Bhumi Pednekar Wants Gender Pay Gap In Pay Scales To Reduce. We Think It’s About Time Bollywood Listens
Currently, social media is rife over criticism of Vogue’s cover of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, where she appears awkward, whitewashed, in the most atrocious of lighting and with zero efforts put in to present her, the most powerful WOC right now, like she deserves to be. It has raised the debate on how representation matters, but it matters only when it is done right, with all heart. So while we harp on about women in cinema finally getting their time in the spotlight, or women centric content winning acclaim, can we please make sure we’re paying these women what they deserve? Bollywood’s very own Bhumi Pednekar echoes that very sentiment about the gender pay gap in the film industry.
Bhumi is one of those actresses in Bollywood who has played many author-backed roles. Whether she has led those films solo, like Durgamati, or with a costar, like Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Sonchiriya and Saand Ki Aankh, she has always made her mark with her laudable performance. So asking for gender parity in her payscale, when compared to her male costars, should be a given, right?
Turns out Bollywood doesn’t practice the empowerment it preaches, probably because it doesn’t preach it whole-heartedly and not that often. And changing that, reducing that gender wage gap, is on Bhumi Pednekar’s 2021 wishlist.
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In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, the Durgamati actor talked about her upcoming film, Badhaai Do, in which she stars opposite Rajkummar Rao. And as she talks about how, the changes in the film industry have let her to choose films with unconventional subjects, she hopes the changes aren’t just limited to film subjects but also the remuneration that is offered to female actors.
“I want to see change not just in the kind of films being made but everywhere. Like the gender gap that exists, you know be it our pay scales, be it opportunities. I really hope that kind of reduces and diminishes. We have enough people who are working very hard from both the sexes. So that is definitely going to be my number one thing on my list of wants.”
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I second what Bhumi Pednekar says. It is high time that the Indian film industry, which is brimming with female talent, acknowledge that it is doing wrong by them. The A-list actors, whether it is the Khans or Kapoors or Kumar, are all talk when it comes to women empowerment. But when it comes to seeking equal pay for their female costars, I don’t see much talk generated about that. None of them have really come up on any open forum and discussed this. Event the younger generation of actors don’t seem to want to talk about gender pay gap. And that’s a shame.
When I recently read that Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins had to actually fight for her salary for the sequel with Warner Bros., I found my own struggles of salary very laughable. She gave them the biggest hit their studio had seen in a while, and they still could’ve thought the woman was asking for too much? I read these reports on how a male Hollywood A-lister slashed his salary, or put his foot down until his female costar was paid the same. And I don’t feel gratitude, I feel rage. Rage that it takes another man to show the world that this woman is worth it. Give her what she deserves or I won’t take what I deserve?