After Anupama Chopra opened a can of worms about sexism in the stand-up comic industry with her last roundtable, she has pulled something similar with female Bollywood playback singers.  

In a video posted by Film Companion, Anupama Chopra sat down with leading playback singers Neeti Mohan, Jonita Gandhi, Aditi Singh Sharma and Neha Bhasin, and asked them this very important question: 

It was welcomed with a “Thank you” from Neha Bhasin, clearly acknowledging the absurdity of the world we live in. Out came all the demons of how underrepresented female songs are in Bollywood. 

Neeti Mohan without any hesitation pointed out the lack of opportunities.

Aditi Singh Sharma pointed out the number of songs that they generally get to sing on any conventional album of a mainstream Bollywood film. 

Neha Bhasin expressed her ire towards songs which are called ‘duets’ but where the female singers have only a couple of lines or an alaap in the middle. 

Jonita Gandhi found it amusing how the female singers were ‘accommodated’ into a song and how there was no consideration for their vocal range most of the time.

Bhasin stressed upon the fact that it was Bollywood’s wholesome culture of treating its heroines as second-class citizens that has trickled down to female playback singers. 

You can watch the whole video here. 

Obviously the whole culture of Bollywood and India will need to change before things like these can be turned upside-down. And a lot of little things will have to be set straight, before female playback singers get their due.

This thought-provoking exchange between some of the finest talent from the industry, around gender politics in an industry as big as Bollywood, raises several important questions. And it is heartening to see that we are finally talking about these things.