Women In Hindi Cinema

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The Journey of Hindi Cinema with gender perspective

In 1896, India was first exposed to motion pictures when the Lumiere Brothers ' Cinematograph showed six soundless short films on July 7th in Bombay. By 1899, Harishchandra Bhatvadekar shot two short films, which were exhibited with Edison‘s projecting kinescope. Throughout the first two decades, the trend continued with filmmakers such as Hiralal Sen and Thanawalla, Madan and Abdullah Esoofally, and others. Dada Sahib Phalke produced India 's first indigenous silent film, Raja Harishchandra, in May of 1913, which enabled the film industry to truly arise. By 1920, the Indian Cinema was becoming part of society. (Bagchi, 1996) Bollywood films emphasize tradition and family values as
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In order to understand this representation of women, one must first know the history and general themes prevalent in the Bollywood film industry, as well as the role of women in traditional Indian culture, and how both the traditional and unconventional Indian women are portrayed in films. Talking specifically about movies that centred on women, most early Indian films in the pre-independence era explored traditional culture, folk culture and mythology. These would employ foreign actresses because Indian women were hesitant to expose themselves to the camera. Though women were ubiquitous in popular cinema, they were inevitably denied depth or dimension. This could be attributed to the fact that the audience was pre dominantly male and so were the filmmakers and technicians. In the fast changing scenario of the post-independence years, the portrayal of women showed some change. The position of women in society is an important index of the progressiveness of the society in general. Cinema is a mimesis of life and thus, movies are indispensable in studying this index. Film scholars and especially those with a feminist bent have read into the portrayal of women in cinema. (Ghose, 2006) In traditional Indian society, women have only three roles: the…show more content…
Traditionally women have been reduced to a mere spectacle in the movies, pretty faces objectified for their beauty. In Indian cinema, women have been relegated to the passive position in film after film, as "bearer, not the maker of meaning", merely an appendage to the man, the wielder of power! (Mulvey, 1999:834) The change is undoubtedly slow. Still the mainstream cinema shows women as glam-dolls whose sole ambition in life is to attract the attention of accomplished males. What Budd Boeticher says about the narrative cinema in the west also applies here: "What counts is what the heroine provokes, or rather what she represents. She is the one, or rather the love or fear she inspires in the hero, or else the concern he feels for her, who makes him act the way he does, in herself the woman has not the slightest importance". (Mulvey, 1999:837) The stories played out on the screen are the men are their conflicts, their, dreams, their aspirations, their tragedies, their revenge, their desires and their heroism. The women exist only in relation to the men, as their mothers, their wives, and especially their lovers. The examples are not difficult to find- Singham, Dabaang, Gajini, Agneepath etc. The male-centric movies fully exploit women’s physical beauty and sensuality. Most of the talented actresses have to work within tighter limits, in smaller and
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