Bollywood should move past giving female actors ‘flimsy work’: Aahana Kumra
Actor Aahana Kumra on performing on film sets that are faraway from female-friendly, and why the influx of stars on OTT spells bad news for young actors
Traversing beaten paths isn’t really up the alley for Aahana Kumra. Just this year, the Lipstick Under My Burkha star considers herself fortunate to be credited in films that fit a broad spectrum of genres — Marzi, Betaal, Khuda Haafiz (all for various OTT platforms).
“I’m glad I got the chance because I’m also going to work with some mad actors,” she exclaims over phone from Mumbai.
Aahana’s latest is that the Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury film, Rules of the sport , which is streaming on ZEE5.
The film follows the story of a few Priya (Aahana) and Gaurav (played by Chandan Roy Sanyal), who are looking to spice it up within the bed. “They are thoroughly bored in their sex life, and therefore the wife tries to include games as a catalyst. then it gets complicated,” says Aahana.
She shot for the film almost 18 months ago but remembers clearly how the primary meeting went with the director, an individual she evidently seems to carry tons of admiration for. “He (Aniruddha) manages to enroll you into a story.He causes you to very comfortable,” she says of the National Award-winning filmmaker.
“When we met for the primary time, he invited me home and fed me so well,” she laughs, and pauses to add: “He gives you tons of affection on the other hand there’s also tons of respect. He writes great stories for ladies , and there are tons of girls on his set. So you are feeling safe. When it’s a female-driven set, automatically you’ll notice the changes to the color palette, the mood and therefore the voices on set.”
Laws of equality
It is a problem that has Aahana bothered. For the various progressive tropes Bollywood or the remainder of Indian cinema tries to push onto an audience, shooting sets are still largely operated as male fiefdoms.
“It isn’t easy to get on set for long because the work is strenuous. you’re shooting in locations that aren’t friendly for ladies . I even have worked on sets where there was no loo for ladies . therefore the issue isn’t only about addressing gender disparity but also to form the set female-friendly,” she remarks.
She, however, finds rays of hope with more number of girls now taking over active roles during a film set.
“It will take a short time for the conditioning to interrupt , but the method will hasten with more people taking an opportunity . I feel proud of all the younger females I notice on set. it’s fun and exciting. There are only a few female cinematographers and directors in our industry, but if you check out their work, they tell stories during a different way; their narratives are so different from men,” she says.
Changes to the landscape began with the influence of OTT content, she believes. With more female actors getting opportunities to play stronger, meatier roles on digital streaming platforms, there has been a clear impact within the way mainstream filmmakers write content for ladies .
“We have began to realise that folks want to observe a story with a female lead,” she says, and adds: “The reason why women are so hungry for roles or are constantly fighting for it’s because they don’t get the type of opportunities to perform in their roles because the men. Don’t give us flimsy work. I don’t know what’s holding people back in making these quite narratives. Why is there just one Alankrita [Shrivastava] or Ashwiny [Tiwari] trying to form films about another woman?”
With the OTT space achieving significant growth over the previous couple of months, courtesy partially to lockdown, opportunities are on the increase for young artistes.
However, with uncertainty over theatres still continuing, OTT is probably going to draw in the larger stars of the mainstream before later. it’s a scenario that Aahana is aware of; the economic impact of COVID-19 forcing even the large spenders among OTT platforms to slash budgets has not escaped her notice.
“I think the pandemic has brought us to a stage where rather than moving one breakthrough , we’ve all had to require 10 steps back. At now , it’s either you’re taking the work within the lesser budget and truly have employment , or sit reception without one,” she says.
“OTT space are going to be widely divided because we don’t know when it’ll be normal to travel into theatres. Once the film actors enter, our jobs and our payscale are going to be affected. Opportunities are getting to subsided open because we’ve to form way for the most important stars… unless we become one, but which you recognize isn’t a simple process,” she adds.