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Where are the women on TV?

After American director Gail Mancuso recently bagged an Emmy for Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series, for the Vegas episode of Modern Family, the lack of women directors in the Indian television industry became a pronounced thought.

tv Updated: Sep 16, 2014 10:57 IST
Dibyojyoti Baksi

After American director Gail Mancuso recently bagged an

Emmy

for Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series, for the Vegas episode of Modern Family, the lack of women directors in the Indian television industry became a pronounced thought.



While dearth of opportunities is not an issue, many rue hectic schedules as the prime factor for the situation.



With most Indian shows airing daily, erratic working hours and round-the-clock churning are part of the game, with shooting taking place on all seven days of the week. Swapna Waghmare Joshi, producer-director of Rang Badalti Odhani (2010-2011), reveals that sometimes directors end up working for 72 hours at a stretch.



"I am not saying that women are not strong enough to handle the pressure, but I have seen that most of them choose not to put themselves in that situation. Spending quality time with the family is a priority, and with such hours, that becomes tough," she says, adding that this gender disparity spills over to the position of assistant directors as well. "The ratio of women assistants has gone down drastically. I always used to have at least two, now I struggle to find even one," she shares.



Kaushik Ghatak, who directed the popular soap, Kyunki... Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi..., echoes a similar sentiment, and avers that there has always been a dearth of women directors in the industry — be it in films or in television.



He is of the opinion that, unlike films, which have a specific schedule, TV productions are known for their erratic timings. "I feel that this might be one of the reasons, which discourages women from venturing into television direction," he says.



Actor Jay Soni, who feels that it’ll be nice if this gap is bridged, says that, till now, the absence has been quite prominent. "I haven’t seen too many women directors in the TV world, I guess because most of them move on to films. I feel that it’s due to the hectic schedule," he says.



However, when it comes to creative directors in television, women make for a healthy number, say industry members. "There might not be enough [women] directors, but 70 per cent of the creative directors in TV are women, and they are doing an excellent job," says Yash A Patnaik, producer of TV series like Veera and Junoon – Aisi Nafrat Toh Kaisa Ishq, among others.