Bollywood’s Soft Power Is Not Enough for the Oscars

April 20, 2021

In 2019, India produced over 1,800 movies, making it the world’s largest film industry in terms of numbers; this dwarfs the 792 produced in both the US and Canada combined. Bollywood, as Mumbai’s movie industry is known, distributes its films around the world and is particularly popular in...

Racism Is in Bollywood’s DNA

September 16, 2020

We are all influenced by our experiences. Growing up, a number of women have made remarks that have irked or upset me. One colleague once remarked, “The managers like me more because I am fair and I look like a foreigner.” Another lady gave me life advice that still remains an indelible...

Why Kangana Ranaut Is No Longer the “Empowered” Woman India Needs

September 18, 2019

Beware of who you follow, my mother always said, because not everyone has your best interests in mind. I must have forgotten this advice those couple of years when I considered Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut to be a female empowerment idol in India. Anyone who follows Bollywood is aware of the...

The Dismal State of #MeToo in India

June 17, 2019

A dismissed case of sexual harassment in Bollywood shows just how behind India is in its journey toward gender equality. The past days have seen a whirlwind of accusations and emotions surrounding the #MeToo movement in India that are truly representative of the abysmal state of women’s...

Indian Cinema’s Own Brand of Sexism

April 20, 2018

When it comes to its treatment of women, India's entertainment industry needs a reality check. “We can’t cast her, she’s too fat.” “What am I going to do with an actress who can act but doesn’t look good?” I lapped up these statements as harmless feedback for a year and a half...

Does Bollywood Promote Crimes Against Women?

May 20, 2017

It is time for Bollywood to stop justifying and promoting sexism and sexual harassment in the guise of romance. While Abhay Deol's criticism of Bollywood celebrities endorsing fairness products was received with mixed reactions from the film community, one thing is quite true: It is not just...

Bollywood Still Hasn’t Changed

January 28, 2017

In India, the status quo of gender is promoted in popular culture. Reading through a Times of India article from 2013, “International Women’s Day: Bollywood and its bold women characters,” I was excited to see the names of movies I had watched, like Mother India (1957), Aandhi (Storm...