Asha Parekh and Tanuja call out pay disparity and ageism in Bollywood: 'Payment was always a problem'

Apr 18, 2023 07:32 PM IST

Veteran actors Asha Parekh and Tanuja talked about pay disparity and ageism in Bollywood in a recent interview.

Veteran Bollywood actors Asha Parekh and Tanuja opened up about the issues of pay disparity and the lack of proper hygienic conditions on sets in Bollywood. In a new interview, the acclaimed actors opened up about the issues that have more or less remained the same in Bollywood, even after so many decades. (Also read: Hema Malini says roles are 'written specially' for male actors, not for actresses: Amitabh Bachchan gets great roles...)

Asha Parekh and Tanuja talked about ageism and pay disparity in Bollywood.
Asha Parekh and Tanuja talked about ageism and pay disparity in Bollywood.

Asha Parekh started her career as a child artiste under the screen name Baby Asha Parekh. Director Bimal Roy spotted her dance at a stage function and cast her at the age of ten in Maa (1952). Some of her most notable films include Dil Deke Dekho (1959), Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961), Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), Teesri Manzil (1966), and Kati Patang (1970) to name a few. Meanwhile, Tanuja debuted in the film Chhabili (1960), and then went on to star in films like Deya Neya (1963), Chand Aur Suraj (1965), Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966), Jewel Thief (1967) among others.

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Now, in a recent conversation on Maitri: Female First Collective on YouTube, both Asha and Tanuja talked about a number of issues that are still prevailing in Bollywood like pay disparity and ageism, and said, “Payment was always a problem – previously and even now. Men always had a higher standing. Even Hollywood has not been able to do it… We can’t blame the guys. We gave them the power to rule.”

Talking about ageism in the film industry, Asha Parekh said, “Today, Mr Amitabh Bachchan, at this age also, people are writing roles for him. Why aren’t people writing roles for us? We also should be getting some roles which are important to the film. That’s not there. Either we are playing mother or sister Who’s interested?” Adding to this topic, Tanuja said, “Or now we’re given grandmother roles.”

Highlighting the lack of proper bathrooms in the film sets, Asha Parekh also said how they were told to remain silent about the fact that there are no bathrooms. The actor recalled how studios just had one bathroom for everybody and they were in horrible condition most of the time.

Recently, actor-politician Hema Malini had also highlighted the ageism in the film industry and said that there are no author-backed roles that are written for women of her age, even though OTT has seen such a boom in recent times.

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