By Sourya Majumder:
Actor Sonam Kapoor’s younger brother, Harshvardhan Kapoor, made his Bollywood debut this Friday with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s “Mirzya”. Leading up to the release, Sonam took part in a refreshingly candid chat with him on writer and critic Anupama Chopra’s “Film Companion”. She was full of concern – talking about her own early experiences and disappointments, as well as the highs and lows of her career so far. But the most important (and impressive) part was when she schooled him on the status of female actors in the industry. When Harshvardhan wondered about the kind of liberty she now enjoys in her career, Sonam launched into an epic lesson to broaden her sibling’s view of the industry. Sonam, who recently wrote a much lauded essay about the highly damaging myth of perfect beauty being sold to young girls, didn’t hesitate to talk about the industry’s enormous wage gap.
Here are some highlights from the chat:
First, she gently but directly broke her brother’s notion about Bollywood:
H: “Isn’t it empowering to know that (after “Neerja”) you have so much liberty in terms of your decisions?”
S: “Not if you’re a woman in this industry.”
Then she talked about how female actors are underpaid:
“The rest of my films have also made a lot of money. Still as a woman in this industry, I don’t get my price. I still am having difficulty in getting projects off the floor.”
And how she might never see that change:
“It’s heartbreaking… somebody very wise said that you guys are the change and you’re not going to benefit from it. The generation after you is going to benefit.”
She used a few examples to show the absurdity of the wage gap:
“John Abraham and Varun Dhawan – the kind of money they got to make “Dishoom” – is way more than what Kareena and I were getting to make “Veere Di Wedding” … just because they’re men. It’s disgusting.”
And then sealed it with a truth bomb:
S: “It’s a patriarchal society and there’s a lot of sexism which is disgusting.”
Watch the full video below:
Don’t miss: In the past year, other female actors too have spoken out about sexism and the wage gap in Bollywood.