"Had we, the five women actors, not been a part of this film, there would have been some impact on the collections but not that much as the content of the movie would have remained as strong as it is now. There’s already a big superstar in the film," says Taapsee Panu, referring to her co-star Akshay Kumar. Calling a spade a spade, one can see the truth in her statement in the very poster of her recent film, Mission Mangal.
Though the mission belonged to the women, it actually belongs to men.
Mission Mangal is based on the real-life story of ISRO scientists who helped made India’s first interplanetary expedition to Mars a success and while ISRO honored these women and their work on this mission, Bollywood still continues to say that though the mission belonged to the women, it actually belongs to men. Also starring Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Kirti Kulhari, Nithya Menon and Taapse Panu, the poster said it all since the one male star was given maximum space on it, despite the film being about women. Now back in the US, when Hidden Figures released in cinemas, imagine if Kevin Costner dominated film posters rather than Taraji Henson, Janelle Monae, and Octavia Spencer. How much sense would that have made? Costner did not make the movie poster. Panu also added that "We five being a part of it just makes it go higher. But the box office wouldn't have dropped even if we were not in the film. Pick up any of our films, the five ladies, add them together and compare the collection of the opening day of all those films with an Akshay Kumar movie..."
You don't have to be a man in order to be a hero
A majority of female-centric films in Bollywood have not been weel-accepted by the masses because they do not feature any of the typical "heroes" of the industry, however, actors like Taapse Panu is proving that you don't have to be a man in order to be a hero. While this change of mindset cannot take place overnight in the eyes of audiences as well as the industry, there is definitely a market in India for female-driven cinema. In addition to this, the release of this film also brought up the issues of the gender wage gap in the industry because the entire budget of a female-driven film is usually what a single male star earns on average. However, there is a lot that goes behind how much stars earn and actors should get paid for their talent rather than their which chromosomes they have; movie posters do speak a lot though.
Image credit: Koimoi