Bollywood is making waves on international shores and this time it’s the women in the industry who are making sure that the world sits up and takes note. While Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Nimrat Kaur are bagging plum projects in Hollywood, Sonam Kapoor’s latest outing in popular music band Coldplay’s music video has made sure that Indian women get an edge over the others. We also saw many heroines take a stand against pay disparity between male and female actors.
“The last year has been phenomenal for women in Bollywood. I feel there have been so many of us who have been able to stand up for important issues. I feel that all female actors of the present generation are strong and independent. It’s a great time to be a woman in Bollywood today,” says actor Radhika Apte.
“There is much to celebrate this year. Not to say, all the problems we face, have been done away with, but there are things which we could celebrate. We are on the right path. Of course, there are things such as pay disparity, which still bothers me,” says Vidya Balan. Agreeing with her, actor Yami Gautam says, “Today an actress is not less than an actor in any way, be it the kind of scripts or the fan following. Women are taking up major issues and there is some amazing work being done with just female protagonists. I look up to Priyanka Chopra, her versatility, her zeal and hard work is taking her places today.”
Talking about the work opportunities abroad, Nimrat adds, “Opportunities are increasing and there is so much emphasis on south Asian talent. It’s a great time for Indian actresses. Someone that I look up to today is Mira Nair, who set out back in the day, when we hadn’t even heard of crossovers and is such a beacon of enthusiasm.”
Not only this, women in Bollywood have also shown the courage to speak up amid controversy, says actor Swara Bhaskar. “Every time an actress talks about an issue or expresses an opinion she faces a volley of abuse and online harassment on social media, in the face of such a reaction it’s laudable that actresses still refuse to remain silent,” she says. Actor Richa Chadha, who was present as part of the jury at the Marrakech film festival, says, “I am excited at the place India is making internationally. Priyanka, Deepika have made us proud. Being on the actresses’ roundtable this year, I saw that everyone basically wants love and approval and we all have the same insecurities and fears.”
Actor Dia Mirza feels that women in Bollywood are on the right path. “It’s wonderful to see that women in the industry have become increasingly aware of their talent and individuality which has allowed them to excel as professionals in all aspects of film making. I believe that with more exposure women will continue to grow as actors, producers, writers, editors, cinematographers and so much more,” she says.