No place for opinionated women: Pooja Bhatt talks nepotism and patriarchy in Bollywood
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No place for opinionated women: Pooja Bhatt talks nepotism and patriarchy in Bollywood

At the very beginning of her career, the bindass Bhatt was told in no uncertain terms, that if she wants to make it big, she will have to keep her opinions to herself

brunch Updated: Jul 18, 2017 07:54 IST
Ananya Ghosh
Ananya Ghosh
Hindustan Times
Pooja Bhatt,Kangana Ranaut,Tanuja
Two cool to care: Pooja Bhatt, like her dad, Mahesh Bhatt, is known for speaking her mind(Credit)

In a time when Bollywood is facing allegations of nepotism, Pooja Bhatts’ surname should have ensured that her journey in the industry was a cakewalk, but in the recent interview to HTBrunch, she revealed that it didn’t.

Although, she was launched by her dad, renowned producer/director Mahesh Bhatt, it was her acting prowess that got her recognition from the very first film. In fact, her being the Bhatt scion made things difficult for her! “Apparently, since I am a director’s daughter, most people thought you would not be interested in their projects,” she revealed when HTBrunch met her for the recent interview.

What made it all the more difficult was that she was an opinionated woman. Back in the early ’90s the perception was that heroines were to be seen and not heard. “I was told that since I am such an opinionated woman, people would think 10 times before approaching me for their films.” She was told, in no uncertain terms, that if she wanted to make it big here, she would have to learn to keep her opinions to herself. “People even gave me the example of Tanuja. I was told that although she was immensely talented, she lost out because of her bohemian ways. Now, Tanuja is not only one of my favourite actors, but she also happens to be one of my favourite women on this planet. So, that example failed to deter me from being myself. I said, so be it!” Pooja says.

However, things have not changed much and Bollywood is still not too comfortable with the concept of strong, opinionated women, especially off screen; and the recent repeat offender is Kangana Ranaut. When we ask Pooja about her nepotism comment that seem to have rattled the entire industry, Pooja’s candidness catches us off guard. “As I mentioned, I have not really benefitted from nepotism, and I have always worked with industry outsiders. I would not know what Kangana has faced but at the same time, I would not outrightly dismiss her just because her story is different from mine. Every person has his or her own journey. I have fought my battles, and she must have fought hers.

“But there is no denying the fact that we live in a patriarchal society, and Bollywood is a patriarchal industry for sure. And it is not too fond of women with opinions,” she stresses.

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From HT Brunch, July 13, 2017

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First Published: Jul 13, 2017 18:38 IST