TISS report highlights gender divise in Bollywood

The report found small changes were taking place to solve the lack of representation but suggested more conscious efforts and a clear strategy was needed to close the gender gap.

A recent study done by the School of Media & Cultural Studies at Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) highlights gender disparity in Bollywood. The U.S. Consulate in Mumbai funded the report titled Lights, Camera, and Time for Action! It was launched at a star-studded event attended by dignitaries including actresses Vidya Balan and Nandita Das, and Academy Award-winning producer Guneet Monga Kapoor.

The study was conducted to study the representations of women, men, and LGBTQIA+ people in Hindi cinema. It was found that the majority (80 percent) of the main leads of box office hits from the year 2019, were males, whereas females bagged 15 per cent of the lead roles. Similarly, the co-lead roles in these movies were 100 per cent portrayed by males.

In women-centric films released between 2012 to 2019, 57 per cent of the lead roles belonged to females, and 43 per cent of these characters were played by individuals presenting as LGBTQIA+. Females portrayed 60 per cent of co-lead roles in women-centric films while males bagged 40 per cent of them. LGBTQIA+ presenting persons and females played 25 per cent of the romantic co-lead roles while males played 50 per cent of these roles.

In conclusion, lead and co-lead roles in Bollywood box-office hits were played by males, romantic co-leads and romantic interests were played by females while LGBTQIA+ presenting characters didn’t appear in any roles.

The report found that the behind-the-scenes scenario wasn't any different. Upon research, it was found there was 263,28 male crew recruited for 35 films, whereas the number of females in the crew stood at 4,131. To break it down further, there were six men for every woman in the crew. Additionally, certain departments of the film industry continue to be dominated by males. These include cinematography, sound, editing, lyrics, and script.

Overall, it was found that women are under-represented in core filmmaking departments, and were far fewer in the film eco-system-unions, associations, and boards. Also female recipients of awards each year remained low. The report said there were small changes taking place to solve the lack of representation but suggested more conscious efforts and clear strategy was needed to close the gender gap.

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