Gender inequality in Hindi Cinema

Note-The following research does not include the data from the year 2009 and takes only Hindi films into account.

When was the last time a female won the Filmfare Award for Best Director (Hindi feature film) in India? The answer is — once, in 2012. In the history of more than 100 years old Hindi film industry, Zoya Akhtar alone was able to seize this honor (for ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’) in an award show which is organized- yearly. Though, of course, Filmfare Awards were only introduced in 1954, the percentage is, still, quite dismal. (Aparna Sen has been the only woman in India to have won National Award for direction- two- in the years 1981 and 2002. But both of her films were in English.)

What could be the reason for such few of our women shining at the award shows? Do we not have good enough female directors in India? Or, do we not have enough female directors in India? The statistics seem to answer the latter query more convincingly.

In a heavily lopsided(in every possible sense) Hindi Film Industry, there haven’t been too many women behind the camera. If we take into account Hindi films which have been produced in Mumbai in the last ten years (excluding the year 2009), we notice a very tiny percentage of them been directed by women.

Percentage of films directed by women in the past decade.

Note that in none of the years, the graph went above 10 percent. That means, in no year more than ten percent of the films were directed by women. We see the graph going as low as 1 percent as well. One has to remember that Hindi film industry releases around 125 films every year on an average.

Interestingly, the other graph shows the brutal mathematics of gender inequality in Hindi film industry more starkly.

Comparison of Male and Female directed films in the past decade.

The above graph is no less than an eye sore. More so as there seems to be no sign of improvement over the years.

While we see an active involvement of women in the field of acting, very few are seen behind the camera. Is it because a female director doesn’t really attract the crowd of cinema-goers? Or, are they not dependable enough? Or, are the producers unwilling? Or, are women and/or society made to grow up valuing only the female physicality (so more women towards acting.)?

Whatever the reason is, we find a not so improving, if not downtrend, the picture of directorial association of women with a piece of cinema every year. Not to talk about women into other different cinematic fields- screenplay, cinematography, and editing. Finger-countable!