In Bollywood, Five Stars Mean Nothing Without One Male Star

The poster of Mission Mangal is dominated by Akshay Kumar. Even though he says the movie is about the women

Updated22 Jul 2019, 02:46 PM IST
Gender
2 min read

In maths, we were taught that five stars > one star.

But that gyaan goes for a toss in Bollywood, where five stars mean zilch compared to one star - yes, the male superstar.

He is the crowd-puller; the masses ka hero. But what about the heroine? Ah... never mind

Because it’s the truth, “the brutal truth”, if I were to borrow female actor Taapsee Pannu’s words, that disproportionate space will be given to Akshay Kumar in the poster of the movie, Mission Mangal, even though it has five women.

There’s already a big superstar in the film (referring to Akshay Kumar)....Had we, the five women actors, not been a part of this film, there would have been some impact on the collections but not that much as the content of the movie would have remained as strong as it is now. 
Taapsee Pannu

Whether it was humility, or cynicism, I don’t know. But Taapsee did further explain her point by contrasting the box office performance of the five talented female actors, to her one male co-star.

We five (actresses) being a part of it (Mission  Mangal) just makes it go higher. But the box office wouldn’t have dropped even if we were not in the film. Pick up any of our films, the five ladies, add them together and compare the collection of the opening day of all those films with an Akshay Kumar movie.
Taapsee Pannu, Actor

Well honey, that’s just the way it is in B-town. Where five stars will always be lesser than one (male) star.

Because even though Akshay Kumar, the super ‘star’ of the movie has reassured us that "this film belongs to these ladies and it will always belong to them,” the fact that the trailer and the movie poster are dominated by him, shows that his assertion couldn’t be further from the truth.

Leave aside the fact that the successful expedition was credited equally to ISRO’s women.

ISRO’s women scientists 
ISRO’s women scientists 
(Photo: ISRO)
And so, just like that, the poster of Mission Mangal, a film based on the real-life story of ISRO scientists who made India’s first interplanetary expedition to Mars possible - has showed us that when it comes to representing women equally, we are still shooting for the stars!

But being the hopeful lot that we are, we still wish that stories give not just the talented female actors in the movie - Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Kirti Kulhari, Nithya Menon and Taapse - but also other women in entertainment a successful launch pad!

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Published: 22 Jul 2019, 02:30 PM IST
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