In an industry where action-packed tent poles with men often get the highest budgets, there are almost negligible high-earning opportunities for actresses.
Pointing out the same at We The Women event, curated by journalist Barkha Dutt, actress Katrina Kaif said the majority of big budget bets are always centered around men and films led only by women never match what a male-dominated project gets. Katrina has been a part of several big-budget productions such as Dhoom 3, Thugs of Hindostan, Tiger Zinda Hai and Bharat.
She also noted the power imbalance in the industry is expressed in a plethora of ways--from pay disparity to limited opportunities and failure to recognise actresses' contributions.
“I know there’s a big debate about it where a lot of men say that the opening figures that are guaranteed by a male star are slightly more, which is why there’s a fee difference. My argument to that is give the female-dominated films, with maybe one or two female leads, the same budget and mounting that you are giving to the male stars. Give that to a female film and see what happens with that film,” she told moderator Barkha Dutt.
“If you take a film with two female leads, a great story, great director, and give it that budget, mounting and scale, I believe it has the potential to do those numbers. We just need to see that confidence come from the producers and put that investment into a female-led film,” Katrina added.
The actress further said that it’s unfair to expect a small-budget film with women to open as big as a male-driven action movie.
“Tiger and War are big action films with huge budgets. If we (women) mount a film, it could be a different film, a comedy or fun summer blockbuster. If we give that film the same mounting, the audience will feel that this is an event film. If most of our female-led films are small ideas, small in content and smaller in nature, how can the opening be compared to the Dhoom 3’s of the world?”
When asked if this striking imbalance angers her, Katrina replied, “It doesn’t. It makes me super passionate because it is my ambition to try and make this happen. I want to see a women-led film with the same budget that you give to the big action franchises.”
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