You would be hard-pressed not to find a panel discussion on the topic of ‘Women In Film’ at most leading global film festivals at present, given it’s an issue that has come into increasing focus in recent years. In the Hindi film industry particularly, matters of the portrayal of women and the disparate treatment of actresses have similarly become popular talking points. In its on-screen portrayal of women, Hindi cinema’s approach has historically been quite dire, with women traditionally being depicted as subservient and submissive, with their entire role predominantly being about the male lead.
Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Nargis, Dev Anand, Vyjayanthimala, Guru Dutt, Madhubala, Raaj Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Meena Kumari, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Aamir Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone. To a majority of westerners these names will have very little resonance, if any at all. For many cinemagoers on the Indian subcontinent, however, these highly-revered and much-followed household names together epitomise the most significant cultural product in the region: