In the year of Nirbhaya and many more like her... the Indian woman stands at a very critical juncture... on one hand, she's led the country with an iron hand like the late Mrs Indira Gandhi and on the other, she has been humiliated repeatedly. Cinema today is a very powerful social medium. I believe there is a passionate relationship between celluloid, artists, technicians and the audience. And where there is passion, there must be a woman involved. As we celebrate the centenary of Indian cinema, it's the perfect time to understand the role that women have played and continue to play in our cinema. I feel very privileged to be part of this industry during this milestone moment.
In this year that will be etched in cinema history, will women write a new chapter? From Mother India to Rosie, Raat aur Din to Fashionand The Dirty Picture—from Marathi, Bengali, Malayali and every other cinema, we have women essay characters penned by the stalwarts in the business (Yes, credit here to the men writers too)
Honestly, I can talk best on Hindi cinema and the part it has played and when I take a moment to reflect—women have always been pivotal to cinema. For example... what good would Dilip Kumar's love be, if he wasn't pining for the hauntingly beautiful Madhubala? You would have never understood Amitabh Bachchan's angst if he weren't separated from his beloved Ma! There are plenty of examples but always linked to the man and his relationships - the wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, the evil mother-in-law and so on.
My generation has been fortunate in reflecting the change that we see in society today on screen. Though we continue to live in a male-dominated society, we now have women-centric films like Fashion and the more recent Kahaani that have done well both critically and commercially. I have been part of a 'hero' based film like Barfi and yet, both the characters of Jhilmil and Shruti were an integral part of the script. I have played characters that have challenged me to explore and push the boundaries of my creativity and talent. What more can I ask for? To be paid on par maybe... but let's reserve that for another day.
Today, women are also making their presence felt across editing, script writing and direction, and even helming production in the industry. For example, Ekta Kapoor, who repeated her success on the small screen with an equally successful foray into films, Zoya Akhtar, who has not only created new stories and films but also ensured they are commercially viable, Saundarya Rajnikant, Farah Khan, Zarina Mehta, Reshma Shetty, Ashni Parekh, Krishika Lulla, Shristi Behl and Vinita Bagard to name a few.
It's now commonplace to see many of these names and several others on the list of the country's most powerful people every year. But while we're pushing the boundaries of the stereotypes we've been subjected to, the question is have we achieved the ultimate goal of equality, both in reel and real life? Well, we haven't and we have a long way to go. We are still grappling with basic gender issues. However, as this is a moment of celebration, we need to concentrate on the positives and to learn from our successes, celebrate our victories and support our torch bearers. When you read this in 2023, women would have rewritten the script of this business!
Sourse : Times of India