14 Days To A Better Bollywood Filmcity

by Aaron Finch

“Makeup is an art of illusion, masking imperfections of samsung tv hotstar, making people appear more beautiful than they are. And social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have given people permission to share these illusions as they wish.”

That’s the opening statement in a powerful piece by The New Indian Express that inspired us at Makeup to create a list of the 14 Days To A Better Bollywood Filmcity!

We wanted to literally knock off some of those beauty masking imperfections because so many Indians are beginning to feel invisible in their country’s film industry.

1. Let’s Look At The Facts

The 2014 National Study of Discrimination and Prejudice Against Asians in India, by Prayas-The Centre for Social Research has established that Bollywood is India’s most enduring form of discrimination yet. 

Our own research on Discrimination and Prejudice against Asians in India has looked at the Asian experience throughout India with a focus on the film industry. 

In 2012, Dinesh Dubey of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle said “Only 2% of the workforce is from communities from marginalized backgrounds. It [Bollywood] is where discrimination comes from”.

Discrimination and prejudice against Asians in Bollywood had been there since the genre first made its appearance in India. For example, in 1907, Umed Singh was the first Indian to enter silent cinema as a stuntman. He later became the first Asian to direct a film – albeit an American one. That was in 1915. His tryst with Bollywood was no less traumatic. When he produced and directed his film Karmpara (1918) , Bollywood producers boycotted it. This discrimination continued even after India became independent and the first Indian film with sound came in 1948.

Seventy-eight years later an Indian filmmaker, Shyam Benegal made a movie called Bhavani. He was paid literally ten times more than the leading starlet of the film – Shabana Azmi. The director went on to make another film that was also internationally acclaimed where he was again paid ten times more than the lead actress.

The prejudice against Asians in Bollywood has continued and amongst the minority communities it is prevalent. In 2014 it was revealed that nearly 19% of leading and supporting actors in 2015 were from a minority community.

Then, what are the reasons for this discrimination? One reason is that there is a perception that Chinese people are good at math, Indians at cooking and so on and therefore Indian women are not good enough to be accepted as actresses because they don’t have the skills required to be competent actors. There was also a perception that Chinese don’t do roles which require advanced acting skills. 

2. Mascara, Cheeks and Lipstick

In college, I learned that women’s makeup is a form of freedom, a way to express oneself. I reached for the mascara when my mother put on some bronze lipstick on my face; or when my sister asked me to put on some blush to look pretty. So naturally, I wanted to wear mine because it gave me confidence at the time. The makeup that I wore was not only about convincing others about what I looked like, but also about expressing myself as a woman. 

Makeup is an art of illusion and masking imperfections. Most of it is intended to make the viewer see what you want them to see.

The no-makeup face is a minimalist makeup look. You are not trying to hide anything; however, it makes up for any imperfections in your skin and hair. 

The women we spoke to for this piece were against the idea of wearing makeup as an act of westernization and wanted nothing to do with these tools used to make them appear more beautiful than they already are. 

If they are not using these tools to enhance their own beauty, then why are they using them?

3. Violence against Women and Girls

In 2008, a Parliamentary Committee found that the number of girls in India who had been pushed into marriage at a very young age was at least 7 million children.  A 2013 report by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) stated that 47% of child marriages were due to dowry demands. In 2012, over 3.2 million girls were married before the age of 18 and another 1.23 million between 18-20 years old. 

This is clearly a social problem. It is not only women who are victims of domestic violence and forced marriages, but also the girls.

4. Neeti Chandisation: A Test Case for Bollywood?

Neeti Chander has been an active member of Bollywood for a long time. She worked with award-winning director Mahesh Bhatt as well as with Amitabh Bachchan and Feroz Khan. She’s also appeared in several television shows and films after her first success, the Rituparno Ghosh film, Savitri . 

She was offered such roles because her English was good enough to carry them off well. In her own words, “I was an expat. My education was in English and I had spent time in the US and England. I was an expat and therefore a good fit for the roles”.

But then came the script she thought best suited her because it used her to its advantage. Neeti Chander (the female protagonist) is a rape victim who has fallen into this trap of westernisation

Even though Neeti Chander is better educated than most men who take up these types of roles, the women we spoke to criticized this role because that kind of victim does not have any character of her own; she simply has to stand there as a victim either by choice or by circumstance.

Leave a Comment