Lives of film actresses have suddenly become a favoured content in the world of cinema. It is good that the film fraternity has started taking interest in the profession and has turned the focus inwards to look into the manner in which the profession is constructed. HEROINE is the latest attempt in this direction, which tries to look into the profession and its various nuances through the eyes of an actress, Kareena Kapoor playing the role of the actress.
Just a year ago, DIRTY PICTURE had also picked up the same theme and it had become one of the surprise hits. RAAZ 3 was also a film where an actress in the form of Bipasha Basu when she started ageing has been shown to take recourse to exposure as also resorting to witchcraft to exorcise her competitor. If one were to go back into history, a film that comes into mind, which had used the subject matter of a heroine as the content, ABHINETRI, starring Hema Malini would come into mind. It was followed by Shyam Benegal's BHOOMIKA.
Apart from ABHINETRI which underlined the struggle of the film actress to make her mark, be it BHOOMIKA, THE DIRTY PICTURE or HEROINE, more so THE DIRTY PICTURE and BHOOMIKA have tried to drive home the point that a female actress cannot make her mark in the world of Hindi cinema until and unless she allows the exploitation of her body to make her mark. Besides, it is also coupled with her portrayal on the screen as an entity that does not have gumption, or rather does not think twice about smoking, drinking and choosing men to promote her career.
These stereotyped projections underline and sort of drive home the point that if you are an outsider, and do not belong to the industry to make your mark you have to sleep around, follow a bohemian life style and always take recourse to machinations to survive in the industry, as it has been underlined in HEROINE.
Does putting a HEROINE in a negative light, or driving home the point that the path of success for a HEROINE cannot be rose laden, until she comprises left, right and centre also a sort of male chauvinist approach to the nuance? It seems more likely the case that there is a gendered bias guided by the perception that a female trying to make her mark cannot do so, unless she compromises.
These kind of portrayals underline the nuance that is prevalent since ages that the world of cinema is not the place for girls who do not belong to the industry and willy-nilly they have to compromise. May be, someday, some HEROINE who has hung her boots or even otherwise would try to dispel the notion, till then it seems that the view would continue to be perpetuated that a HEROINE can become a HEROINE only if she compromises left, right and centre.