definitely get us more revenue and more infrastructure so that many more films will be made with women as protagonists. It happens for a little while when one works and then it goes away. And it happens again, and goes away. So it's like a trend," she said.
For now, Bipasha awaits the release of her debut Hollywood movie Singularity, in which she plays a Maratha warrior Tulaja Naik, opposite filmstar Josh Hartnett.
Unlike her glamourous image in Bollywood, Bipasha has gone simple for the role.
She will also be seen in a cameo in Race 2, the sequel to her successful 2008 film Race.
To give variety to her filmography, Bipasha will also be seen in psychological thriller Aatma.