Supreme Court’s ruling that women should not be banned from doing actors’ make-up comes as a relief after decades of injustice to women in the film industry.
Bollywood has always been unabashedly male-dominated. It’s a known fact that the actresses, successful or otherwise, if they are lucky, earn about one-fourth of what the actors are paid. In this sexist industry, top male stars get profit-sharing in films, which female stars are not considered privileged enough for. Female directors are mostly indulged and expected to do small, arty kind of films and big investors shy away from investing in films that have women at the helm. Stars and filmmakers might loftily talk about introducing female-oriented subjects on the screen, but no one really seems to care about the gross inequalities off the screen. For over 59 years, no one raised their voice against the preposterous rule by the Cine Costume, Make-Up Artists and Hair Dressers’ Association that women cannot do the make-up of stars.
There was no logical explanation given for this, except a passing reference to the rights of the male make-up persons, who have been in the field for several years.
Women over the years have had to be content with dressing hair, while men hogged all the make-up assignments.
Trained make-up artist Charu Khurana finally took the legal route and it took her six years to get justice for herself and others like her. She pointed out that no profession should be based on anything other than talent and merit.
If it were not for Khurana, this gross violation of the fundamental rights of women to get equal opportunity in every field would have continued to happen. But then, as we know, Bollywood has quite a few ugly truths stuck to its underbelly.