WOMEN AND CINEMA
“Never worry about bad press: All that matters is if they spell your name right.”- Kate Hudson The much-complicated life of a woman in cinema is surrounded by thousands of questions, rumors, admirers, accusations, troubles, paparazzi and men. Even then, a hint of press, a mention of her name, is her road to fame.*
Her dress wasn’t right, they said! Her gown was heavier than her own weight. The pancake hid her natural beauty. She was taught to be feminine in all her ways and be lead by the male protagonist. She was after all, an actress. She did not have a ‘third eye’ to bring a story to life. She could not be trusted with a script. She was tamed around like a novice. She was better off as an assistant. She was after all, a director.* She cannot win an award. There were better dignitaries in that field! THERE WERE MALES IN THAT FIELD. She was after all, a woman in cinema. Over the years, women have been a part of cinema because there is always a woman behind a successful man; something that is commonly said. But, that’s not it. Even Adam needed Eve, so how could cinema be only a male-dominated arena? Women have existed, whether before the camera or behind it. She has been made to look flawless and desirable, and she has been made to sound melodious, she has been made to dance like a pro and yet she is never considered important enough to be the star awardee in a show! Women have been left to prove themselves in whatever chances they get, no matter how minute they may be. So, then how is a woman discriminated in a world where she is indispensable? But she is progressing and she is winning. She has won Oscars and Film Fares and yet, somewhere she is not regarded enough! But the women in cinema are no more demotivated by these tactics. They know their potential and so does the audience. If women are an issue in the society, then they are projected with justified strength on celluloid. Indian cinema has a string of examples from Kahaani, The Dirty Picture, Kya Kehna, Lajja and is still going on. Hollywood has also balanced its female veterans with the males in Juno, Salt, A Mighty Heart, Gone with the Wind and many more. Women in cinema are not just actresses who light up the silver screen with a stunning costume or dance sequence or sex scene. They are the soul, the creator of ‘The Hurt Locker’, ‘Step Up’, ‘A Winter Tale’, ‘Ship of Theseus’, ‘Fire’, ‘Earth’ and ‘Main Hoon Na’.
They have been the Damsels in Distress, they have been doomed to not find true love, they haven’t been the ‘civilised’, ‘traditional’ ladies. Yet, they have broken norms, they have donned bikinis, they have gone nude, they have smoked and they have drunk alcohol. And, we still consider it shameful, no matter how good it looks on-screen. Women in cinema have got married when at the pinnacle of success, had a family and made ‘comebacks’, and have not got good roles; consequently, they have left. New women have entered. They have been made to act with older stars. Their names have been preceded by the male leads during castings, though a few are making exceptions now. Women in cinema have faced enough! There has always been the excitement of a Bond-girl. And yet, there has never been a Janice or Jessica or Juliet Bond. But, there has been a Lara Croft, though short-lived. Women have designed clothes and they have made people look appealing, but why are women still waiting to get a breakthrough? No fat, dark-skinned, acne-scarred women are chosen today. Why not? They have written stories, they have acted in them, they have brought many to life, yet we are fixated on an image of a woman who can survive in the world of cinema. Women have projected vamps with just as ease as a love-struck, helpless girl. They have murdered ‘seven husbands’ and fooled as an ‘orphan’. They have survived Death’s traps and have murdered a masked killer while ‘Screaming. They have projected psychic cases and very modern, outspoken girls. “Sometimes you can have the smallest role in the smallest production and still have a big impact.” – **Neil Patrick Harris* It is as true as it can get. Women have had short roles, small parts, backup danced, assisted to the heads; but they have been impactful. They have been ‘The Help’, and yet they are not encouraged. They have been Nightingales and Queens of Hearts, and they will continue to make their stand. And still, women are believed to run after the forbidden apple of ‘love’. Such is cinema! She is known to be revengeful whether as a snake or a wife. She is a goddess, whether on-screen or in real life. Women in cinema have been wide-ranging from porn stars to art-movie stars. Women in cinema are making a world of their own which is not right! The earth strikes a balance and so should cinema. Why create conditions for a world to emerge within a world?
———— About the Author: This article is contributed by Ashwarya Bhardwaj, our intern. Ashwarya is an Economics Hons. Student form I.P College for Women, Delhi university. For her, words are her weapon to fight against the evils and her writing is a medium to pour her heart out on issues of concern. She is a firm believer of girl power and is contributing her bit to empower it.”