It is quite sad to learn that despite being talented talent, Bollywood actresses face a lot of sexism. In a recent interview with Times of India, Vidya Balan went all out to proclaim how she tasted the bitter delicacy of sexism but conquered it with her talent. For sometime now, Vidya has been owning films without a male counterpart to her aid. Be it No One Killed Jessica, Kahaani or even Dirty Picture, the National Award winning actress has come a long way whilst facing the harshness of gender bias. However, with her next film Kahaani 2, that releases on December 2, the actress decided to let her struggles in the male dominating world find a voice. Balan opened up about some of her experiences in the industry where she was treated differently for being a woman. Scroll below and check them out.
The partiality in terms of payscale
There was a film, and I won’t name the actor, out of respect for him, but there was a film in which I was playing the bigger role, and he was getting paid more. And that bothered me. Because I am playing the bigger role! I am putting in more effort! I am not asking you to pay me for nothing, but you can’t pay him double of what you are paying me. I am not putting in any less effort, if at all, I am putting in more effort. These things – like waiting for an actor endlessly, while I am ready on the set – bothered me. Doesn’t matter if I am a woman or a man, but I take my job very seriously.
From a nobody to finally a ‘Hero’
I’ll never forget this gentleman who called me on the day Ishqiya released and said, ‘Aapne film hero jaise promote ki aur aap film ki hero hain’. And I was thrilled at the compliment because I worked really hard to promote the film. Naseer sahab was not promoting the film and Arshad was not there for all the promotions. But I went everywhere in that synthetic sari, promoting the film. But I was happy that I was doing all I could to get as many people as possible into the theatres.”
Sexism and its side effects
When I was told multiple times for several films that the hero has given the dates so you have to adjust, we won’t get his dates later. Khoon khaulta tha mera. I might be committed to some other film, but I would have to change things around.”
I am the most important person in my life
At least in India, everyone, including women, has treated men like the more important person in their lives. But today, I very proudly tell people, that I am the most important person in my life. And sometimes people are taken aback, because as a married woman, I should be saying that Siddharth is the most important person in my life. I love Siddharth, but I am still the most important person in my life. If you think I am being selfish, self-centred, self-consumed, self-absorbed, self-indulgent – I don’t care! This is what it is. It is high time!”
Women, a procreation machine and nothing more
In interviews I get asked about my marriage and when I am having a child, time and again. There are other actors, male actors, who have gotten married. They are not asked, ‘when are you impregnating your wife?’ They are not even asked, ‘how is your married life going?’ For me to be asked that all the time – it is excessive. Because I do have an identity outside being a married woman. And that does not compromise or mitigate what I feel for Siddharth. But I come back to say – I am the most important person in my life.
Right now, as Bollywood actresses are reaching new realms of success, change is being noticed. While it will definitely take more time for the audience to understand this transition but sooner or later, there will be equality. Well, after reading Balan’s thoughts, we can tell how frustrating her journey might have been as an actor in Bollywood. Hopefully there will come a time when women and men will be weighed equally in terms of pay, talent and star power!