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The Dark Side Of Bollywood: Study Reveals Shocking Facts About Women In The Indian Film Industry

By Priyambada Bhagawati:

I had come out of the movie theatre completely frustrated and angry, just the opposite of what I had imagined to feel. Dhoom 3 was a movie that I hoped to see for a very long time but contrary to my expectations, the movie disappointed me. The one thing that really hit me point blank was the role of Katrina Kaif in the movie; which was to be invisible. There is a scene wherein she auditions for a circus show by dancing seductively and peeling off one clothe at a time! It was pathetic and humiliating for me to watch an actress being given a role in a movie, just so that the raging male hormones could be satisfied.

women in bollywood

This is the reality of every other movie in India today. India tops the chart in showing attractive women in its movies and as much as 35% of these female characters are shown with some nudity, finds a first-ever UN sponsored global study of female characters in popular films across the world. The study, commissioned by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, reveals deep-seated discrimination, pervasive stereotyping, sexualisation of women and their under-representation in powerful roles by the international film industry. While women represent nearly half of the world’s population, less than one third of all speaking characters in films are female, and Indian films are at the bottom of the pack.

Sexualisation of female characters in movies is a standard practice across the global film industry, and women are twice as likely as men to be shown in sexually revealing clothing, partially or fully naked, thin, and five times as likely to be referenced as attractive. Indian films are third, behind German and Australian movies, in showing females in “sexy attire”, and at 25.2%, India tops the chart in showing attractive females in its movies.

Another trend that has been on the rise is the prevalence of item-numbers in movies. Today, item-numbers have become a must, with offensive or provocative lyrics and a whole lot of skin show. It’s very disturbing that words such as ‘item-girl’ or ‘item-numbers’ have become acceptable and the female-leads are themselves performing and encouraging these so called ‘item-numbers’. What these celebrities do not realize is that people look up to them and when they themselves perform such items, it unconsciously reinforces the already prevalent stereotypes and prejudices about women.

However, the story also has a very different, dark side. Bollywood is a completely male dominated industry. Women are not only given trivial or insignificant roles in the movies, but are also underpaid. In most of the cases, the actors are approached for the movie and then they are asked to choose the actress they want to work with. The female-leads today perform item-numbers because they fear losing grounds to the ever increasing starlets. The journey is a tough one where, for every missed opportunity, there is an ever-present eager replacement. Another discrimination that the women in Bollywood have to face is the fact that it is ageist in nature. After an actress hits the 30 year mark, the number of movies coming her way dwindles. In an interview with Anupama Chopra, when asked about acting in movies like Rascals or Double Dhamaal, Kangana Ranaut said, “We have to earn our bread and butter out of this business, sometimes you just have those limited options and as somebody who’s self-dependent, I don’t have any other job, so you have to keep working.” These are just some of the very deep-seated prejudices that force the actresses to succumb to the discriminatory treatment of Bollywood.

The prevalence of female directors, writers and producers in Indian films was also not very high. India had 9.1% female directors, slightly above the global average of 7%, while its percentage of female writers was 12.1%, significantly lower than the 19.7% global average. Female producers in India were only 15.2%, way below the 22.7% global average. This data of gender prevalence behind the camera translated into a gender ratio of 6.2 males to every one female in the film industry in India.

The above fact again highlights one of the many factors of what is wrong with the Indian film industry. Women writers and directors are such a minority that most of their work goes unnoticed. The few successful ones again pitch in to make the same old male-dominated movies because let’s face it, “who watches a movie with a strong, real and relatable female character?” Commercialization has killed the very essence of movies and today, a movie is measured not by its content but by the fact that if it is in the “respectable” 100- crore club!

Things will surely change, but the process needs to speed-up. This very year has seen some remarkable movies like Queen, highway, Finding Fanny, Mary Kom, Mardaani etc. Again, this is just a beginning, for these movies still needs the acceptance of the audience and a place in those 100-crore clubs to be taken seriously. As a minority, women are undervalued and understated. This whole perspective of a “women being a commodity which sells” needs to be changed. The change will start from us and we need to make sure that the trends such as item-numbers, derogatory lyrics against women, voyeuristic nudity etc. is put to an end. Bollywood needs to start viewing women as humans and not just some humanoid robot with boobs and asses. It needs to portray women as who they really are. It needs to respect women. It needs to change.

You must be to comment.
  1. Babar

    This article is blatant propaganda, reeking of sexism against men, trying to cover up actresses faults by laying the blame on male hormones. An actress can choose to cover her body in Bollywood if she wants to – Zeba Bakhtiar did. However, actresses lacking talent choose to reveal their bodies to climb the ladder to success. By the way, I thought women were free to dress as they pleased, so why the hype about skin show in Bollywood. Hypocrisy to say the least. Women should be free to wear miniskirts and skimpy tops in public, but if the same thing is shown in Bollywood, the feminist logic of freedom to dress is twisted to suit their agenda of male bashing.

    1. Faniana

      “sexism against men” hahahahaha

    2. Babar

      Faniana reiterating the feminist rhetoric that only women are human beings.

      Sexism Against Men

      Domestic Violence Against Men

      Misandry In The Media

      Reaction To Women Abusing Men

    3. Mitali

      Dude, whats your problem… this is the second time i am noticing your over-the-top anti-feminism comment. The point of the whole article (both this and the previous article about Emma watson’s speech at the UN) is ‘equality’. Various factors and reasons are responsible for the disturbing “FACTS” (Yes, they are disturbing for any reasonable person, man or woman. And yes they are FACTS, you know it.)

      So, addressing your argument – “actresses lacking talent choose to reveal their bodies to climb the ladder to success. “.. the sad part here, my friend is, that ‘this’ works. If people were looking for ‘ACTING’, they would have found people with relevant talent. Apparently, that’s not what people are looking for, on either sides of the screen.

      And yes, in a highly male dominated society (population included), the reason for unnecessary ‘item numbers’ is male hormones, undeniably, to sell the movie, to which i dont think many have a problem as long as you respect them for their work.

      Now, coming to the one particular thing that made me want to write this whole thing, in the middle of the night when i had better things to do than argue with a narrow minded, probably in late 40s, man with a i-am-right syndrome and the urge to prove he is right because he thinks everyone is wrong, and doubts himself, but won’t admit or let it show. Actresses’ FAULTS.

      You are typically the kind of guy who’d say this regarding rape (of women, just so we’re clear) that women should wear decent clothes because even though no one has the right to be stealing from your house, its better to lock the doors.

      Yes sir, its the actresses fault for being born with a different set of organ. I am sure that everything that an actress has to do, in order to remain in shape and work on acting, while getting paid less, and not getting roles as prominent and challenging, its her fault for being born THAT way. If only ONE ‘thing’ was different, things would be so different (i feel that way all the time, and yes i probably would have preferred being born a man, given a choice and a memory of my experience as a girl, or a women)

      Feminism, my dearest friend, is not about male bashing. Male domination and gender inequality has been a norm till until recently and women these days, are not okay with it (may be they were in the past). So the social model is going about a change. This change is about the society which was designed for a man, but is being turned into the one where all can work (including women, like thats a different species for you perhaps). And i quote it again ‘ALL’ can work, together. And i did not say ‘WOMEN’.

      The need of the era is for the gutsy men, to recognize it, take a step forward, encourage the equality, and help shape the beginning of a new social model, which will probably work till some gender dominates other (hence the saturation point) and then again the ‘equality’ rebellion, and life goes on. Well thats as Barney Stinson’s’ ONLY rule suggests ‘New is better, always’. (If you dont know, Google it, that guy is awesome)

    4. jango

      mitali, pretty sad how you expect gutsy men to standup for gender equality,, why cant women standup?, as long as women keep playing the girl card it is not going to change much, and by women I mean the strong independent ones who can get the job done but rather go ask a guy for help because she knows the nympho would help her out.
      anyway this article was about how Bollywood portrays women, first of all please don’t compare a rape victim to an actress,, secondly no one forced Katrina to do chikni chameli or dhoom, nor was she so poor and starving that she needed the money, she just had to say no she wont do a 5 min sleaze sequence, instead she chose the money and stripped to an item numbers choreographed by other women,,,, likewise with every other actresses they all have the option to say no they wont dress skimpy but you know they all will do it for money.
      look at kangna ranaut she said no to a 2 cr deal because it didn’t go with her principles (fairness cream),,, you think kareena or Katrina could act for the first five years of theirs in Bollywood, ? yet they were in every movie though most of them flopped, mallika sherawat was the one who started on screen lust in indian cinema, as long as women keep selling their sexiness and bodies on screen, men are going to want more; more sleazy producers going to go to them and keep asking them to go skimpier, and most of them will happily agree as long as it is “aesthetically” shot and are paid well,,, mostly paid well.

    5. Avinesh Saini

      After reading the article, I wished every actress looked like Kathy Bates or Thelma Ritter.

    6. QNgm305

      What about female-dominated fields throughout history? Those need to be equalized too, don't they?

      What about areas where men & boys are drastically underrepresented and underpaid? They also need to earn the same amount of money as women, don't they?

      Say 'Yes' to both these answers, without any 'buts', and I'll be convinced that feminism is about equality. Oh wait, there will be 'buts'!

    7. Dhanda

      When it goes for all money, in women, she has to barter her commodity, aren’t you lucky ladies? Yes, a woman can keep her shop open, a choice, blessed by nature

    8. Priyambada Bhagawati

      You, Mr….are obviously one of the reasons why people like me need to write.

  2. The Joker

    The writer is a complete twit who has a problem with women being called attractive….you want to spray your tits and ass everywhere…fine…but don’t go bawling when you see it in cinema… can’t have it both ways baby.

    You want to know how I got these scars?

    1. Dhanda

      When it goes for all money, in women, she has to barter her commodity, aren’t you lucky ladies? Yes, a woman can keep her shop open, a choice, blessed by nature.

  3. Nitin

    Hey but there has been such a turn around lately, you remember queen? Mary Kom? Gulaab Gang?

    1. Ratnadeep

      But the question is much money Queen, Mary Kom etc made? They were nowhere in the league of PK, Dhoom3, Bajrangi Bhaijan. So unless movies like Queen etc manage to compete with the likes of PK, Bajrangi Bhaijan, actresses/heroines can’t stand against the male counterparts.

  4. Prashant Kaushik

    Thank God somebody wrote an article on this. Nice take.

    1. sonu

      yeah thats my bet too. but atleast the paki youth is concerned about the nation and its economy. i am forecasting a peace with india.

  5. Gaurav

    In any job the employee has to decide what the job requires and what the employee has to offer. bollywood is no different. if you do not like the terms and conditions you should not do that job. it is that simple.

    women are having problem deciding what is ok and what is not ok, women need to make up their mind about sex, clothes, relationships, and all other topics

    1. Aryan

      Gaurav, look at the bigger picture, its more than just “this is a job, if you don’t like it leave”. In the industry look at the options males vs. females. 50 year old Shahrukh Khan still tops the industry, but now with late 20s Deepika…in a few years she will disappear. The industry makes it unequal – they are to blame. Just because they are giving in to what people want doesn’t make it right.

    2. Avinesh Saini

      As a leading lady, she might have to disappear. But as an actress, she can very well continue.

    3. Ratnadeep

      See for this the industry cannot be blamed. The cause of this is the audience. As audience is liking SRK at 50, he is still there. As the audience is not liking the heroines at 50, they are not there.

      BTW look at some of the heroes at 40+. Aamir Khan perfectly played the role of a college student even though he was in his mid 40’s. How many 40+ heroine have you seen to be as fresh as 20+?

  6. Geetha b u

    This is the 100th article on this subject….women can refuse to wear revealing clothes..refuse to dance to item numbers…almost all actresses are ready to reveal for their own success.( not because just men want) ..even women talk about the figure…expressions , body language of actresses as attractive… We see mothers pushing their young daughters to reveal and get ahead in the industry…who are you grumbling against…?? Why find fault with men always?? These actresses reveal and behave sickly…it is the men and women on the street who have bear the brunt…

  7. ADM

    Good article.

    Please use paragraph headings when writing big paragraphs. It helps to ease the boredom of seeing such big articles.

  8. Elizabeth

    With the partial exception of Gaurav and full exception of Pravash, the previous commenters have somehow managed to overlook the entire issue the article addressed, and instead got caught up in their ignorance.

    BABAR: what is your point exactly, if you have one at all? I see no blatant propaganda, or explicit sexism against men. There is a good and statistical acknowledgement of the current trends of nudity and the portrayal of women as solely sexual creatures, or ‘items’. However, I think the author should have used a term other than ‘male raging hormones’ to illustrate her or his point, because it is not precise enough and also leads it open to ‘criticism’ like yours.

    I do not think the majority of women actors in Bollywood lack talent, or that all of them ‘ choose to reveal their bodies to climb the ladder to success’. How do you have industry knowledge on that? Are you part of the industry? I believe, as an actor, that we must be open to trends when we perform. I am aware that there is a difference in how I am perceived, based on how I costume myself. This is common knowledge for actors. They do not lack talent, they are aware that professionally they are subject to cultural trends. The author acknowledges this clearly that there is a cultural trend in mainstream India (represented by Bollywood) that encourages sexual shaming, and the reduction and objectification of women.

    Babar, let me ask you, when you see a woman in a miniskirt, what kind of thoughts run through your mind? How are women in India perceived when they show more skin then usual? From what I know, and from what I hear the sexual harassment I know many female friends have experienced, many people look at them leeringly or even touch them inappropriately. I don’t think you have ever been leered at like you were only a body to be sexually admired, but if you had, you would know not to say what you said.

    The Joker?

    Really?

    You insult the character with your bad impersonation. You hide behind a persona, not even daring to use your name, to belittle and mock the author with your frankly disgusting comment. ‘tits and ass spraying everywhere’ ? ‘cant have it both ways baby’? You shouldn’t call anyone baby until you finish growing up.

    Gaurav, the industry is made of both artistic input and production values. The terms of employment thus have to acknowledge the actor’s input in how they should do their job, because of the nature of their work. Actors use their own faces and bodies to act, and they are certainly capable of acting beyond stripping in a scene while surrounded by men. They are also associated with the roles they play, and so their careers depend on how they portrayed a character. I’m not familiar with the work of Katrina Kaif, so I do not know if she can be considered a good actor, but she will be associated with taking her clothes off on screen. Yes, there are people who enjoy and are good at that, but you can’t call them all actors.

    For an example, most pornography has bad ‘acting’. Pornography and the scene described in the article’s first paragraph seem to have many similarities, sexual gratification and female nudity being foremost.

    The terms and conditions are not so rigid that they cannot be changed. Movies represent our culture, and if we change our culture then the employer’s conditions also change. I hope that they do.

    1. ItsJustMe

      Elizabeth – Bollywood actresses who lack talent are the ones who choose to show more skin. It is a logical conclusion. Just look at the leading ladies doing these item numbers and try telling yourself this phrase with a straight face “[insert actress’s name] is a very talented actress, the way she portrays emotions is truly natural and I am a huge fan of hers”
      Here is an example “Katrina Kaif is a very talented actress, the way she portrays emotions is truly natural and I am a huge fan of hers”
      I do agree with your point because of the fact that male actors who are not talented need not do this degrading act. But wait, didn’t six pack wave hit bollywood about a decade back and male actors have been competing for skin show for the last decade. I did not see anyone even complaining about over sexualization of men, let alone write an article about it. Excuse me for thinking that this feminism crap is all about equality. You see the world through filters set by feminism (Which is a man hate movement before it is even a movement for women these days, there are clear anti male propaganda in all of the feminist literature of the last decade). So you fail to see that its not Bollywood sexualizing women alone. They sexualize everyone, thats what happens when people play dynasty politics in an industry which is supposed to give chance to talented people. Women are more likely to have some kind of nudity in every scene they are part of as per the author. Just go to the streets and see how many men are around showing their chest hair and thigh muscles. Now see how many women are showing their cleavage and wearing micro minis. That is the reality my friend, women like to dress up like that, and I have nothing against it. Its their wish how they dress, so it must be the actress’s wish what kind of scene she wishes to do and what kind of dress she is going to wear. Some self proclaimed feminist have zero right to be butthurt by the way someoher female dresses. If you feel Bollywood is portraying women as sexual objects, when you are offered a role, dont degrade yourself to that level. You know there is another movement which really should be promoted more in feminist circles. Its called “Mind your own Business” (MYOB)

  9. Samar Tyagi

    The growing nudity of women being shown in movie may be explained by simple economics. Most of the revenue that these movies generates comes from males. I don’t have data to support this argument but majority of audience in cinema halls, that i generally observe is male dominated.
    May be in order to please males in our society, films have been evolving in a way that portrays women as a commodity. As the author has mentioned about the under representation of women in decision making, while making movie also affects the content of movie. Once they have equal say in preparing movie, we may expect some good change.

  10. ChivalryLives

    I think more than half the people who have made up their mind to disagree with this article do not realise that this is not merely another post on sexism.It raises a very pertinent issue of today’s times, a reality that obviously none of you are able to come to terms with.You think it is easy to choose what to do and what not to in a field as Horribly competetive as theirs?The film industry won’t wait for you to sort out your ethical dilemnas, there are hundreds of faces who are willing to do anything for the limelight and their 5 minutes of fame.They’ll simply ask you to move over.How can you even argue the fact that it really is more difficult for women in the industry when you see that people like shah rukh khan, in their 40’s and 50’s , get movies but their female counterparts don’t?
    Oh and someone called the writer a complete twit….i’m not even gonna mention the remainder of that comment, it is too disrespectful to even be brought into mention again.Seriously dude, stop bashing others’ work so blatantly on public platforms , it just shows how ethically challenged you are.Anyway, in reference to that comment i’ll just say that there is a difference between doing what you are comfortable doing,and what u don’t want to do.and our reel life divas do both.So show a little respect, people.

    1. Jasmine

      Thank you. At least, someone has morals around here.

  11. sonu

    there nothing wrong in the item numbers, if indian culture is on the verge of change to be modern ,it hardly matters what the others are criticizing the same. we people want it & we are doing it. humaima malick would be the first person to be criticized for doing numerous item in bollywood though as pak citizen.

    1. Jasmine

      Please tell me how there is “nothing wrong” with reducing a person to a nameless object solely for your entertainment?

  12. Deva

    What is this article? Let us work on facts…

    The author cribs that male leads are paid more than female leads. What next? She says female leads have less screen time than male leads. So what does she expect? Pay same and work less? Is that equality? These female leads still draw crores compared to male sidekicks who draw lakhs (with comparable screen times as female leads).

    Nudity? Has she been so blind by propaganda to neglect male nudity? How many males in cinema have you have seen exposing their chest? Many. How many females in cinema exposing their breast? Yeah none.

    Stereotype item girl roles? Right right. How about super macho stereotype for males? It is the “bread and butter” for those male actors with limited talent too. And easy money, just like for female actors.

    Change? If the author had researched, she would have come across women centric movies from previous era too.

    Women are not special. They are equal. You are not a “Princess” anymore. Grow up. This is life. Quit whining. You work hard, and then you earn. Stop with entitlement. But no, playing victim is easy way, rather than acknowledging the elephant in the room.

    1. akshita prasad

      Princess? WOW! I didn’t know women were treated like that at any point of time. We aren’t whining, we are urging change.
      And we don’t objectify men. Women are objectifies all the time.
      And u say,
      “If the author had researched, she would have come across women centric movies from previous era too.”
      The author is talking about “NOW” , not by gone time.

    2. Ratnadeep

      You say you are urging a change. Let me tell you in the film industry, be it actors, actresses, singers, musicians, directors, producers or whoever it is, are all at the mercy of the audience. If the audience reject someone or accept someone, then it’s their choice. We can’t force the audience to like or dislike someone.
      So even if the film industry wants a change, they will be helpless without the support of the audience.

  13. Templetwins

    I hardly watch Indian movies until I hear good things about it. The whole complain of objectification is silly for there exist a choice for you to do not to do that role. You can make female centric movies and produce it yourself with no item numbers. Nothing stops you from doing it as long as you were able to sell it. At one point feminists are saying it is their right to dress however they want but also mock the female form or partial nudity in films because it is appealing to men who are not worthy of their attention. The author asks Bollywood to respect women and not show them in skimpy cloths but if she is wearing a skimpy cloth does it mean she is being disrespectful and that we should see her as a humanoid robot with boobs and ass? Your cognitive dissonance is showing.

    1. Jasmine

      The author isn’t stating that women who do choose to wear skimpy clothes are being disrespectful and humanoid robots. Rather, she’s focusing on the fact that that’s the one thing most women, if not all women, in Bollywood movies are featured as. If you’ve watched any Bollywood movies, you’d notice that the conservative “nerdy” girl is often converted into a “sexier” version of herself. Lead actresses can never not be pretty in a Bollywood movie and some may say that the male actors have the same pressure to be “good-looking” in a Bollywood film but there are many male actors who don’t fit the stereotypical model of being “good looking” (i.e. fat, wears glasses, asymmetrical face) who do get prominent roles. The author is highlighting this sad trend and how stifling it really is for the representation of women in such a popular form of media.

    2. Templetwins

      Like I said no one is stopping you to make movies with fat, unattractive women as long as it is successful. I find singing and dancing in movies are more of a distraction but if that’s what sells, who are we to say otherwise. There is nothing wrong in seeing sexy women grind her hips. How sex-negative of you to think its sad. There are few male actors who don’t fit the stereotype but they must’ve born with a silver spoon, backed up by money or an influential father. Women are mostly hired for their sex appeal and they loose it way sooner than their male counterparts. While some actresses can be sexy and could act, while some can only be sexy, which might be enough for that particular movie. If you take female directors like Catherine Breillat, she often makes movie centered around women, something provocative of a kind. Perhaps feminists should become directors and producers and make their own politically correct movie. If it sells, it could be a trend setter!

  14. nitin

    well analiyized and written, this will end only when filmmakers will get the freedom of making film without lame marketing teams invovlement.

    1. Avinesh Saini

      And what if those movies start flopping left, right and center?

  15. Rachna

    This article seriously highlights the prevailing absurdity of ludicrous patriarchy prevalent in bollywood and like what they want to achieve by projecting women in revealing clothes doing item numbers is a thought of serious concern ….its simple : objectification of female anatomy ….coz boobs and ass is what limits the boyish talks and since the makers have to sell their content they look at their constomers which again no wonder as someone remarked above is male dominated , n movies are the kind of things to satiate their desire for fun , entertainment (not a reflection of this society my friend …no more). So it is complete marketing strategy ….which is having serious repurcusions on young minds!

  16. Babar

    Visit the website Women Against Feminism. Not everyone succumbs to women’s lies about liberation and feminism.

    1. Irritated

      Seriously you’re pissing me the eff off. And you sound like an idiot. And you’re making yourself look bad. STFU

    2. TheSeeker

      Did you even read the views of women in that website? They are not supporting feminism because they want to wear provocative clothes and make up without any hate. Apparently, feminism doesn’t support revealing clothes. Quite contrary to what you’ve been preaching, right Babar? And look at this: https://twitter.com/NoToFeminism
      Cracks me up xD
      Btw I am not a feminist but I definitely don’t support the women on those pages.

  17. common man

    We must accept the fact that the society has changed and is still undergoing changes. The changes are slow, but it is happening. Men have started accepting women as their equal counterparts, but one cant expect a sudden change in the society. I support Elizabeth’s opinion that open criticism could have been avoided. You can never solely blame men, because there are production firms headed by women and they still make films in which females are given less important sexy roles. There are movies with strong female characters and that are economically success’s too. Its a persons choice whether to watch and promote such movies with these sexy roles. Don’t get me wrong when I ask this. When a lady wears a swimsuit in a beach its her discretion. When they do that on screen it is to satisfy men.

  18. Babar

    This article is on a blog where women are fighting for their right to have premarital sex, multiple transient sexual relationships, dress indecently sexy, ‘try out’ relationships before settling down, use a condom instead of being morally upright, among a host of other things which includes sexual perversion.

    1. Drishti

      YOU amusing random collection of bones and flesh! 🙂

    2. trishla

      Hahahaha yes you got that right. I think it is about the freedom of choice. I think lots of people use nudity and indecency in the same vain. Nudity and indecency are not the same thing. What I find abhorrent about say an item song is that the female body that is nude or sexy is not of a woman but of a woman how she exists in a man’s sexual fantasy. I think all the people who have a problem with how women dress are constantly equating her with how they see women in their sexual fantasies. So when I say I think item songs are sexist and the skin show is sexist I don’t mean that female nudity is bad…what is bad here is that women don’t have a choice to exist as fully grown human beings who have the freedom to choose to be. And religious moralism and the moralism that teaches people that sex is bad and women should lock up their vaginas is perverted. A religion that mistakes sexual promiscuity for immorality is perverted. The way you think is perverted. You are a deeply sexist misogynist person and probably nothing I say will change that. So be it.

    3. Babar

      Women choose to dress sexy in the market, in public places, on the streets, but if it is seen in Bollywood, women start complaining. Women choose to do item numbers. It started with Isha Kopikkar in the film ‘Company’, which gave her instant fame, and after that every actress lined up for it.

  19. Voice of reason

    Honestly, reading the comments this has article generated, actually makes me wonder, if people actually understand the problem. In my opinion the root cause of objectifying women in films, they getting less roles etc is in the viewer himself. Don’t you people understand this, I see people writing about feminism, patriarchy etc etc, but the fact of the matter is simple, this is an industry and like any industry it has a balance sheet , working capital, capitalists and all other financial aspect of any other industry ( like the FMCG or IT industry), so obviously the producers will make anything that sells, and it is an accepted idea that sex sells, so use it. The rise of Item numbers, increased nudity, women being given next-to-invisible roles, females actors being paid less etc, is all due to the fact that like any industry, this industry also works as per market trends, and we the consumers decide market trends. One may argue that we are talking about actors and not products, but please, this is an industry and it will always have the same ethics and dynamics.

    Now for all my female friends who have used this article for pro-feminism, male bashing and other agendas,read this- You whine for the lack of “Meaningful” roles that female actors get in movies, you whine about they being treated as objects, you complain about a 50 yr old SRK romancing a 22-23 yr old actress,but think about it, if females did not like SRK and his movies ( irrespective of age ) do you really think he would have attained the stature that he has. Whenever a Salman movie comes out ( even something as ridiculous as Kick) you all go GAGA over it, not saying that men dont, but honestly without a huge female fan base, 100 crore is a distant dream. Before you complain please look at yourselves in the mirror, how many of you really look forward to female based cinema, how many of you really appreciate films with deep message. I am sure very few, because if you did, then someone like Shabana Azmi would have been more popular then A Rekha or Sridevi. The author of this article, in the very first line mentions that she was looking forward to watching Dhoom 3, this itself shows her hypocrisy, please tell me which part of the entire Dhoom franchise ( Dhoom 1 &2 ) didnt have nudity and ridiculous roles for females, so if she went to watch Dhoom 3 what was she expecting. Also how many of you feminists were actually looking forward for a good movie like Amir, how many of you coax your friends to watch Haider instead of Something as horrible as Bang Bang.

    The fact of the matter is that we as audience want cheap thrill, non nonsensical action and comedy and then we put the blame on producers. If we were matured audience, a Konkona Sen Sharma would have had more fan base then a Katrina, Irfan Khan would have been a bigger celebrity then SRK or Mr Slaman Khan. This also reflects in the fact that inspite of being one of the biggest film industries in the world, we really are not appreciated in terms of art, depth of the concept etc. Few directors who show courage and make independent movies do not receive the same reception as the big budget non nonsensical cinemas get. We are an audience, where a celebrated actor openly admits that he is an entertainer, more then an actor and cinemas should always entertain and yet we hoard in huge numbers when his films are released.

    Please stop blaming only males and patriarchy for the nudity , item numbers etc in films we all equally share the blame……

    1. Babar

      There is something known as talent, which male actors possess, something actresses today don’t, and they compensate for it by taking their clothes off. And if you have such a problem with item numbers and nudity, and you sincerely believe that it is objectification and sexualization, and you’re against it, you can start by telling girls on the streets to stop dressing indecently, and stop sexualizing and objectifying themselves.

    2. Voice of reason

      Babar, as usual you are being ridiculous, you are an idiot with absolutely no sense at all. who told you we dont have good actresses. You moron please stop replying on my posts. I have read you opinions else where as well you need to get mental check up and i know i am not the first person to say that. Since i cannot change you, i request you to please not reply/ post on any of my posts in future.

    3. Safi

      Dear Babar , have you watched the movie Mary kom ? Do you know the hard work and skill required by Priyanka chopra to do the things she did ? Have you watched the movie queen ? Or even Haider ? Have you watched how well Tabu has portrayed her character in the movie ? Vidya balan in kahaani ? The issue is that the industry by itself pushes for the item numbers . It doesn’t have anything to do with the talent level of the actresses . Of course they aren’t all great. . but then , so aren’t all the male actors . And since you’ve dragged out the street clothing issue . . I would like you to realize this . No matter what a woman wears , no man has the right to rape . Everybody has a brain and a sense of morality . Rapists choose to ignore it . Women have the right to dress as they please , just as men do . They wish to dress up and look good man , let them . They aren’t at all sexualizing themselves and asking men to walk up to them and letch like ingrates . You need to realize this .

    4. Voice of reason

      @Babar – see this is the problem , people like you write non sense and then the discussion loose their validity and main agenda!

      again please stop posting!

    5. Babar

      @Safi: Actresses choose to do item numbers., and they choose to dress scantily. As for rape, that has nothing to with the discussion at hand.

      @Voice: I am not interested in a conversation with someone who can’t write two sentences without abusing – a trait of feminists.

    6. Voice of reason

      @Babar – First of all, you never get the point, no matter what ever be the nature of article, you always manage to post ridiculous non sense…

      Thank god you are not interested, please going forward request you not to post any reply on anything that i write, i hope you would adhere to the same

    7. mcd

      Priyambada, plz answer voice of reason.

    8. priyambada

      Okay ‘voice of reason’, I am sorry for the late reply but here it goes. First of all please read my article. I did not only “blame the male population”, I also hinted that a change has to be brought by us, the viewers. I agree, we the “female population” loves SRK and Salman Khan and indeed we are half the reason why there are 100 crore films. What you need to understand is that we are not playing a blame-game here. We are half of the reason why shitty movies like Bang-Bang or Kick becomes a block-buster. We also constitute about half of the item-number crazy fan base. The problem here is that bollywood, needs to view trends like item-numbers as dangerous and also needs to stop them asap.Many of the consumers of the so called bollywood industry is illiterate. The others are blind actor-devotees or just dumb people who likes to feed on cheap entertainment. People like you and me and the 4000 others who shared this article are the ones that needs to bring about a change. We’re aware of the problems and the consequences. We need to stop buying bullshit like these and start making things that actually matter. Bollywood is male dominated and you can’t deny that. We need more females behind the scenes. As far as my hypocrisy is concerned, I wanted to watch the movie because I believed it was a Amir Khan movie( I don’t hate the male species, you see) and yes, I did not expect that Katrina Kaif’s role will be so dubious and stupid. What I did expect was a movie where I could see Amir Khan in action and Katrina Kaif in a frame for more than 20 minutes. And also for the record I did watch Haider and also took 6 of my friends with me. We feminists do not like to “male-bash” but we do like to speak of things we find disturbing and unfair. And also you need to understand that, girls are not a source of patriarchy but a product of it.

    9. Voice of reason

      Well i comment after a very long time, as i did not see your reply, I agree with you that we need to change, and unless we as audience change, we cannot and should not expect any change from the industry, as it is an “Industry” not an NGO , Bollywood does not care whats good and bad, all it cares, as it should, is what sells…. and item number sells

      as for not being Male bashing, its ridiculous because the title does not say what is wrong with Bollywood, rather it says what is the problems of Females in the industry, there you go. This article could have been to the point but by bringing the word Females in the title, you actually try to make it male bashing. Also please note most “Females” – as defined in your article , have absolutely no problems in doing item songs, as long as they are getting the popularity, hence what baffles me more is , which females are you talking about……

  20. peterparker

    Useless movies of bollywood. Hardly any value addition after wasting 3 hours watching them. Better if they make movies on scientists, engineers, doctors. Won’t mind even if they are females. Kids will get inspirations. Arts are supposed to inspire others, not making everyone a subject of ridicule and mockery.

  21. Enough.

    All this from sitting in your room and drinking coffee.

    1. Woman need to stop taking up such roles. No one can be forced to do anything. Porn already exists for people who want to see naked people.

    2. Real actors don’t need to show their skin.

    3. If Katrina Kaif doesn’t act sexy then I don’t know what she’s doing in a movie. She can’t act.

    4. You went for Dhoom 3 with great expectations? Please stop writing such stupid articles. We already have a dumb film industry and a not so great music industry. Please don’t add to the clutter of shit out there.

    1. Priyambada Bhagawati

      please, tell me more on how should I live my life and what should I drink, I have like the whole day.

      1. Women needs bread and butter, and when the directors (91% to say) wants a skin show, they’ve got no other choice. I am not blaming Only the male population here. The choice of ‘giving up a movie’ will only come when you have power and equality. And that, my friend is far from reality.
      2. I knew dhoom 3 was a ‘male-macho-action’ movie. And yeah, I had my expectations high, but then I was disappointed. Katrina Kaif’s role was not needed.
      3. By real actors if you mean the male actors then, yeah sure, no skin show needed.

      And,I’ll write any shit I want as long as people like you understand the problem and not treat it like some blatant observation made on one day.

    2. Babar

      Women earning crores need movies for their bread and butter! Is that the best excuse you can come up with for the blatant skin show. And what about when they choose to reveal their bodies on the streets, malls, clubs, parties, functions, etc. Must be for their bread and butter, right?

    3. Gagan Ahari

      The skin show is preferably assumed to be a best commercialization for a movie by many film makers and that’s why the item numbers are shown in the films. The directors force the actresses to show skin to attract the audience and i guess for the survival in this glamorous world many actresses do what they are told because there have been many actresses like in swades who went into oblivion because they got trapped in the indian typical gal image and we audience also don’t like the gal who doesn’t show her sexy femininity. This has now become a trend and though many actresses use these moves intentionally to take a break, it is easy to teach lecture about choices while sitting on the couch. In the childhood we all wanted to do something different but when we know about the fierce competition we all make choices contrary to our own thinking of right or wrong. At last we all want to survive so we do what we feel right to survive

    4. Ujjwal

      I need bread and butter too, but not by selling myself. I won’t shed my clothes for that.

    5. Ujjwal

      And if she agrees fr skin show, then what’s the difference between she and a stripper? None wants to strip, but most strippers hide behind poverty, just like thieves hide behind poverty

    6. LP

      I agree with your article above, and I have pretty much thought the same things over the recent past. However, Like others have pointed out, people cannot use bread and butter as an argument when they make more money in one movie than some of us make in a life time, and are living a respectable life. Second, there are actors who do make the occasional movie and still live a very well off life by simply choosing not to do a strip show whether or not the movie demands it (Kajol, Juhi, Madhuri, Tabu, etc.). One may argue that the era of those movies were different, but I also believe that their era was different simply because the actresses did not allow movie producers and directors to believe that actresses’ bodies were commodities to be sold and put on display. I cant believe Katrina or Deepika are going to starve if they choose to say no to a few movies. In fact, if all the actresses come together and question why their skin show is necessary for the movie to make money, they will actually be allowing the society to make more progress towards women empowerment. Women’s bodies will not be viewed as commodities. I would respect an actress if she came out honestly and said its her body, its her wish to display it for money if she chooses to, instead of hiding behind bread and butter arguments.

    7. Hiran

      Hi,

      I do like your passion. But I think the person above had a point. All the leading ladies in the Indian film industry today are well educated and are performing these acts out of choice. There are a million ways in the world to earn bread and butter in a way that don’t involve shedding clothes. Everybody talks big about the increasing objectification of women, but are next in line to watch another film for “entertainment”.

      I loved the way you quoted the research based statistics about films. Did you know that the same gender gap exists in all industries all over the world? If statistics might impress you, women earn only 75% of what men earn for double the work. India has a lot of problems apart from films like female infanticide, dowry, domestic violence, rapes, sexual harassment at work place and many many more.

      It would be useful for the country if the “youth” focused on more serious problems that Katrina’s strip tease and Deepika’s cleavage. You can definitely write all the shit you want. But it would be fruitful if you could stir up serious conversations such as this on more serious and practical issues.

      P.S: I did not want to waste time replying to this but your is just one of the many articles I have come across recently about controversies of film industry. They are all rich and happy. Stop worrying about them. I am a woman and I do understand your concern. But focus on better things please.

    8. Voice of reason

      @priyambada – request you to reply to my comment , please scroll down , there is also some one else asking the same

    9. Max

      I do not intend to get get any conversation about what you have wrote in the blog. However, i will like answer this comment of your

      *** 1. Who gave you the data of 91 percents. Are you in touch with the actresses and the directors!! They do whatever they want, it is their job…They get paid for it…You do not like it….stop watching!! Bottom-line, for bread and butter their are other jobs as well, but they won’t fetch them millions!!

      ***2. The director of the Dhoom 3 will surely commit suicide after hearing your no sense-no head-no tail remarks about his film. I hope you remember, how the movie went on box-office. Job well done. You were disappointed, extremely sorry for that. How in the hell you managed to pinpoint this thing out of the highest grossing movie of the year!! I guess Katrina’s role was much needed and i feel the director also thought the same and hence a big hit.

      *** 3. By Real Actors he meant, people who can act in a proper manner without flaws!! He never mentioned male or female!! Think broadly, get out of this male-female thing. We all are equal now!! Women are by no means inferior neither are they superior.

      You said- And,I’ll write any shit I want as long as people like you understand the problem and not treat it like some blatant observation made on one day.

      I say- Do not write shit, you will have to smell it yourself……!! 😉

    10. Mohit

      1.Woman can’t stop taking these roles,there is immense competition in this field ,you are always one film away in making or breaking your career.lots of struggle out there mate.Even if A list heroines deny to do these kind of roles there is whole bunch of newcomers to replace them,and newcomer will do these kind of roles in any means because they don’t have any other choice.But why will A listers will make that mistake which will hamper their career and bank balance as there is more fierce competition now a days.And earning crores doesn’t gives you power in any way,they have to carry a lifestyle of star,they have to pay to their managers,employees and hell lot other stuff’s ,if you are not constantly earning then your lifestyle will take a hit and nobody wants it,even you me or any other person will not want it,everybody wants to grow with time ,become richer fulfill there dreams.So thats leaves with very little choice to them.

      2.Real actors also need to show skin if story demands it or it may favor film. Amir khan,tabu and many other good actors has done it.

      3.Katrina may not be a good actress but she is very hardworking and it matters because there are hell lot of beautiful,sexy ladies out there eager to showoff to any extent.But only katrina gets bigger meatier roles because of her hardwork and success.Apart from her first film boom she has not done very hot scenes and too much skin show.whatever item songs she has done,she has taken away with her beauty charm and dance.People pay to see her and she is doing her job perfectly.

      4.The most disappointing thing about us as audience is we talk much but we don’t act much,in the meantime katrina and other actresses are spending their sweat for their next project. we will just talk and gossip about skin show ,nudity blah blah and in turn will create more market for it.why talk about this why not go watch a good movie,review it ,if an actress has done a great job why not share it talk about it,like kangna in queen.

      5.why the author is disappointed with katrina’s role,i don’t even understand its Dhoom 3 ,i think she hasn’t watched dhoom and dhoom2.Hotness quotient in Dhoom 3 was way less than Dhoom or Dhoom 2.

      6.ekta kapoor is woman and what she is producing ragini mms,ragini mms 2..lolss…and ajkal amir ko bhi apni Shirt/pant utarni padti hai…problem is not bollywood,problem is audience,bollywood is just a industry as any other industry which thrives on audience and viewers ,whatever audience will choose to watch more and talk more about they will show more.Aamir ne shirt/pant utari to log apne aap uske baare main gossip krne lag gye,galti kiski audience ki,fayda kisko mila ,aamir ki film ko….Ye audience ke liye sharam ki baat hai actor/actresses ko ajkal ye sab krna padta hai…bechari aliya abhi jawan bhi nhin hui aur usne kissing scene dene chalu kr diye…galti is not of bollywood ,galti is of audience because jab koi film nhin chalti hai na to audience ka kuch nhin jata but actors,producers and director ka career spoil ho jata hai….so they do what they think will help their film,as an audience its our duty to promote good cinema..not bollywood’s…and many persons in bollywood are promoting good independent cinema but jab audience ko knowledge hi nhin hai to kya kar saktein hai.

      7.Author had a huge expectation from dhoom 3…lmao

      8.Author has very less knowledge about the film industry and dosen’t know about how it actually works.

      9.last but not the least appreciation to the author,you have great writing skills..keep it up.

  22. Ravi Chaudhary

    If women stops acting in these films everything will stop by its own. But in practical it is all those women who wants to earn easy money by revealing their body and thus acting in this manner.
    Ab Indian naari ke sha-shakti-karen ka time hai, she herself is choosing her life & roles, so there is nothing to claim if she is willfully acting to earn fame & money.
    Now a days there is one more way to earn easy money and that is by “Milking the Indian Law.”
    All those who have pity on our very own Indian girls please start a protest that Indian girls should not reveal their body on silver screen. This will be good for our society.

    1. Adya Singh

      I understand what you mean. But I do not think you read the article carefully. I am referring to Kangana Ranaut’s comment about actresses having to do jobs just to survive in the industry. The actresses need to keep doing films or else they will slip into oblivion. When most roles that they are offered portray them as ‘items’, they don’t really have much choice…

    2. Babar

      Women earning a few crores per film, and a few crores for a single dance performance in award shows apparently need to reveal their bodies for survival. The truth is, they want fame and money, and they lack talent. The easiest and quickest method to climb the ladder of success is by wearing revealing attire, to the point of wearing the bikini, which they opt for themselves. The first item number was done by Isha Kopikkar in the film ‘Company’, at which time no one knew her, and she instantly shot to fame. After her, everyone lined up to do an item number, for instant fame.

    3. TheSeeker

      Couldn’t agree more! Women need to stop accepting such roles and take some action. But sadly, many actresses are not brave enough to do so. Or they just want the fame and money and go on with it. These days actresses in Bollywood are usually talentless in acting with a good body.

  23. irate_pirate

    The state of our entertainment industry is a direct result of our social structure and norms. In a country where premarital sex not only socially repulsive but is actually illegal, prostitution is illegal, has no structured avenues for sex education and is becoming increasingly urbanised with a rapid decline in the joint family structure leaves no avenues for the hormonally charged, sexually unaware and sex starved youth any other legal avenues for their sexual needs apart from fantasy derived from titillating dances. The “item numbers” are they symptom , not the cause of this disease. Let every adult man and woman make their own informed choices about when and with whom to have sex. Remove misplaced “morality” and “social acceptance” from sexual knowledge and experience, and notice that no one will go to a theatre to watch a suggestively gyrating woman.

  24. mani

    Well said

  25. vivzkestrel

    Well even if you ignore all the facts mentioned above for a second, you gotta realize that Bollywood movies have been reduced to slapstick comedy with no laughter or a love story that continues forever. People have just lost their innovative skills and to make it worse, they use actresses like Sunny Leone to get over it.

  26. Ujjwal

    Who doesn’t know that???? Most movies don’t have any value. I have stopped watching Bollywood long ago.
    Anyway, females, as a commodity, are used to publicize a lot of products apart from movies like, perfumes, clothing brands, airlines, etc. The point is why women in our society are so greedy that they shed cloths for money?????? Why do they want to become a air-hostess, when they know that this job require them to wear revealing dresses and give men another chance to be perverts. This is a both sided coin. Men admit that they are pervert, and every1 hates them for being that way. Women should admit they are greedy, and people should hate them too

  27. Aquif

    Pretty harsh truth….Most Bollywood movies are made for the “Desi” crowd who come to see the actress dancing to the beat of a song with “Vulgar” Lyrics…..But the actress are not exactly to be blamed for this scenario…..Nor the directors….Its the audience who has to be blamed……If people had rejected “Munni Badnaam” then there would not have been “Sheela Ki Jawani”….Everyone makes movie to earn profits…..And if people want skin show…..Then be it that way…..

  28. sane167

    I think the movie industry is just responding to popular demand. Once a movie becomes a hit, more movies are made in the same formula, hoping to milk the crowd. The average movie going male responds to item numbers and so item numbers are included in the movie. The average movie going female condones the item numbers and so they persist. I really don’t see item numbers as demeaning as long as it does not affect normal life. If it leads to more crime against women, I agree it is something to be taken up, but without statistical evidence, we cannot impose our individual likes and dislikes on the society.
    The invisible hand of the market moves our culture (like all fields of life) and it is really not possible to dictate its direction.

  29. Rhea

    We need to stop listening to what men want and start doing what women want. We’ve listened to men all this while, look where every aspect of our lives, government, society and everything else has come to. All the directors need to grow a pair and make movies that don’t sexualize men or women and have good content. If you can’t do that then just retire.

  30. Kaushik kumar

    Quite a well intended article. But the fact is that there are some deeper structural factors that decide the fate of Indian films like the nature of Indian audience & their preferences, to name a very few. I particularly think that it would be grossly uninsightful to look at these undesirable trends and traits of Indian movies through the prism of female unequality and discrimination. And afterall, Directors and Producers alike, make and invest in movies which actually caters to the ‘audience’ in large. So I think that Indian audience will have to evolve in order to be mature and ‘demanding’ enough from the Industry while at the same time rejecting such hormonally charged scenes and lyrics in particular, to get things moving in the right direction in the film Industry.

    1. Raj

      The way the Indian audience think is heavily influenced by the movies that they watch. And movies have the power over other forms of media to create or destroy an idea. So even if there are a lot of awareness campaigns and stuff opposing objectification of women, if movies still portray women as objects of desire then all the efforts of such campaigns goes down the drain. And if top actresses keep accepting offers to dance for item numbers, it adds more fuel to the fire. Even if they say “Being an actress, it is my duty to take on any role” no one is going to understand. Someone has to take the first step.

  31. Vishnu

    Bollywood is lowbrow Garbage.. end of the story.

  32. Babar

    Priyanka Chopra’s cousin Barbie Handa’s Zid is coming up, filled with obscenity and nudity – yet another example of a talentless actress trying to make it in Bollywood through skin show.

  33. Babar

    If actresses are so talented, why are all newcomers dying to work with Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, and Salman Khan. There are many actresses who have a name today courtesy of male actors, who got a role with the Khans when no one knew them, and now they are famous. Salman Khan alone introduced Katrina Kaif, Sonakshi Sinha, Zarine Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Asin, Sneha Ullal, Somy Ali, just to name a few. Rani Mukherjee and Anushka Sharma got fame after working with Aamir Khan. Deepika Padukone got a dream start with Shahrukh Khan. Of course, I am missing many actresses’ names who rose to stardom after a debut with the Khans.

  34. Mohit

    This is a vicious circle between audience,media and filmmakers,In commercial films the most important aspect is commerciality or business otherwise why would be they called commercial film.Now in commercial films whatever things make a film hit ,filmmakers will try to do that and repeat until that formula fails and they will devise new formula.Audience say that they want good cinema but they will not go to theatre to watch a good film having lesser known star cast and a not so beautiful,hot and sexy heroine instead they will go to theatre according to the name of star and marketing and publicity(item songs also comes in this) and story,screenplay and direction takes a backseat.Media is mostly paid for publicity and unpaid media dosen’t cover a good film or writes about it to that much extent so that a good movie can make a good impression among audience before or after release.Filmmakers say whenever they tried to make a different film,commercially it fails and they just start making the same kind of cinema as it produces money for them.It will always start with audience as commercial cinemas most important aspect is making money,if audience will start rejecting such kind of meaningless cinema ,filmmakers have to turn into making good cinema.The most recent example is queen which is highest profitable film of year….media should project a film’s success on the basis of its profit percentage not on the basis of its total earning.If a film made with a budget of 80-100 crore makes 120-180 crore ,its considered super hit then its pathetic ,it dosen’t even able to double the amount of its investment …where as a film made with a budget of 15-20 crores and making 60-80 crores which is making four times of its investment is not talked about much because it couldn’t make into 100 crore club..For me queen(women centric) was the best film of 2014.And audience have to keep supporting these kind of cinema so that filmmakers try to take more risks and make more of these type of films in even bigger budgets.Audience has to mature ,media has to be unbiased,good films will follow you as it always starts with money in your pocket.don’t go to watch meaningless cinema,even don’t talk about them(why give them free publicity,see i din mention any of those films ,i only mention about queen :)) instead share and talk about good cinema,influence your peers to follow your path and soon change will begin ,in this age of internet nothing can be hide:) 🙂

  35. M@X

    Priyanka and katrina are superstars now only because of Akshay Kumar.

    1. Shagun

      Superstar??? More like dolls with plastic smile and stupid dance moves. There are better actresses than katrina kaif but she gets to work with the top actors just because Bollywood prefers fair skinny actresses.

  36. Jaideep

    You looked forward to watching ‘Dhoom 3′. I left reading your post right there.

  37. Muneeb

    Thanks For These Such a wonderful information about how women treat in bollywood. Your Blog is going very good . Brother keep doing this.

  38. Deepika

    Well said

  39. Neeraj

    Where are women not objectified for their looks and where are men not objectified for their money and height? US media seems to hide all its country flaws by pointing a finger at others. Have you seen how women in US/west dress for the gym, for the club and even for work? You can see camel toes and butt cheek dimples in yoga pants. Indians don’t know what those pants are. Yoga is for yoga, not another excuse to objectify oneself. Oh, what is that Halloween about? Dress to scare or license to undress?

  40. deepu

    wow! agree on each of your thoughts

  41. Vikas

    “The greatness of a civilization can be seen in how it treats its weakest members”. Films are just a reflection of the society, the mirror image of our inner desires.
    Its not just the male dominance responsible for increased sexism in films but also acceptance and appreciation by many female counterparts. With our moral values going down by each passing day and the prevalent corruption in film industry and certification the worse days are yet to come.

  42. Abhi

    The same is the situation for male actor. No one would watch a movie with an average looking guy with a fat belly. Everyone wants a fair looking, six pack bearing, tall, handsome actor. The pressure is same on male actors too. That’s why actors ageing 35+ are also forced to maintain 6/8 packs.

    I do admit that situation is worse for women in society but there are more intense matters which needs more attention than issues such as short clothes, less screen time in films, different salary (which is due to fandom) and not because of gender discrimination, etc etc.

    1. Jonathan Old

      No agreed. Just look at male actors.

      50-year-old douchebags, no qualification except of a moustache and funny-flaps comments.

      The problem: We want handsome actors, be it male or female, in India or in Europe…

  43. Jonathan Old

    Poor actresses. Have to work harder and be item-girls after 30. Wow.
    Most of the actors and actresses come from highly privileged families. No one makes them work. In contrary, they are part of the system, too. And the ‘shocking’ exposure of those actresses does, indeed, put pressure on women in our society; the pressure to please men.

    Apart from this – good work!

  44. Roxanne

    I completely agree with this. I’ve worked in a couple of Bollywood movies and I’ve always been one of 3 girls out of a crew of over 50 other men. And this was even after counting the actress of the film. Sometimes we had female extras for a day or two, but otherwise, it was just us 3.
    And before the lead actress was cast, the actor visited us and showed us her reel and how good she is, etc, and it was very clear, with all that raving about her talent, he had his hands tied with her casting, which should have not been any of his business in the first place.

  45. Sriram

    So naive to say “male hormones”. These women have chosen these roles and done it with complete consent. It’s like saying I will sleep on the middle of the road but no one should run over me!

    I agree women are shown in demeaning manner. But saying this is injustice done by men and their hormones are responsible for this is really stupid.

    You said “women being a commodity has to change”. Accepted. Movies like Queen, Piku, Mardani have been a step in the right direction. But, don’t you think change takes time. If you keep on yelling from the rooftop about change, it ain’t gonna happen overnight.

    PS: I’m guessing the trigger to this article was “Yessssss, I have a study done by some random group. Let me use my “brain” and weave out an article”

  46. Arindam

    I get your point. I do not see actresses not doing serious roles even when they can. They are not forced to act in these movies. Even women directors and producers do not find anything wrong.

    I find it completely wrong. The issue is with the attitude in the industry, and I agree in that regard. But, I do not find actresses and actors saying anything about it. People like Madhuri Dixit does an item number after years away from mainstream movies. She did not need to do it, but she did.

  47. Avinesh Saini

    After reading the article, I wished every actress looked like Kathy Bates or Thelma Ritter.

  48. mark crasto

    good article. sad though to see how much open misogynism there is in society. i’ll admit that there are also a lot of crazy women out there..i know cause i’ve worked with the MRA..and believe me they’ve got legitimate reasons to be mad at women.
    but even then i find this article balanced and clear of any hidden agenda and prejudice. True that there are lots of actresses who’d want to bare it all to get ahead..
    but the great many have to do so cause the entire industry is designed that way, which is really sad.
    i hope the movie industry world over grows up..and that women are given their due right before the camera, for their talent…not their looks!
    p.s. i’d prefer a Tabu over a katrina kaif anyday !!

  49. Sheldon Cooper

    Interesting. I would love to see statistics for male side of things too. I can’t remember the last time I saw a bollywood movie where some guy wasn’t forced to shoot shirtless.

    Personally, I don’t think sexual representation of both men and women is bad, per se, for society. But it would still be interesting to listen other side.

    I mean, come on, even Uday Chopra is sexually objectified in Indian movies. Hell, Paresh Rawal is!

  50. Saurabh sharma

    sir muje job krni h. Filmo me plz call 7891825062

  51. Sandeep Kumar

    Woman Power. great

  52. Ratnadeep

    1) Payment- Please remember the payment happens as per the ability to pull the audience. If you see the success of the films like Dhoom3, Krrish3, Bajrangi Bhaijan, PK etc, you can easily make out the person who attracted the audience was the hero, not the heroine. In contrast Kareena had got the chance to draw the audience though the films like Heroine, Gori tere pyar me, Priyanka had got the chance to do so in Teri meri kahaani, 7 khoon maaf but they failed miserably. So how do you expect them to be paid in the same league of Salman, Aamir, Hrithik etc? Also consistency matters. Aamir, Salman have been delivering blockbusters from past 25 years. Don’t expect a heroine staying in the industry for just a decade and delivring 1 or 2 hits (not necessarily blockbuster) to get the same payment.

    2) You pointed out Kangana’s failures like Rascals, Double Dhamal. What about the Ajay Devgan who starred in Rascals? He too gave flops like Action Jackson, Akshay Kumar delivered many dispappointments like Action Replay, Boss, Gabbar is back and many such. Won’t be sympathise them? Or it is only about the heroines?

    3) Regarding women directors, see many tried their hands in direction. But if the audience is not happy with them, then you have to respect their choice.

    4) You said commercialization has killed. Yes agreed. Please note commercialization has killed not just actresses but many great actors also. IMO Akshaye Khanna was a great actor but he was highly undervalued. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a brilliant actor but is he paid in the same league of the Khans? How many films by Satyajit Ray had been appreciated by the masses? But you won’t fight for them. May be their fault was they are not women. Besides this note people like Katrina became famous because of commercialization or else she would have been nowhere in the picture.

  53. Vid

    Well item numbers and showing skin is an easy way to be successful for women who do not have any acting talent whatsoever. In bollywood, there is no dearth of such women. These rich women are so detached with reality and obsessed with celebrity status. I really stopped watching Hindi movies completely coz of it. The cheaper the item song, the more successful the movie becomes.

  54. Saravana

    It is the truth, there’s long way to go. The film industries should aim at more creativity than sexuality.

  55. QNgm305

    While it can be definitely agreed upon that Bollywood industry should NOT be objectifying women, along with paying them equally and representing them proportionately, it should ALSO be clearly understood that there are MANY female-dominated industries throughout the world (and India) where men are drastically under-representedand underpaid, such as fashion, modelling, dancing, performing arts, visual media, anime, etc, etc…..

    Therefore, while its understandable to 'equalize' male-dominated fields, it should ALSO be necessary to 'equalize'female-dominated fields also. If women getting underpaid is wrong, then men getting underpaid should ALSO bewrong.

    This is the part where many (not all) feminists show their hypocrisy.

  56. QNgm305

    I've gramatically corrected my previous comment, so here it is:-

    While it can be definitely agreed upon that Bollywood industry should NOT be objectifying women, along with paying them equally and representing them proportionately, it should ALSO be clearly understood that there are MANY female-dominated industries throughout the world (and India) where men are drastically under-represented and underpaid, such as fashion, modeling, dancing, performing arts, visual media, anime, etc, etc…..Therefore, while it’s understandable to 'equalize' male-dominated fields, it should ALSO be necessary to 'equalize ‘female-dominated fields also. If women getting underpaid are wrong, then men getting underpaid should ALSO be wrong. This is the part where many (not all) feminists show their hypocrisy. If they stop showing that and start supporting men in female-dominated fields also, then they will be truly considered to be “for equality”. Until then, they are just random, sadist hypocrites (not all, but many).

  57. aj

    Somebody(a feminist) in the comments quoted Barney Stintson. Oh the irony. Bro, ain't nobody do misogyny like Barney do. Regardless of the context of your reply, that is how the character rolls.

  58. Knight rider

    The entire Bollywood industry is superficial, for both men and women looks are the only important thing.No one knows how to act,how to deliver a dialogue.The industry caters mostly to taxi and auto drivers.

  59. Mubeen Ansari

    Well! it seems that men are after women and vise versa in degrading each self respect while being born in a country where traditions, customs and religious sentiments matters the most. So, someone feels exploited and some feels humiliated and the rest glad for being self. The article itself figure out the picture where the actress herself interested to entertain the mass with her exotic moves. As stated in the article Kangana said in an interview with anupama Chopra that its only a business for earning their bread and butter then its better to look for better story line which narrates and strengthen the importance of women in the Indian society rather picking steamy and seductive roles to earn hefty wealth. If women deems herself equivalent to men then let her prove their mettle in complete clothing rather showing their skin in public. This seductive roles however earns fame and affluence to the protagonist but pollute the brains of young generation which results in occurrence of more sexual harassment and prejudice for the women living in the society. Now a days female lands herself into troubles by adopting so called modern life style and men indulging themselves into sexual crimes by being addicted to so called porn entertainment. It’s only an opinion informed to you the rest depends that how to act and react accordingly.

  60. YUSUF KHAN

    Bollywood actress selection

  61. Ratnadeep

    Here the question arising about inequality. The author has following complaints:
    1. Women are getting paid less than men
    2. Women are not getting good roles
    3. Women have to expose for selling

    Now observe the following points:
    1. How many heroines are there who can bring same amount of profit on their own which the heroes bring? For example, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan got quite a few films which garnered more than 200 cr in India. How many heroines could bring that kind of amount? Please note your fees are directly proportional to the profit you make. There have been quite a few women centric films came recently but none of them could make any BO record like crossing 200 cr mark or making a great BO opening. So this proves the male counterparts are better in attracting the crowd. If any heroine can do so consistently, then she will certain get better payment. For ex, for Hum Aapke hai kaun, Madhuri had got more payment than Salman. Why? Because then Madhuri had bigger BO power than Salman. In Piku, Deepika got more payment than Irfan Khan as Deepika has Why didn’t anyone raise their voice about the disparity then?

    2. Here the example of Katrina in Dhoom 3 was given. Tell me honestly does she have in her to be a good actress? She is just a glam doll. She doesn’t even know to speak proper Hindi. There are quite a few such female stars who are highly mediocre. So don’t expect them to get good roles regularly. But yes there do exist many talented actresses. So they do get good roles like Priyanka got Mary Kom, What is your rashee, 7 Khoon Maaf, Kangana got TWM series, Queen etc. They do act well. But ultimately it comes to BO when it comes to determine who would be ruling as in today’s world money is the biggest strength one can have. Most of the films where heroines are there without big heroes don’t become big hits. Hence the producers don’t show much interest towards woman centric films.

    3. We find many women are exposing. But don’t they have the choice to do whatever they want? I think Deepika’s My Choice conveyed the same message. In case the heroines feel they are being exploited, then they have every right to say NO to exposing. BTW please note even many heroes like John, Hrithik, Salman and many such display bare chest. So heroines are not alone here.

    Now question can arise, why only heroines, why not cinematographers, editors etc get equal payments as that of the heroes? As a film maker I can say cinematographer and editor play huge role in making a quality film. Why shoudn’t they get their dues?

  62. Strategic

    It will always keep going on..don’t you watch game of thrones,spartacus?
    Sexualism is the oldest business of earth.It was there even when there really pious people.

  63. Badman & Robin

    respected females of all ages and gentlemen who i dont know yet..this article awakens the need for absolute gender sensitization in me..the author might not have explored all aspects of the glamourous life but still short skirts, mini standards etc is no way a hindrance in a woman’s development in any field of work(ya ya exceptions r always there)..and wait who are we to decide what is right for them or us?..a female body is art and i respect it..the boobs the asses(is it plural?) newys sorry for the s.m.s lingo but lets just give 3 cheers to this girl for throwing light on the quantitative parameters of the bollywood!..Bollywood or anyother film industry will evolve at its own pace with respect to society, country,etc if you dont like what is shown then just dont watch it..and really just for the record.. we dont need to change these end products of society(bollywood,theatre etc)..the male mind needs some overhauling..well if you have studied primary economics “if there is a demand there is supply”..signing off.. without malice to all..Hail! Late Kushwant Singh!!..

  64. Rajendran Aniruddh

    The issue is that people do not realize that what bollywood does not portray is the two-sided nature of the issue. I am a 20 year old Indian man.

    The crap bollywood churns out is intolerable. Just watch South-Indian movies. They are so good. They deal with issues ranging from Farmers problems
    to male dominance in society or at least has references to it. Yes Bollywood has some genuinely good movies for example, Cocktail, 3 idiots (it was brilliant)Sarabjhit, The Lunchbox, Neerja
    and Phobia. But these are just 0.5% or the very small minority of movies that are genuinely good.

    Why blame women. Just because they have the choice.

    The issue is that the men of the society want to see women as item numbers. We are so – used to seeing women as sex-objects and kathputhlis.

    The fact is that society has these conservative expectations from women and that is portrayed in bollywood.
    and hey lady your reference that “Feminism, my dearest friend, is not about male bashing. Male domination and gender inequality has been a norm till until recently and women these days, are not okay with it (may be they were in the past). So the social model is going about a change. This change is about the society which was designed for a man, but is being turned into the one where all can work (including women, like thats a different species for you perhaps)”.

    is not wrong but is too simplistic. I am a political science (I study abroad and I am not in India) student who studies about world political systems.

    .
    If women were so conservative and ok with male-dominant attitudes what was the anti-alcohol campaign in the 70’s. It was done by women of that time.

    Are u meaning to say that the anti-alcohol movement by women in the 70’s is not women empowerment?
    In the 70’s many women did not have awareness. So they could not express their voice against male domination.

    Do not demean your own gender to state that “women were ok with male domination”. Neither were 70’s women ok with male domination nor are women today ok with it.

    That’s people’s hallucination that they think that way.

    Thats the harsh reality. Also please realize that there are women criminals in this country. Do not say that
    men are criminals and women are great. Both genders have their share of gud and bad ppl. If women indeed
    were so pure why does the SC of India make a note that Anti-dowry laws are being misued by women.

    If Bollywood has to change the people watching it has to change.

    Unfortunately, the majority of movies have crap action sequences and unbelievable vulgarity.

    It is the problem of the society that they choose to watch non-sense and trash. (both men and women included).

    The way to fight the issue of nudity and item numbers is by getting the bi-polar view of the society.

    Please have a two-sided view ppl. For every arguement there is a counter-arguement.

    And my last line is please do not waste your time on rubbish movies hell-bent on satisfying you.

    Please, stop gloriying nudity. It neither helps us intellectually nor does it help the industry raise its bar.

    Watch films that are healthy and help you grow and develop.
    Pleaze realize that. Also the greatest bollywood hits were devoid of any sex or kiss or drugs.

    Stop calling those movies as conservative and refer to it as you lack of appriciation for genuine, quality content.

    I will sign off here.

  65. Abhishek Chandra

    Dear sir, you have a great view. I salute you for spreading these topics. Students above 10years keep memorising the movies role of actresses and new releases and remain engage during their exams also. They destroy their education and health a lot. My views are sadly outcome of my life. I suffered it a lot. Although I also appreciate my mistakes. But for one thing i will not blame myself wholly because society remain silent against sensitiveness of explicit scenes and keep their mouth shut. They should teach their children and neighborhood. These scenes occupy spaces in our mind and we become so angry that we keep hating and looses dare to stop children coming into evil circle. We should rise with cool mind and keep neglecting these movies and keep awaring lovely children. Thanks for your Great move towards these. Thanks a lot sir.

  66. Abhishek Chandra

    Dear Mam, you have a great view. I salute you for spreading these topics. Students above 10years keep memorising the movies role of actresses and new releases and remain engage during their exams also. They destroy their education and health a lot. My views are sadly outcome of my life. I suffered it a lot. Although I also appreciate my mistakes. But for one thing i will not blame myself wholly because society remain silent against sensitiveness of explicit scenes and keep their mouth shut. They should teach their children and neighborhood. These scenes occupy spaces in our mind and we become so angry that we keep hating and looses dare to stop children coming into evil circle. We should rise with cool mind and keep neglecting these movies and keep awaring lovely children. Thanks for your Great move towards these. Thanks a lot sir.

  67. Talha

    “It needs to portray women as who they really are. It needs to respect women. It needs to change.”

    But it is portraying those women as they really are. Do the women that are willing to degrade themselves for money deserve respect? Maybe they need to change.

  68. Madhavan N

    A lot of people said that film industry is male dominated and a 50 year old Shahrukh Khan is still continuing to act whereas an actress like Deepika will be out of work in a few years. Another way to look at this is that the film industry is biased against men because only a few actors are entrenched in it and newcomers (men) do not get a chance. Whereas, for young women, the doors are always open !!

  69. shivanie agarwal

    Wonderfully written. This is exactly what demands a change in this world of glamour. It is high time our definition of a good movie depends more on the content rather than the movie which objectifies women. The Filmmakers must understand that a film can still do well without compelling the actress to flash her skin. They need to use this tool of cinema as a weapon of change rather than a money minting business,

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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