Women actors don’t get even 5 per cent of what men do: Aindrita

Aindrita Ray, who has acted in over 25 films in Kannada, took on what she called the ‘male-dominated industry’ by raising the contentious question of disparity in remuneration between male and female leads.

Though the issue is as old as cinema itself, Aindrita broke the long silence on the issue by accusing the Kannada film industry of discriminating against female leads not only in terms of remuneration but also facilities.

“What we are paid is not even five percent of what the male leads are getting,” she alleged on Tuesday while interacting with mediapersons during the launch of the poster of Niruttara, directed by Apoorva Kasaravalli. “I decided to speak out today as my fans have started questioning me about not being seen much in films in recent days,” she said.

Not the first one

Though Aindrita is not the first female lead to raise the issue of remuneration, rarely have actors been this direct in voicing this displeasure. It was earlier alleged that actor-turned-politician Ramya walked out of Puneeth Rajkumar starrer Dodmane Huduga because of differences over remuneration. She had questioned, through her Facebook post, ‘gender discrimination’ and why heroines are paid less in the film industry.

Apart from money, Aindrita is also upset with the treatment being meted out to female leads. She accuses producers of discrimination in terms of facilities too, including caravans to change and rest. “In the initial days, I used to change behind trees. Now, the situation has improved a bit,” she says.

What producers say

However, producers have a different take. They say remuneration is determined by ‘previous success’ in an industry where there is no set standard for payment. Since there are fewer opportunities for women to prove their standing, given that most films are male-oriented, they do not get big money.

The exceptions

However, they concede that there are exceptions. Malashree, who ruled in the Kannada films in the Nineties, was paid more than heroes. “She worked three shifts in a day and got more than the male lead after she became a rage with her first film Nanjundi Kalyana,” says film maker Praveen Nayak.

Actor Shruthi added that Kalpana, who dominated the Kannada film industry in the ’70s, got more than the heroes. “Now, the problem is of heroines not getting roles with substance that are on par with that of the male lead,” she says.

Jack Manju, producer of Bhajarangi starring Aindrita, ruled out the possibility of equal remuneration. “It has not happened earlier and will not happen in future.”


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