Bollywood, as an entertainment medium has certainly provided us with several epiphanies in recent times and as viewers, we cannot be more ecstatic about it.
Over the years, the evolution of filmmaking and watching has skyrocketed for the good. However, just like the mighty Benjen Stark from Game Of Thrones said "Nothing said before the word 'But' truly counts", we have a major BUT here.
BUT, the typecasting of female actresses has been standard if not soaring in our beloved industry. Not many have managed to challenge the norms and break stereotypes except for the likes of Vidya Balan, Kangana Ranaut and Kalki Koechlin to name a few. And talking about Vidya Balan, we just had one of her finest performances in Tumhari Sulu dawned upon us.
And while the box office collection of the film may be encouraging, the lamentable game of numbers denote how gasconading we as viewers are when it comes to appreciating art in its true sense.
I am not even talking or comparing about how much do the films of Khans and the Kumars earn as opposed to female oriented ones. Living in a country like ours, it is absolutely preposterous and impractical to even draw this comparison. I am purely talking about how we really need to open our eyes (quite literally) and look at the quality which is offered but we cease to understand it at multiple instances.
Vidya Balan is one of the country's superlative actresses and there is no secret about it. However, to our misfortune, post the roaring success of Kahaani till Tumhari Sulu, the actress has encountered an elongated rough patch.
Agreed, there were some mediocre scripts and underwhelming performances for the actress throughout this time, but I remember having a conversation with a friend about how I hope this doesn't dishearten the makers to an extent where they don't cast Vidya in films. I may have overshot my brain machine, but I really felt that and I do so, even today. The treatment of female actresses has been vituperative leading to powerhouse talents being torpid about their film choices.
So, Dear Bollywood, please do not get disheartened by the box office performance of actresses like Vidya Balan, as we have scarce talents like them and a further paucity of deserving scripts.
Even if a presentation worthy of the talent is created, many end up deriding it and others are probably suffering from acedia to bother to give it the deserving recognition or even applause. But, as a movie buff and a talent laudator, I can only urge the filmmakers in Bollywood to be unfazed about the box office performances of such actresses as their screen presence is so much more than the petty game of numbers. I know, it's a lot to ask for and the cruel numbers game is important as much obloquy I express. However, with the fortunate rise in admiration for content-driven films, we can only be sanguine about it.
While watching films like Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2 and Iron Lady, the quintessential Indian in me kept thinking 'When will we ever have an actress like Uma Thurman or Meryl Streep in India;' and I was slapped right in the face with one name, Vidya Balan.
An actress who is above the misogynistic approach of audience who may like her to be thinner and more desirable (apparently); and an actress who is truly an 'actress' and not a puppet in a commercial potboiler, it's time we give Vidya Balan the respect and admiration she truly deserves as an actress and not just speak ill of on basis of physical appearance.
Stop being querulous about how actresses like Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and others are such legends of the art and we don't have any. We don't have any because our ignominious minds refuse to regard an actor ahead of his/her physical appearance and 'good looks.'