Kangana Vidya and Deepika changed industry dynamics in terms of role and pay parity: Kareena

In an industry long dominated by male protagonists and narratives, a few skilled women have been meticulously chiselling away at the glass ceilings. Among these women is actor Kareena Kapoor Khan, who, on Saturday, credited contemporaries Kangana Ranaut, Vidya Balan, and Deepika Padukone for playing crucial roles in shifting the Hindi film industry dynamics towards a more balanced representation of genders both on-screen and in terms of pay parity.

Kareena Kapoor Khan, whose silver screen journey has taken her from portraying a vivacious free-spirit in ‘Jab We Met’ to the gritty character-driven narratives of ‘Chameli’ and ‘Udta Punjab,’ was at the ABP Ideas of India Summit 3.0 sharing her perspective on the transformative journey of female actors in Bollywood. She applauded the outright determination and talent of her colleagues, stating, “A lot of strong women have done a lot of strong parts in films. They have done films that have been loved by the audiences, by the masses, by the film people, by critics, and at the box office.”

Kareena pointed out that the era where actresses were considered mere adornments in films is being overhauled. “Whether it’s leading actresses like Kangana Ranaut, Vidya Balan, Deepika Padukone, or myself, we’ve always tried to stand for roles that have risen above just being there in the film. So, all has changed a lot of dynamics on many levels, like demanding a certain role, a certain fee, or position,” the 43-year-old said, emphasizing the strides made towards equality in the entertainment sector.

In a progressive call to action, Kareena stressed the importance of moving beyond gender labels within cinema. She exemplified this with a nod to her upcoming release ‘Crew,’ a film she stars in alongside Tabu and Kriti Sanon. The narrative revolves around the lives of three air hostesses, and Kareena is determined not to pigeonhole the project as solely a ‘female-centric’ piece.

“I would want people to go to cinemas whether they are watching a hero or heroine, where they are watching a film, a story, listening to songs, and all that. It’s a film about people… What is the problem, it’s a film, go watch it, enjoy it, love it. Why are you giving it names? It’s a film,” she fervently argued.

Kareena further addressed another stereotype in the industry—the fixation on a heroine’s age. With boldness and confidence, she declared, “Today the audience has become accepting. Age is just a number, it’s as old as you look, you have to be fit, you have to look good, because it’s a visual medium so we have to look after ourselves.”

Drawing from the tranquility that has blossomed within her through the years, Kareena reflected on her journey and the wisdom that has come with age, sharing that while she would never want to return to her 21-year-old self, her passion for acting remains unwavering. Even as she navigates different genres, with ‘Crew’ slated to be different from her other project ‘Jaane Jaan’, she finds contentment in the myriad characters she brings to life.

Embodying a sentiment every artiste aspires to hold onto, Kareena quoted her late grandfather Raj Kapoor’s iconic song ‘Jeena Yaha Marna Yahan’ from the film ‘Mera Naam Joker’, signifying that her journey as an actress will continue as long as she draws breath. “I don’t know if I’ll walk away because I just love what I do… I want to work forever,” she affirmed.

As Kareena Kapoor Khan advocates for equality and the celebration of storytelling in cinema regardless of gender, it is evident that Bollywood is not just witnessing a changing of the guard but also an evolution of its very ethos. With such powerful voices leading the way, the audience can look forward to narratives that are richer, more diverse, and rightly representative of the talent that births them.

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