Bollywood's pay disparity is not a secret. And after years of battling for it, Deepika Padukone's stance for equal pay has put yet another film in the spotlight.
According to reports, Ranveer Singh has been cast in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next film, Baiju Bawra and Deepika was being considered for the same, opposite her co-star and husband. However, she was dropped because she wanted to be paid what she deserves.
Apparently, Deepika wants the same remuneration as her husband. Not a penny more, not a penny less.
- a source told Bollywood Hungama
However, Sanjay Leela Bhansali “regretfully turned down her request for pay parity," stated the report - if true, is this a normal decision for filmmakers to take? To drop female actors who demand to be paid as much as their male co-stars?
Deepika has been actively advocating for an equal pay for years now. Ever since Padmaavat, where she charged Rs 12 crore for her role and cemented her position as the top-paid female actor in the industry. But this still doesn't stand anywhere near Shah Rukh Khan, who is the highest-paid male actor, and has charged Rs 100 crore for a film.
I know my track record and what I'm worth. I know that his films haven't been doing well as my films have been doing. It made absolutely no sense. I was okay to say no to that film based on that one thing, as I thought it was unfair.
- Deepika Padukone
Deepika's statements have paved the way for many other actors, who are speaking up about how little they have been paid, even in films that revolve around their characters. Kareena Kapoor Khan, who recently was reported to ask Rs 12 crores for her role of Sita, received a lot of hate for simply demanding the pay she deserved, but why was it such a big deal? According to what Taapsee Pannu revealed to Neha Dhupia on her podcast No Filter Neha, she is paid 5-10% of what her male leads are paid, a startling low sum for the movies she works hard on.
This important conversation has time and again drowned out in headlines, but Deepika's firm stance on equal pay is something that everyone should take notice of. She, along with many actresses are now demanding their right to be pid what they deserve. And this isn't exclusive to women in Bollywood, women across sectors are made to feel guilty/or why do they have to ‘face consequences’ of asking to be paid more.