HomeBollywoodAnushka Sharma opens up on Bollywood's gender divide: Male actors more valued...

Anushka Sharma opens up on Bollywood’s gender divide: Male actors more valued than us

Anushka Sharma, one of Bollywood’s most successful female actors, is not delusional about the power that she and her colleagues yield in the industry. She admits the scenario is skewed in favour of the boys

Anushka Sharma

Anushka Sharma, one of Bollywood’s most successful female actors, is not delusional about the power that she and her colleagues yield in the industry. She admits the scenario is skewed in favour of the boys. This means that male actors enjoy the privilege of receiving greater accolades and criticism than their female leads, depending on how the film fairs.

Her co-star from last year’s hit, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, and the not-so-lucky Bombay Velvet (2015), Ranbir Kapoor had in a recent interview shared the reactions he received after the latter bombed at the box office. “The hugs were longer than usual. It was as if they were offering condolences,” he said.

Anushka Sharma, who was cast opposite him in the Phantom Films production, didn’t have it as tough. “What happened to him was unfair. He is one of the best actors we have today. But it’s also because Bombay Velvet was Johnny’s film more than Rosie’s,” she says of the characters the lead pair essayed. “I would have been held solely responsible if NH10 [Sharma’s first film as producer and female lead] had flopped, not because I produced it, but because the film was riding on my shoulders. But, he continues to be targeted also because of other films he did [that didn’t fare well]. I was relatively less affected because I had successful films before and after Bombay Velvet.”

Sharma explains that the contribution and involvement of a male star in a film is way more than a female actor’s. And it’s years of social conditioning that’s to blame. “Films led by female actors do not open to remarkable numbers. A lot of us are trying to change that with the kind of work we do,” she adds. “Who said that the industry was fair? Talking of the gender divide won’t make it go away. Male actors are better valued than us in Hindi cinema. As an actor, what I can do is choose roles that send out a message [of empowerment, both as actor and the character]. As producer, I am trying to foster a new value system that makes content king in the long run.”

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