Rise of the female Lead, really?
On Women’s Day, four Bollywood actors in different age groups rate on a scale of 1 to 10, how, over the years, the position of women has improved, both on and off-screen.
Poonam Dhillon, 51
I think there is definite improvement in how women are portrayed on-screen. Offbeat roles are being written and it is nice to see our young actresses in bindaas roles, where they aren’t just glam dolls. This is unlike in the ‘80s, when the norm was, ‘Koi bhi heroine le lo... hero A grade hona chahiye’. However, we still don’t have strong roles written for our female actors in their ‘50s and ‘60s. If we can make that happen, it will be great.
Padmini Kohlapuri, 48
Yes, women are getting more bold roles, but off-screen women actors have much to achieve. Bollywood is still a male-dominated arena, and the big disparity in the pay packages of male and female actors is a proof. However, it is pleasant to see leading ladies working even after marriage, unlike in earlier times. Bollywood itself used to make films on women’s issues earlier, Prem Rog (1982) and Woh Saat Din (1983), which doesn’t happen now.
Raveena Tandon, 39
I think there has been a big change. Unlike the scenario a few years back, when women in films mostly played the dutiful sister, the long-suffering mother or the damsel in distress waiting to be rescued by the hero, Bollywood today has woken up to the fact that women deserve more on the silver screen too. Women are now shown to have their own minds and lives. Films such as Kahaani, English Vinglish and Queen have proven this.
Kangana Ranaut, 26
There have been some changes, but a lot more needs to be done. For one, women in Bollywood are treated with much more respect now, than they were earlier. But then, there are things like male actors making much more money, even though a woman actor gives as much time and energy to a role. Also, during the casting, the hero has an upper hand. I know how it works, I have worked in such films. We need proper casting agencies to solve this.