Veteran actress Sharmila Tagore feels that male actors are still dominating the film industry and scripts are especially written for them.
The 68-year-old National-award winner said actors like
Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah are still
ruling Bollywood but their female counterparts are lost
somewhere as there are no films for these ageing actresses.
"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," said Tagore, who was
a part of an event to discuss on 'Representation of Women in
Indian Cinema and beyond' at the 19th Justice Sunanda Bhandare
The Kashmir Ki Kali star feels that in 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
"But the mainstream Hindi cinema, which is the dominant
film industry in the country, changes are merely cosmetic,"
Having started her career as a child actress in Satyajit
Ray's 1959 Bengali film Apur Sansar, Tagore 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 was prepared to work
in such a lowly profession," she said.
But she feels that her marriage to the legendary cricketer
Mansoor Ali Khan changed the perception of media and society
"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," Tagore said.
The actress feels that women are still not on par with
their male counterparts irrespective of the fact that 'women
empowerment' is one of the main slogans of every political
"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...,"