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All male Bollywood panel at meeting with Modi draws flak

The meeting of a delegation of the Hindi film industry with Prime Minister Narendra Modi came under fire on Wednesday for its exclusion of female representation with some activists and filmmakers pointing out that it was 2018 and asking, “Where are the women?”

On Tuesday, an 18-member panel, including Karan Johar, Ajay Devgn, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Akshay Kumar, Ritesh Sidhwani and CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi, met the Prime Minister to discuss how to take the entertainment industry to the next stage.

No woman was part of the “Panel” representing an industry where women play a pivotal role not just as actors but also as directors, producers and writers, a female producer said.

It was a year when skewed gender politics in the workplace, including in the entertainment industry, became a topic of heated debate with India being hit by its own #MeToo tsunami that swept away some big names, she said asking not to be named.

“Where are the women of the industry?” tweeted #MeToo India’s Twitter handle.

Director Leena Yadav, whose latest film “Rajma Chawal” has just released on Netflix, said it is sad that female voices are being ignored, especially when the ticket window has been tremendously responsive to women directors.

“They are ignoring what is happening at the box office vis-a-vis women directors and their films and ignoring them is sad and it is not only sad but being very unaware in today’s world and regressive in today’s world. So that is really sad,” Yadav told agencies.

But the filmmaker, who has earlier made “Shabd” and “Parched”, said she refuses to feel sorry for herself or sidelined.

“I can feel offended by it but it doesn’t affect me to that level as it does not wipe out my existence. I feel sorry for them rather than for myself,” she said.

Alankrita Shrivastava of “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, which was well received by critics and audiences, also spoke out.

“Would be great to have female representation in these delegations. It is 2018,” she wrote on Twitter.

 

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