The veteran Bollywood actress, Sharmila Tagore feels that male actors are still dominating the industry and scripts are especially written for them. She feels that there are no films for ageing actresses.
She said actors like Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah and Amitabh Bachchan are still ruling the film industry but their female counterparts are lost as there are no films for these ageing stars.
“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 an Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah but the same is not true for an ageing actress,” she said.
The National Award winner Sharmila feels that today’s time portrayal of women in mainstream films is merely 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. But the mainstream Hindi cinema, which is the dominant film industry in the country, changes are merely cosmetic,” said Sharmila.
Sharmila, who started her acting career as a child in 1959 Bengali film Apur Sansar. The 68-year-old recalled that she was asked by her principal to leave the school as it would be a bad influence to other girls.
“No women from any strata of society were prepared to work in such a lowly profession,” she added.
The veteran actress married to the legendary cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan. She feels that this marriage changed the perception of media and society towards her.
“My marriage exercised the imagination of the media and the public to a great extent. They had obviously brought into the arguments our films prescribed, namely that marriage and career were not compatible. Yet, in my case, the combination of marriage, motherhood and film career did not cause any friction,” she said.
“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 seemingly protected by law…,” said the mother of Saif Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan.