Pay disparity in Bollywood isn’t a secret. But the question that arises is that it’s 2021 and why is this issue still pertaining? Don’t women deserve equal pay for the exact same work they do as compared to their male colleagues? The issue of pay disparity has attained the spotlight once again after Deepika Padukone was dropped out of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming next Baiju Bawra.
As per news sources, Ranveer Singh has been cast in Baiju Bawra, and Deepika Padukone was considered opposite him. But things didn’t go down well when Deepika reportedly asked to be paid the exact same amount that Ranveer was paid – Not a penny more, not a penny less.
What happened next is something that has upset everyone. Deepika was dropped out of the film. If the reports are true, then is it really normal and acceptable for the filmmakers to drop the female actors from their films, just because they demanded what they deserve?
Well, Deepika Padukone is one headstrong star who has always been vocal about pay disparity. She knows what she is capable of and what she deserves. Hence, she never settles for less.
Deepika Padukone is definitely one of the highest-paid actresses in the industry. She created a stir when she charged a whopping 12 crore for Padmavat. But is this really the highest amount? Because male actors such as Shah Rukh Khan who comes under the highest-paid slab get 100 crores for a film. The pay disparity is really disturbing. Its been years since the female actors are trying to bring in change, but unfortunately, the struggle is a bit too hard, and also a long journey.
Not to forget that even we as normal audiences aren’t supporting these women. Recently when it was reported that Kareena Kapoor Khan is charging 12 crores for her role as Sita, people trolled and criticized her. This amount is what she deserves and there was no need to create chaos around it. Is it really that a big deal?
Deepika Padukone in one of her interviews revealed that she had earlier refused to do a movie just because of pay disparity. She said, “ I know my track record and what I’m worth. I know that his films haven’t been doing as well as my films have been doing. It made absolutely no sense. I was okay to say no to that film based on that one thing, as I thought it was unfair, I don’t think I would be able to live with the thought that despite the same kind of creative contribution as my male co-star, and bringing the same kind of value to the film as him, I am being underpaid. I was not okay with it.”
Well not just Deepika Padukone, there are other female actors who spoke up about the issue. So today, let us look at those brave women who dared to speak up against pay disparity.
1. Anushka Sharma
Anushka Sharma never beats around the bush when it comes to addressing important issues. She is one strong actress who always spoke openly about pay disparity and the way women are treated in the industry. She was quoted saying, “If there is an actor of the same stature as me, he would still be paid more than me because he is a guy. Men can work as long as they want to, but women are only okay till they are young and desirable. If you’re on an outdoor shoot, you know that the guy is going to get a better room than you. Why?”
2. Priyanka Chopra Jonas
Desi girl Priyanka Chopra Jonas has made her mark globally, and she has worked really hard to achieve the position she is in right now. But, it wasn’t an easy sail for Priyanka, she had to and she is still fighting issues like pay disparity and she has been brutally honest about the same too. She quotes herself saying, “ I think gender pay gap is a global problem. It exists in every profession, be it Hollywood, Bollywood, or the business sector where males are paid more than females. I feel it’s a big problem and is not just confined to the film industry. I’ve been told straight up if it’s a female role in a movie with big male actors attached, your worth is not really considered as much.”
3. Kangana Ranaut
If there is anyone in the industry who is known to drop uncomfortable and honest truth bombs in the most honest way, then it is Kangana Ranaut. You hate her or you love her, you can’t deny the fact that the things that she addresses are of utmost importance. She is the undisputed queen of Bollywood in terms of acting and in terms of exposing the ugly truth. She has openly spoken about pay disparity and has called out for action immediately. Kangana was quoted saying, “Personally, my logic for remuneration has always been that I have 365 days to work, as much as any male star. An actor’s pay must be determined by the amount of work s/he does. Your gender is no yardstick for it. My male counterparts are paid thrice the amount. No one can guarantee the success of a film so why such discrimination?”
4. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Considered as one of the most beautiful women on the planet, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has always stayed away from commenting on controversial topics. But here, even she didn’t mince her words and called out the people who are just talking about bringing a change in terms of pay disparity, but in reality, no action is being taken. She said, “ All I hear is talk but no action and that’s an accumulative effort by everyone involved including those talking. These discussions can go on and on and they are important. I am not disrespecting all the talk that goes around these subjects but at the end of the day, have the guts to make those choices. Many talk about it but then when the time comes, they take a safe, comfortable route and then make the choice that’s a paradox and one defeats the other so let’s put words to action.”
5. Sonam Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor, a star who pulled out a film like Neerja on her shoulders and won praises face the same pay disparity in the industry. She feels this is disrespectful. She has even said no to a lot of projects because of the same issue. She even said that this is a very tough climb and that it will be achieved only if all the stars stand together. She said, “ If I am saying ‘I am not going to do this and take a stand, there’ll be another woman who will say ‘it’s okay I’ll do it for this much.’ The point is, we need to stick together, be together. That is not going to happen if you’re constantly trying to pull each other down. It’s a very difficult upward climb.”
6. Swara Bhaskar
Swara Bhaskar is known to speak her heart out. She doesn’t fear the consequences and is brave enough to put the truth out. A feminist through and through, she has addressed pay inequality by talking about the ground reality. She said, “ This new trend of female lead films doing well at the box office is picking up, but we’re still very far from pay and budget parity.”
7. Aditi Rao Hydari
While talking to PTI, the gorgeous and supremely talented actress Aditi opened up about pay disparity and said, “I don’t really understand why we are paid less than male actors because we put equal effort. We deserve better pay, equal to what (male)actors get
Well, we salute these brave women. We really wish that the definition of a hero changes soon! And these women get what they deserve!