Bollywood is patriarchal: Sharmila Tagore

New Delhi :Veteran actress Sharmila Tagore says though the current Bollywood actresses are getting meatier roles now, the male dominance is still visible in thesecond half of the Hindi films.

The 68-year-old National Award-winning actress said the”male gaze” has always influenced the way characters andstories shape up in the movies.

“Society is patriarchal, so film industry by definition iscertainly patriarchal. The male gaze dominated. Although, wehad lengthy roles. But, the female characters that becamepopular were the ones that sacrificed.

“Now by enlarge, I would say things have changed. Like’Piku’ for instance- a girl looking after the father- now thisconcept wasn’t there in our time. The way female charactersdress, speak and present themselves is much better then ourtime. But the second half of the film still goes towards maledominance,” Sharmila said.

The “Amar Prem” star, who ruled the era of ’60s and ’70s,said that multiplexes have introduced experimental directors. “Thanks to multiplexes there are lots of experiments goingon and we have some great directors like Sujoy, Shoojit,Dibakar. So, I think this is a very exciting time for Hindifilm industry.”

Sighting the difference between her time and the currentphase of filmmaking, Sharmila said the film industry hasbecome more systematic and the use of money is balanced now.

“Today money is in place, everything is organised, actorswork in one film at a time. We used to do four or five filmsat a time and were not able to experiment with too manythings.

“But, the heart was in the right place and everybodyworked passionately. We had wonderful directors like BimalRoy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Raj Kapoor,” she said.

Sharmila, who started her career with Satyajit Ray’sBengali film “Apur Sansar”, made a successful switch toBollywood with hits like

“Aradhana”, “An Evening in Paris”,”Mausam”, but the actress never lost touch with the regionalcinema. “In 1963, when I joined Hindi film industry it raised manyeyebrows. Given the surname that I had, and then introduced toby Ray, many thought, ‘how come she is joining Bombay films’which was thought of mindless entertainment.

“But I never ended my connection with Bengali cinema. Ikept coming back. I did ‘Nayak’, ‘Days and Nights in theForest’. My last Bengali film was three years ago. I neverwanted to lose touch with working and expressing yourself inyour own language,” she said.