It wouldn't be wrong to say that Bollywood leads the pack when it comes to talking about pay disparity and gender inequality. It's a known fact that Bollywood is a male-dominated industry and male actors often get paid more than their female counterparts. Though the gender pay gap seems to be reducing from the past few years, pay disparity is still deeply rooted in the industry. And the recent discussions on Kareena Kapoor Khan and Deepika Padukone allegedly asking for equal or more remuneration just adds up to that. Amid this, Bell Bottom actress Lara Dutta has said that pay disparity is a constant change and it will continue to gain momentum in the industry.
Reports have been doing the rounds of the industry that Deepika has lost her leading role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's upcoming film Baiju Bawra for demanding equal remuneration as that of her husband Ranveer Singh, who has been roped in to play the titular character on screen. Not long ago, Kareena was brutally trolled for allegedly hiking her fee upto Rs 12 crore to play the role of Sita. While there hasn't been any official confirmations on these two said reports, we asked Lara if she has witnessed any change regarding pay disparity in the industry over the past few years.
"I definitely think there have been a lot of good changes in the industry. And especially, when women are concerned, they are being paid far far better than they were before. So I definitely think that 'Yes, the industry has changed in many ways' especially for women. And if you would look at it today, not just female actors but there have been a lot of female directors, writers, DOPs who have stepped in the past few years. And a lot of opportunities have been created for them. I think this is the new trend that has started and hope it continues to get better," Lara told Bollywood Life.
She further added, The emergence of OTT platforms have also played a major role in this change and I only feel it is going to be better and better hereafter. Today, we already have a lot of top actresses who have been demanding remuneration that's already been equal to what the male actors are being paid. And there also going to be some corrections. In these times of Covid-19, many corrections have already been made it terms of movies which have gone straight for digital releases. And there itself has been a correction on what male actors are being able to charge. So nothing is going to happen overnight. And like I said, this is going to be a constant change that will only continue to gain momentum."
Talking about her 18-year long journey as an outsider, Lara told us that she hasn't been a part of any camp or group and still had the opportunity to work across several big artistes in the industry. "I think being an outsider, I have had really a great run in the industry. In my entire career, I have never belonged to any kind of camp or anything like that. I have always been an artiste who has had the opportunity to work across the board with everyone. So I really genuinely don't feel that missed out on anything. Being an outsider, I have had incredible opportunities that were given to me. And when it comes to not being cast in a film, I don't think I am the only lot of actors who had to deal with something like that. That's a part and parcel of being in the industry. So there's nothing that I feel that 'Oh my god! Ye mere sath bohot bura hua.' I think I have been very very fortunate in my life to being in the industry for 18 years and still be relevant."
On the work front, Lara will be seen essaying the role of Mrs Indira Gandhi in Bell Bottom starring Akshay Kumar. It took Lara three hours to get transformed by make-up artist Vikram Gaikwad each time she would shoot for a scene in character as Indira Gandhi and another hour to get out of it and becoming Lara Dutta again. Apart from the look, Lara paid extra attention to Indira Gandhi's body language. A lot of research went into it.
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