Veteran actress Shabana Azmi has called for Bollywood’s hero male brigade to do more to end gender disparity in earnings.
Speaking at an event in Mumbai, the 65-year-old actress said that the industry’s younger male stars should lead the way in ensuring that female actors are paid the same as the men.
“I feel gender disparity in payment exists all over the world, particularly in the film industry and that is simply because it’s the male star who brings the bucks in the box office.
“Just as it is perfectly acceptable that when you have any of the big heroes then the big heroines will come along and do a second role, why can’t male young superstars also say ‘alright I will do this film in which I have a less important role because I feel it’s important’? So, it’s all about sensitising them in a way.”
Azmi praised superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s decision of introducing his female co-star prior to his name in the credit list and said he should go beyond that gesture.
“Shah Rukh Khan made a remarkable gesture when he said that Deepika Padukone’s name will come before his and that is lovely. But he needs to go beyond that,” she said.
The actress, who will be seen next in education drama Chalk n Duster, said if the male stars sensitise them towards the change then equal amount of money will go into a female actress’ pocket too.
“If they star in female-oriented films then the money will come in and then you would be able to make an actual change.”