Kannada film heroines crying for help

Since there is no longevity of female stars, the will to challenge the status quo and transform the current environment for a better tomorrow is lacking in the industry.

First it was Aindrita Ray, who was crying on television accusing a veteran director of slapping her and touching her inappropriately. Then it was a seasoned and veteran actress Ramya, weeping on small screen to get her money from a producer who had not paid her dues.

Then it was another super actress, Pooja Gandhi who threatened to take a producer to court and complained about harassment and threats to her life from another person in the industry. And more recently Nikitha Thukral, although was not seen crying in public, must have shed plenty of tears in private after receiving a ban from the Karnataka Film Producers Association for an alleged real life love triangle.

Aindrita Ray. Pic Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

In the last one and a half years, heroines of Kannada film industry have been emotive in public, crying for help on television for the injustice meted out to them in their work environment. Time and again their calls for changes in the functioning of industry have gone unheeded and their voices have been silenced by the powerful. Hence problems remain unresolved and the film industry merrily chugs along with business as usual.

Part of the problem with the industry is the prevailing unprofessionalism. Unfortunately the solution rests with industry insiders and there is little that outsiders can do to resolve or even help.

According to many knowledgeable people, Kannada film industry is extremely unprofessional with no contracts handed out to actors. Artists are not paid the entire amount promised by the producers at the beginning of a film project. Mostly they are paid in cash depending on the success of the film. Besides associations representing interests of various sections of the industry are riddled with conflicts of interests.

Since there is no longevity of female stars, the will to challenge the status quo and transform the current environment for a better tomorrow is lacking in the industry.

Can the government do something to improve the work environment in the Kannada film industry? The popularity of actors along with the clout of the industry amongst politicians ensures that government is unlikely to interfere with the working of film industry.

The National Commission for Women is a toothless body that is afraid to take on the powerful. The only option available for the industry women is to unite and wage a battle similar to the women of "Pink Chaddi" campaign. Women of that campaign showed extraordinary unity and skill in organising a successful internet campaign to put an end to the malicious intentions of the likes of Pramod Muthalik and his ilk.

Are the women in Kannada film industry ready to launch such a campaign against discrimination and unprofessionalism? Many aspiring women Kannada stars are not here to stay. If they are successful, they go on to greener pastures and want to hog the limelight in kollywood or tollywood and eventually bollywood. And if they fail they just go home. Hence there is no incentive amongst the leading ladies to unite and fight the system.

Eventually the hope for Kannada film industry is that some leading lady will have the courage and leadership to form a united front that forces reforms on the industry. Till that day, we are likely to see more heroines crying for help.

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