“It’s Disgusting”: Sonam Kapoor Boldly Calls Out The Sexism And Wage Gap In Bollywood

Posted on October 8, 2016 in Sexism And Patriarchy, Video

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.”

priyanka chopra sonam kapoor parineeti chopra

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.”

MUMBAI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 16: Bollywood actors Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor during the press conference organised to thank the audience for the love and support they have shown for the film Prem Ratan Dhan Payo on November 16, 2015 in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

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.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: Sonam Kapoor attends the 'Mirzya' Love Gala screening during the 60th BFI London Film Festival at Embankment Garden Cinema on October 6, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

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.”

MUMBAI, INDIA - AUGUST 3: Bollywood actors John Abraham and Varun Dhawan during a press conference for the success of the film Dishoom at J. W. Marriott, Juhu, on August 3, 2016 in Mumbai, India. Dishoom is a 2016 Indian action-adventure film written and directed by Rohit Dhawan. The film was released worldwide on July 29, 2016. (Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

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.

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