Actor Vidya Balan, who is often ­credited for ­being one of those who made women-centric films mainstream, is happy to see that in the recent months, “some brilliant films with female leads have done extremely well — both critically and ­commercially”.
However, there is still something that pains her heart. “You know, I feel that there is still a lot of disparity in the pay cheques of male and female actors,” she sighs, and adds, “If there is one thing I could change about the industry, I think it’d be this disparity. The female actors should also get an equally fat cheque.”
The actor, who made her Bollywood debut with Parineeta (2005), a film appreciated for its strong female protagonist, recalls that there was a time when the kind of films she did were considered ­exceptions. “I am very happy to see the kind of films being made over the past two years. I remember when I did Ishqiya (2010), No One Killed Jessica (2011), The Dirty Picture (2011) and Kahaani (2012), these films were considered an ­aberration. Slowly but surely, I think it gained momentum, and between last year and this year, I can think of at least eight good films with women in the lead,” says the 37-year-old actor.
Vidya observes that the trend on reel potrays the change in society. “It’s a very hopeful ­scenario for us (female actors), and it’s here to stay now. I don’t think this is a phase. I think this is how it is going to be, because if you see all around, women are now in-charge of their lives. They are becoming aware that they could lead their lives the way they wish to. They are becoming aware of their rights, and they are coming into their own. They are getting into professions that were considered a male bastion earlier. So there are going to be more ­stories with female leads. And we will see more such stories on screen, because cinema is a reflection of our society.”