NEW DELHI: Bollywood’s evergreen ‘Dream Girl’ Hema Malini has claimed that she got “more respect” as a Member of the Indian Parliament (MP) than for her work as an actor. “You get more respect as a MP,” explained Malini, who became a BJP MP in 2004. “As an artiste, I had my own dignity but as a politician, it increases,” she added.
In the past, Malini has delivered many strong performances in films like Mulzim, Satte Pe Satta and Sholay. She has essayed glamorous, as well as non-glam roles, proving her mettle as a versatile talent. The 67-year-old is also proficient in Bharatnatyam and always had the aura of a star actor.
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But as a politician, she has worked hard to implement the changes she wishes to see in the Mathura constituency, Lok Sabha, which she represents. Bollywood celebrities often deliberate upon gender bias within the film industry but according to Malini, things are different in the political world. “I don’t feel any inequality in my political work. To me, I am different. I don’t indulge in small things and cannot compare myself to others,” Malini said.
Nonetheless, the 67-year-old did admit that inequality in Bollywood is nothing new. Claiming it has always been a male, hero-dominated industry, she explained, “These points about inequality are coming up suddenly when Bollywood was always been as a male-dominated industry. For a heroine to get the same kind of acknowledgment, it has to be a heroine-oriented film and for men, a hero-dominated film. There is no comparison,” added Malini.
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Dwelling upon the gap in pay for men and women in Bollywood, Malini stated, “Money-wise, in those days, the heroes had so much of shooting and so much of work. I don’t think heroines had much but a few songs to sing, some nice, interesting scenes and that’s it.” Nevertheless, the former chairperson of the National Film Development Corporation said there were some exceptions.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2016.
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