Gender Pay Gap in Bollywood & Why Deepika Padukone Called It Out

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Aren’t Priyanka Chopra & Deepika Padukone as bankable as Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, if not more?

The world has been talking about women empowerment for the last few years and trying to evolve itself into a better place for women. The same can be true for Bollywood and that’s at least what we’d like to believe, considering how the majority reacted to the recent #MeToo movement. But how do we feel about the same industry when they go about with the age-old and unfair practice of the gender pay gap!

We’re not even talking about megastars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan, they’re clearly seniors and they deserve to be paid more based on their experience. But the disparity between actors of the same generation is where the problem lies. We’re sure actors like Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta were paid way less than the Khans, but who would call it out in their times?

Well, times have changed and the Bollywood woman of today like to speak their heart out. In a recent book launch, Deepika Padukone - actor, fashionista, philanthropist and one of the best in the business - spoke out about her experience with the pay disparity in Bollywood. She concludes saying, “I don’t think I’d be able to live with the thought of knowing that I’ve been a part of a film, had the same creative contribution or bringing(brought) the same sort of value to the film and being(got) underpaid.”

Let’s just say, this has happened several times over and apparently, Kareena Kapoor Khan has dealt with it too. According to KJo’s bio-book, Kareena asked to get paid the same amount that Shahrukh Khan was getting for Kal Ho Na Ho, which led to her getting replaced by Preity Zinta in the movie. We’re unsure how we feel about this, knowing our straightforward queen Bebo and her friendship with KJo, how could KJo replace his bestie over a money matter? At the same time, if Shahrukh was a senior and had a bigger role, Kareena could be paid as much as her other costar Said Ali Khan at least? Guess we’ll never know what exactly went down, but KJo admits to Kareena not talking to him for a year after.

When it’s about calling out foul, Kangana Ranaut is our unafraid diva who won’t ever take a backseat. After starring in brilliant movies like Queen and Tanu Weds Manu, she once asked, “My male counterparts are paid thrice the amount. No one can guarantee the success of a film so why such discrimination?” True that.

Priyanka Chopra has also been an active voice in this conversation, she once said in the interview, “I was told that female actors are replaceable in films because they just stand behind a guy anyway. I’m still used to being paid – like most actresses around the world – a lot less than the boys.” Actors like Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari and Swara Bhaskar have raised their voices too. They’re all in agreement and like Sonam Kapoor once said, “..it is about time, as women, as actors, as artists, that we get our due.”

To sum it up, we think the problem here isn’t the industry, it’s the audience too. We have always believed that the term “hero” can stand only for a man, just like the term “actor”. Because a so-called Khan film will cross the 100 crore mark even if the movie is everyone’s worst nightmare, while a female-centric movie will face remarks like “(the film has) package(d) feminism in a seductive manner causing more harm to the movement than good.” Well, we sure need to learn a lesson or two about feminism first, then we can talk.