Lifestyle: Pay disparity between male, female actors ‘frustrating’

(From Press Trust of India)

With the success of women-centric films like Queen, Piku and Tanu Weds Manu Returns, actress Radhika Apte feels it is high time female actors were paid equal to their male counterparts.

Radhika Apte in a still from the film Ahalya

Radhika Apte plays a seductress in her latest film Ahalya

From her roles in films like Badlapur and Hunterrr to playing a seductress in her latest short movie Ahalya, Radhika has impressed the audiences with her diverse on-screen outings.

“Female actors are paid less than their male counterparts. This exists everywhere not just in our industry. But there is no reason for that to exist. I understand that a lot of films so far in the industry were working because of men and there were not enough female stars on whose name a film used to run.

“Now, you have films with female-centric parts which are making Rs 100 crore. I think things will start changing now. They should change. If women-centric films are making money, then women need to be paid better,” the actress said.

Radhika, 29, finds it bewildering that such inequality exists even between male and female character artists, let alone lead actors.

“This gender disparity exists even in the case of character actors. If there is male and a female actor and both are doing small roles in a film, even then the man is paid more than the woman. I don’t understand that. It does not make sense. It is frustrating,” she said.

The actress opts for roles which are a mix of commercial setting and substance-filled storylines.

“The barrier is breaking. There are commercial films now, which have new and great content. My choice is that. I am always open for experimentation. Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut, Aditi Rao Hyadri and Richa Chadha, everybody is trying to do that, achieving that balance,” Radhika said.

Having worked with directors like Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu, Sriram Raghavan and lately Sujoy Ghosh in Ahalya, the actress said she has no new film-maker on her wish list and would rather collaborate with all of them again.

“I have worked with such great directors that my wish list is to repeat my directors. I would want to work with them again.”

Also starring Bengali actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Tota Roy Chowdhury, Ahalya is a 14-minute-long short, which was released on Internet this Tuesday.

Calling the digital platform the future of films, Radhika said, “It is a new beginning. We are bringing our theatres home. Everything happens online. This is a transition phase. We need to experiment with the new platform. It will be a big part of the future of films. I would love to do short films online.”

Her upcoming films include Kaun Kitne Paani Mei and Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Manjhi – The Mountain Man, which is slated for August 21 release.

Directed by Ketan Mehta, the film is based on Dashrath Manjhi, popularly known as the ‘Mountain man’.

Describing her experience of working with Mehta “fascinating,” the actress said, “Manjhi happened a while ago. The only memories I have of it are happy and inspiring. Ketan Mehta is a very passionate man. His imagination is great. He really visualises things and wants them to happen on screen.”

Manjhi reunites Radhika with her Badlapur co-star and the actress called it a “treat” sharing screen space with him.

“Nawaz being Nawaz, he is a fabulous actor and absolutely committed to his  work. It couldn’t be any lesser a treat than it was.”

From Badlapur, Hunterrr to Ahalya and now her next month outings, Radhika seems to be on a roll and though the actress does not mind back-to-back releases, she finds promoting them taxing.

“Promoting films is a tiring process. I am quite new to it. But there are times when I enjoy giving interviews because when you talk about subjects, people want to know your thoughts on and there is a great discussion. If there is a project you really believe in, then you enjoy promoting it,” Radhika said.



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