If we look at women in Bollywood over the past few decades, it’s been more as a supporting role for the male lead rather than being the lead herself. From Kajol’s role in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to the more recent Kiara Advani’s portrayal of Preeti in Kabir Singh, things haven’t changed much, whether it is on-screen or off-screen.
In recent times, actresses have opened up about the blatant sexism that they faced in the Industry. Whether it was in the roles they were offered or in real-life situations. Some of the sexist stories they share will make you cringe!
Actresses share their sexism experiences
Vidya Balan has made her name in Bollywood with her varied choice in movies. Whether it was the sweet and timid Lalita in Parineeta or her role as a spy in Bobby Jasoos, she did justice to every character she played. In an interview with ANI, Vidya opened up about the sexism that she had to endure.
“I was told he has been given dates, so you have to work around them, but I was never asked like that. The male actor would always get a bigger van, a bigger hotel.” Opening up further, Vidya said that she had faced a fair amount of sexism and that it used to make her very angry.
Kangna Ranaut is a phenomenal actress. She is also a person who does not mince her words regardless of who she is talking to. While it has landed her in some controversies, she has also received praise for not being fake. On the famous talk show, Koffee with Karan, she openly called out Karan Johar for being a nepotist.
Kriti Sanon, the leading lady from the hit movie Lukka Chuppi opened up about the heroes getting all the credit for the movie. Talking about how Kartik Aaryan got all the praise for the movie, Kriti said, “I am glad this conversation is finally happening. It’s logical to talk about only the male protagonist when the leading lady doesn’t have a lot to do, but when they are both carrying a film on their shoulders, the credit should be equally shared.”
One might have hoped that sexism was limited to the tall and dark walls of Bollywood, but, that hope is quashed when you check the comment section or replies to any Indian actress’s social media. Whether it is Deepika Padukone, who is seldom active on social media or Swara Bhaskar, who does not step back from voicing her opinion, there is always someone passing derogatory comments in the reply section.
On the launch of her book Mrs. Funnybones, Twinkle Khanna had a fitting analogy for twitter trolls; she called them “cockroaches.” She went on to explain, “You spray Hit (an insect killer), they come squirming out, and then you kind of stamp on them happily,”
While male actors also face harassment by trolls, women face a more vicious backlash on anything from their attire to their personal life choices. For example, trolls still poke fun of Sonakshi Sinha for being ‘fat’ when she is anything but that.
The topic of sexism in Bollywood has barely been scratched as of now. Many actresses still hesitate to take names or come out with their stories because they feel that their careers may be affected. If we talk about cyberbullying, although it is a crime, the procedure to complain is so long and tedious that most trolls get away with it.
The only way that sexism can be eradicated, whether from Bollywood or real life, is by changing people’s mindset. Some women have taken the bold step of starting the conversation, it is our responsibility now to carry it forward.