Actor Taapsee Pannu is one of those strong voices in the industry who never shy away from calling a spade, a spade. Taapsee has been speaking her mind on various industry-related issues such as nepotism, sexism, the south vs north industry divide, the importance of Box Office collection and female-led films. Now, during her latest appearance in a chat show, Taapsee talked about pay disparity in the film industry taking out an example of her own film Badla that also featured Amitabh Bachchan.
Taapsee was present on Neha Dhupia‘s podcast No Filter Neha when she talked about the visible level of difference between the money a female actor is offered as compared to her male counterpart in a film. The actor said the rules of equality are being made in the industry but the growth is so slow it’s almost invisible. Taapsee revealed she gets furious when she realises she is paid only 5 to 10 per cent of what a male actor gets paid in her films. The actor went on to talk about one of the main reasons behind such grave pay inequality.
How more female-led projects can lead to equality
The actor said it’s important for female actors to pitch for more and more female-oriented subjects so that they have an equal opportunity to prove their talent to the audience without the presence of any male actor. This will increase the audience’s faith in female-led films and more and more screens will be given to such films. Taapsee added that she never understood why all big festival dates were always reserved for films featuring big heroes and not big heroines. The actor said once we are able to destroy that norm at the Box Office, things will be easier.
Why no big festival dates are allotted to female-led films?
The actor took the example of her own film Saand Ki Aankh which had a Diwali release. Taapsee said stories like these are equally entertaining, beautiful and capable of drawing the audience to the theatres and yet such stories don’t get a big date to hit the Box Office only because there’s no hero in the film. The actor called this unfair adding, “We also put an equal amount of effort if not more and our stories are also beautiful so why not get an equal chance? Just because it’s a female-led film? Is that reason enough for you to not come on a big date? On Diwali, we celebrate goddess Laxmi and you know all the goddesses that we pray to, it’s high time someone takes the step. Maybe I win, maybe I lose, but at least I will take one step to see if I can make the difference.”
How Badla was conveniently called an Amitabh Bachchan film
Stressing that she’s asking for equality and not for an edge over the struggle male actors do, Taapsee revealed how Badla was deemed as an Amitabh Bachchan film despite the fact that she had more screen presence in the film. The actor said she had to raise her voice to ask for her equal credit and then only she was given fair treatment by getting appreciated for her performance in the film. With this example, Taapsee tried to prove how even the credit of a female-led film will be given to the male actor and that’s the gravity of this male-dominated film industry.
“It was called Sir’s film, it won’t be called a female film regardless of the fact that I have more scenes, it will be called an Amitabh Bachchan film and the credit will go there,” said Taapsee.
The actor, who gave a stellar performance in Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan alongside Vicky Kaushal and Abhishek Bachchan, also revealed that the pay of a female actor will not increase by working in a film with male actor as much as it will increase after she does a film like Saand Ki Aankh which is totally dominated by her. Taapsee concluded by saying she’s not demanding anything extraordinary and not shouting on anyone’s head to pay her more money but slowly carving her way towards equality by doing more Box Office oriented female-led films.
Your thoughts on Taapsee’s statements?