Women working behind the scenes in Bollywood need to be highlighted more: 'Changemakers' author Mallika Kapur

Updated on : Jan 24,2019   10:36 pm

Kolkata, Jan 24 (IANS) With gender issues taking the centre-stage in India, one must take note of those women who paved their way in Bollywood, but were not usually highlighted, journalist-cum-author Mallika Kapur said here on Thursday.

"Since Nirbhaya rape case, gender became the front and centre of the natural conversation in India," said the co-author of 'Changemakers: Twenty Women Transforming Bollywood Behind the Scenes' at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet 2019.

Kapur and her co-author Gayatri Rangachari Shah, both journalists by profession, came across the alarming statistics of the dwindling percentage of working women in the country. The figure has declined from 35 per cent in 1995 to almost 27 per cent at present.

But on the flip-side, Bollywood, that was traditionally a male-dominated club, witnessed a growth in the number, which worked as a driving force for their book, she said.

Asked about the mode of selecting these twenty women, Kapur said: "We spoke to as many people as we could, Farah Khan has been a great champion and that's how we came up with the shortlist. But it was mainly about those women whose story spoke to us and were incredible stories that we wanted to tell".

In the foreword of the book, Bollywood director Farah Khan mentioned that a picture taken on the last day of 'Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar' in 1992 (she was a choreographer) showed that in a crew of 75-80 men, she was the only woman.

Now, the male-female composition is almost 50-50, Kapur said.

Former advertising professional Juhi Chaturvedi who has earned fame for her marvellous screenplay in 'Vicky Donor' and 'Piku' is also featured in the book.

"To have a chapter dedicated meant that I had to pour out a lot about myself, tell everything as it is. But then it was more than just gathering facts as they went around and met people who knew us well enough to share a truthful opinion," Chaturvedi said.

The writers took almost one-and-a-half years and took 120 interviews to bring marvellous stories about film producer Guneet Monga, music director of 'Gangs of Wasseypur' fame Sneha Khanwalkar and many more.

The book talks about a female makeup artist (MUA) Charu Khurana who made a place for herself when a rule prevented women to work as makeup artists in Bollywood and it went unchallenged for almost 60 years.

"She actually went to the court and the case went to the Supreme Court which actually allowed women to work as MUA in India in 2014, which is very recent," the journalist-cum-author pointed out.