The unfortunate shelving of the movie ‘Heroine’ by Madhur Bhandarkar and the subsequent drama that has ensued has cemented my view that Bollywood is as misogynistic as I thought it was.
A pregnant woman is kicked out of a movie, the reason cited for that is the movie is heavily dependent on the lead actress, and she is required to be shown smoking, drinking etc, and the schedule is hectic. While it is true that pregnancy tires a woman out, it is not a disease or a condition. A pregnant woman gets as much work done as a non-pregnant one does. Also, the actress in question was not going to really smoke or drink anyway, shew as only going to act like she was, on-screen. And it is only the Indian directors that are doing this, Penelope Cruz was working on Prates of the Caribbean - 3 throughout her pregnancy, and no one kicked her out or blamed her for being pregnant. The worst part is that the said director of the movie actually blamed this actress and said he is shelving this movie for her own good and that this whole process has caused him a lot of anguish. Wah, talk about being dishonest.
Not only is it unfair to Aishwarya Rai that she is being discriminated on, she is also being blamed for the movie being canceled and the subsequent loss of jobs for hundreds of technicians, artists etc. When she signed on the movie she was given a schedule that stated that filming would be over by the end of July, which meant that she would be done with it by the time she was 5 months pregnant, and let’s face it, most women don’t even show the first 5-6 months. And while the first trimester brings with it glorious nausea and fatigue, surely there are ways to get to work in spite of that. We all have worked 8 hour days through out first trimesters, we weren’t kicked out of our jobs for being pregnant. And if Bhandarkar was so worried about Aishwarya’s health he would have made the movie but would have been extra careful about her, not just gone to the press saying she caused him anguish. Way to treat an expectant woman. If he was more worried that she would start putting on weight, and would not look the part, he should have come out and given that reason, rather than hide behind the “oh this is all for her good” wall like a coward.
While some might call her unprofessional, and I agree to an extent, it is not fair to expect a woman in her first trimester to go announcing to the whole world that she is having a baby, when most gynecologists and everyone else keeps warning her about an early miscarriage, throwing the high first trimester, first pregnancy miscarriage statistics in her face.
Finally, I feel like if the woman in question has no complaints about her working when pregnant, and when she is physically able to perform her duties, and look the part, in this case, there is no valid reason for kicking her out except that there is this huge reservation in the Indian psyche about the lack of desirability of a mother. While men can get married, have children, grow a paunch and still get roles as teenagers, women, God forbid so much as have a baby(while still looking smoking hot) are relegated to bit parts or bhabhi, ma roles. Way to kick her while she is down, Bollywood.