Appearances, rather order of appearances, can be deceptive. And who better to set that right than Bollywood’s King Khan who has decided that from now on, he will lead the good fight for a level playing screen. Shah Rukh Khan has decided, bless his magnanimous heart, that his leading ladies’ names will appear before his on the credit lines.
So will you be racing to the theatre to watch a film because a certain leading lady has got higher billing than Shah Rukh? Not likely, chances are you shell out a couple of hundred shekels to watch Shah Rukh stutter and shimmy his way around on the big screen.
Don’t get us wrong, we think Shah Rukh should take a bow. But, we would like to see him strengthen his trailblazer credentials. He could say that he will now insist on a salary switch, the leading lady who is now swanning about on top of the credits will also get more pay than the leading man.
How do you like them gender bending apples? His peers may have a thing or two to say about this, but what Shah Rukh does today, others will have to do tomorrow. This could well be a trend which could lead to a paradigm shift in our cinematic history. Why stop at just credits?
We think that we could, in fact, have scripts in which the item lass is replaced by an item lad. Come on, fess up ladies, not too many of you will be complaining about seeing our toned heroes in itsy bitsy costumes. We could also have script changes in which the usual eve-teasing could end up with the offending hero or villain being demoted to spot boy.
We are sure that given his heartwarming desire to ensure that the leading lady does not trail behind, the day is not too far off when Shah Rukh will demand, and probably, get equal pay for equal work for heroines. That would be really putting the producer’s money where King Khan’s mouth is.
Now we have to confess that we have a vested interest in cutting across visibility and salary barriers. One day, maybe, just maybe, we too will graduate from writing these faceless editorials and get our names printed in bold along with a commensurate paycheck. We certainly don’t lack the Khan do spirit any less than Shah Rukh.