Actor-producer Dia Mirza feels there is a need to “redefine” the concept of perfection in the film industry when it comes to female stars.
“With films being a visual medium with huge money riding on the outcome, what becomes impossible to escape are the prescribed ideas of what ‘works’ for directors/producers or the medium at large.
“I think it is most embarrassing that as an industry we are so obsessed with making our women fit into a prototype,” Dia said.
“Having said that, I also think, it is the women who stand up for themselves and defy this diktat who will eventually help change this attitude. The audiences and the fashion/film industry will also then have to redefine their concept of ‘perfection’. But we are a long way off from getting there,” she added.
There might be a gender divide in the industry if one talks about pay scale. But when it comes to body shaming or putting stars into this ‘perfect’ mould, there is no gender discrimination.
If women like Vidya Balan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonakshi Sinha, Parineeti Chopra and Zareen Khan were body shamed, so were men like Fardeen Khan and Arjun Kapoor.
Dia made her Bollywood foray with Rehnaa Hai Tere Dil Mein, and went on to work in several films like Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge, Tumsa Nahin Dekha - A Love Story, Parineeta, Dus and Lage Raho Munnabhai.
The actor, who won the coveted Miss Asia Pacific title in 2000 when she was a teenager, is now associated with several social issues, and is busy with her production house. Dia and her husband Sahil Sangha have their own production house Born Free Entertainment. They have produced films like Love Breakups Zindagi and Bobby Jasoos.
There was a time when it was believed that there is no place for married actors in Bollywood.
Dia feels that “the perception has changed because married women have defied that”. She said, “The idea that only single women can work in films is deeply hinged on the concept that only single women are attractive to male audiences. And only an audience that is attracted to actors, drives numbers at the box office.
There was a time when many women in the 1990s distanced themselves from film work after marriage.
“Which is why perhaps this stereotype was formed. But if we look further back to the era of Sharmila Tagore, Shabana Azmi and many other great female actors they were all married and working actors. So today, again it has taken the individual choice that women have made in shattering this stereotype.”