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Dia Mirza Talks About The Misogyny That Has Always Existed In Bollywood. We Love How Candid She Is

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Time and again we have discussed just how patriarchal and misogynistic our entertainment industry used to be. A part of it still is. Countless actresses have come up and candidly spoken about their horrific experiences with the casting couch, getting replaced from movies overnight because the actor wanted someone else and even being paid much lesser than the “hero” of the movie. And the latest actress to join the conversation is Dia Mirza. We have to keep this dialogue going. 

In an interview with Hauterfly, Dia Mirza talks about how different the industry was when she first started out 19-20 years ago. When she started out, a movie set was a testosterone-filled environment but thankfully, she says, things have gotten better. And while we agree with her, the misogyny and gender-bias are still extremely prevalent in Bollywood. 

Dia Mirza said, “Let me tell you when I started out it was a very different industry. I mean, there are so many radicle changes that have happened.” Further adding, “The gender balance on a film set was very skewed. I mean, literally on my first 10-15 films there were barely any women on set. On a lucky day, there would be three.”  

From everything we have gathered from the accounts of actresses like Dia Mirza, Bollywood in the ’90s and early 2000s was a patriarchal hell. The actresses were treated like a shiny trophy while the actors were revered. In the interview, Dia goes on to talk about how misogyny, ageism and sexism were extremely prevalent in those times. Yes, things have gotten better but Bollywood is still not completely free of the misogyny and the patriarchal ideologies. 

In the interview, Dia said, “I mean, patriarchy, ageism, sexism it was all so rampant. It still is, subliminally. I mean, there was so much of it even in the writing. And all of that thankfully, thankfully, thankfully is getting much better. I remember, you know, if we asked as women as actors if we asked a question, the men didn’t like it. There were so many directors and writers they didn’t like it, they didn’t appreciate it. They didn’t value thought. They didn’t value a thinking person.”  

Moving on, Dia spoke about the double-standards that existed in our entertainment industry. She said that women were expected to look pretty and be professional while the men were given all sorts of leeway. However, the cherry on the cake is that no matter how tardy the actor behaved, they were paid more than the women. It’s all so infuriating. 

Also Read: #Voices: Dia Mirza And Divya Dutta Blow The Whistle On Campism In Bollywood, Say Getting Chucked Out Of Movies Was Very Unsettling.


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Dia Mirza said, “Women, for the most part, were treated like window dressing. You know, just dress up, look good, show up, say your lines and be professional. Whilst the men could come late, sometimes even drinking on set, be irresponsible be unprofessional. All of it was acceptable and they would be paid much much more than the women were.”  

I am really loving how candid Dia Mirza is. I really hope this inspires more actresses to come up front and share their stories. The thing is, there is no doubt that the Bollywood is leaving misogyny behind and moving, or shall I say crawling, towards gender equality. However, the industry still heavily influenced by patriarchy, that much is very evident.

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