Kangana Ranaut calls out actresses for justifying pay disparity in Bollywood
Kangana said, “I have heard successful women from the film industry say things like ‘we don’t deserve equal pay because heroes get bigger openings’”. She continued, “If you don’t feel empowered, nobody can make you feel empowered. You have to feel like an equal. God has given me a pancreas, kidney, a heart and eyes. I am not inferior to others. If you don’t feel empowered no court can make you feel empowered. Half the battle is lost when you feel undeserving.”
Kangana was possibly making a reference to something actor Sonakshi Sinha has said before. After the first poster of Mission Mangal was launched, and attracted controversy for giving Akshay Kumar more prominence than the five female actors who also appear in the film, Sonakshi had told Hindustan Times, “To all of us, it was team work. Even while we were shooting, nobody was made to feel smaller than the other person, despite there being so many people. And the fact of the matter is that Akshay Kumar is the biggest star in the film! Someone had told me very long back (smiles) and this line has stuck in my head: ‘Jo bikta hai, voh dikhta hai’. Today, if you see Akshay’s collections, he’s the highest selling star in the entire film, that is why (his face is bigger on the poster).”
Sonakshi and Akshay’s Mission Mangal co-star Taapsee Pannu had also commented on pay disparity in the industry, and had said something similar: “Maintaining pay parity is very important and I am in total favour of it. But right now, where I stand, I probably can’t say that I can command the same salary as my male counterpart in this or that film.”
Even Alia Bhatt had said something similar about her Kalank co-star Varun Dhawan. “Investing money in a film is directly co-related to the people you are bringing to the theatre. I’m not delusional that the same number of viewers who go to watch Varun’s movies will come to see my work. He has a wider reach than me. That’s why I can’t expect that the same amount of money which is invested in his solo-starrers, is invested in mine, too. Also, it’s the subject that makes a film viable. We can’t be categorical about everything because every actor and movie is different,” she had said earlier this year.
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