Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Aindrita Ray is Sandalwood's Jennifer Lawrence

In 2015, Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence kickstarted the debate about equal pay in Hollywood. Soon thereafter, some leading women in Bollywood, including the likes of Priyanka Chopra and Alia Bhatt, spoke about the same issue and addressed the pay disparity in the Hindi film industry. While Sandalwood has had stray instances of actresses voicing their opinions about pay disparity, like how Ramya had in 2014, they didn't create much furore. Actress Aindrita Ray's recent statement at a press conference seems to have stirred the hornet's nest in Sandalwood, though producers and heroes are, quite obviously, keeping quiet.
While Aindrita hasn't exactly demanded equal pay, what she has said is that the disparity between the pay of the hero and heroine in a film is quite large. "There should be some justice to the pay of the heroines as well in the industry. Most heroines get only 5%-10% of the lead actor's pay, which is very little for the amount of work they put in. I haven't demanded equal pay, but what I advocate is bridging the gap in this disparity," says Aindrita, who feels that heroines in Kannada movies are paid far less than those in other film industries. Many of the younger lot of actresses, including Parul Yadav and Shanvi Srivastava, have expressed their support to Aindrita and have spoken about how actresses here indeed paid a fraction of what heroes get. Parul believes that most heroines shy away from speaking up on the issue because of the fear of being boycotted. In the past, Ramya had been vocal about Sandalwood producers loosening their purse strings for an 'imported' heroine and yet bargaining for the cheapest deal with actresses from the state, like herself. At that time, the actress had little support from her peers, but this time the debate has managed to carry on. Another top actress, on the basis of anonymity, adds, "Most filmmakers try to cut corners usually through the heroine's remuneration . They would rather get a youngster or newcomer onboard by paying them very little, than spend on an established heroine. Yet, they are ready to play to the whims and fancies of the leading men or even some of the top supporting male stars."

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