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Are things changing in Bollywood, once a place where getting married or having a child marked the end of an actress’s career?
Translated from the Hindi original by Aditi Singh Kaushik.
Many women dream of becoming a mother and starting a family. But in Bollywood, taking this decision involves a lot of thinking and deliberation for many actresses. There is a general perception in the so-called ‘glam industry’ which believes that an actress’s career comes to a full stop once she gets married or becomes a mother.
There have been many Bollywood actresses who were once adored and loved by people. Once they got married, they were no longer seen in films because they stopped receiving offers, for one. Another reason why they no longer got work is because of a stereotype common in the industry – this stereotype runs on a belief that actresses no longer seem ‘desirable’ by the audience after marriage, or becoming a mother.
This stereotyping, ingrained with the lack of offers eventually forces an actress to completely step away from the industry. Some leave by choice and some reluctantly.
There are many actresses in Bollywood who have broken this long running stereotype, and have proved that they can be a mother and have a career too. Many of these actresses have given blockbusters before their marriage, and continue to dominate the industry with their amazing acting and movies!
Let us look at some of the actresses who have broken barriers and shown people that women can start a family and still have a career!
Kajol, a superstar of the 90s, debuted with Bekhudi and went on to give amazing performances in iconic movies like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, Karan Arjun, Baazigar, and many others.
She married actor Ajay Devgn at the peak of her career. Many deemed this step of hers to be the end of her career. But, that wasn’t the case. Even after getting married and becoming a mother, Kajol continued to act in movies and proved all her critics wrong, like Helicopter Eela, Tanhaji, etc. Recently, she made her debut on OTT platform Netflix with a film titled Tribhanga.
After creating a bang in the industry with her role in Tezaab (not her first movie) Madhuri Dixit has made a mark on the industry with her fabulous acting and dancing skills, and has ruled the industry for a while at her peak.
In the late 90s when Madhuri was at the peak of her career, she decided to get married, and moved to the USA. However, this step didn’t mark a full stop to her career. She starred in many iconic movies after her marriage like Devdas, Lajja, and Gulabi Gang, thus sending a clear message to her critics that talent and skills shouldn’t be associated with a woman’s marital status.
Most of us remain in awe of Vidya’s acting skills. She married producer Siddharth Roy Kapur in 2012, and continued to be a lead actress in many movies, one of them being Mission Mangal which had a box office collection of 200 crores. She is also adored for her movies like Tumhari Sulu for which she received many accolades from critics and the industry.
Kareena Kapoor Khan
For the past many years, Kareena has succeeded in making a mark in the industry. But after marrying actor Saif Ali Khan in 2012 and giving birth to her son some years later, her career did not come to a halt.
She has made a significant impact in the industry even after, through movies like Ki and Ka, Veere Di Wedding and Good Newwz.
Rani Mukerji continues to prove her talent through her acting even after getting married to Producer Aditya Chopra in 2014. Her strong role in movies like Hichki and Mardaani are loved by critics and the viewers.
Although the narrow mindset which once ruled the industry no longer seems to affect the career of many actresses, some did have to leave their careers behind as ageism runs heavily in the industry. Traditionally, it does not seem to affect the men in the industry at all, and the only ones who are at the receiving side of ageism are the women.
Throughout their careers, the male actors are seen as ‘desirable’, no matter what age they reach. But as soon as a woman hits her late 30s and early 40s, her career is deemed to be over.
But as for other working women, marriage should no longer be equivalent to the end of an actress’s career!
The fact that many actresses like Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai, and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja continue to work and receive film offers after getting married does not only signify a change in the mindset of Bollywood but also marks a change in the mindset of our society as well.
If only this change in the mindset had came a long time ago, many talented actresses would not have had to resort to leaving their careers behind reluctantly.
Image source: utsavpedia
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