Films continue to brand women as merely decorative: Sharmila Tagore

Actor says unlike male counterparts, special scripts are not written for ageing female actors.

News Desk November 28, 2013
Sharmila Tagore feels that gender disparity is still rampant in Bollywood. PHOTO: FILE

Although women-centric films like Arth and Kahaani highlight that Bollywood has begun to move away from gender bias, veteran actor Sharmila Tagore feels that male actors still continue to dominate the industry.

According to the Times of India, Tagore said that while films are still tailor-made for actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Anupam Kher, there are hardly any scripts that cater to ageing female actors. “It is not uncommon to see heroes in their late forties romancing women just out of their teens, but the opposite is rarely the case. Scripts are specially written for an Amitabh Bachchan or even Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah but the same is not true for an ageing actress,” she said, while attending a discussion titled the ‘Representation of Women in Indian Cinema and Beyond.’

The actor, who was last seen playing a mother to actor Deepika Padukone in Break Ke Baad, also highlighted that Indian movies tend to superficially sell a woman’s image as rather cosmetic. “Films continue to brandish an image of women which is largely decorative and secondary. Of course, there are expectations as parallel cinema and some regional cinema present women in an entirely different, more equal and realistic light,” she said. “But in the mainstream Hindi cinema, which is the dominant film industry in the country, changes are merely cosmetic.”

Tagore also stressed on the fact that though most political parties advocate female empowerment, Indian women still fall way behind men. “Today, women’s empowerment is a government slogan; it is a feature of every party manifesto. Yet in the second decade of 21st century, Indian women aren’t seemingly protected by law,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2013.

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Ariba | 7 years ago | Reply

@Nobody: I am sorry women in the east are not treated like trash. Women in the west are only seens as sex objects unlike in the east where they have a duty to raise kids which I am sorry western women can't handle that. If freedom means getting naked then bravo western women are on the the top, in rest all issues eastern women are way ahead. plz watch the previous link & read this article. Hope you ll understand.

Women in Pakistan 90% of the time are not treated because how they look but who they are in compared to women in the west nothing but sex objects.

Nobody | 7 years ago | Reply

@Ariba: Women and men who lack confidence have low esteem the world over. More so in the East since women are treated like trash there and not enough effort to build confidence. Geography or more freedom to choose is not the culprit. As far as depression in the west, that's a common problem among many adults, not a women only problem. And I can guarantee it isnt caused by having the freedom to choose their own path in life. Depression is a problem in the states because people are overworked and often chasing after the now uber-materialistic American dream. Often self inflicted.

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