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Was the PM's Meeting an All Male Delegation of Bollywood Producers Patriarchal?

Netizens and women filmmakers are not reacting favourably.

What started out as meeting between Bollywood and the Prime Minister has ended up sparking a debate about the equal representation of women.

A delegation of Hindi film industry met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mumbai on Tuesday. Bollywood actors, producers, and CEOs of companies met the PM and discussed various issues, but people were quick to notice that all photos from the event showed that not a single woman was present. The Prime Minister had tweeted the images and said, “Had an extensive and fruitful interaction with a delegation from the film and entertainment industry.” 

The delegation pitched for lower, and uniform rates of GST, for the entertainment industry in India and called for the development of Mumbai as the global entertainment capital through various initiatives. Though this is a meaningful and necessary discussion, it seems to have been overshadowed by the one point that everyone is noticing, i.e. 18 men and 0 women were present.

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There were 18 men in the photo, including Maharashtra's Chief Minister, actor Akshay Kumar, Amir Khan, Karan Johar and others. The photo prompted comments from female filmmakers to fans, many of whom asked why female actors and directors were kept away. Others were quick to highlight that a similar meeting with the Prime Minister took place earlier, and the delegation from Bollywood was all-male at the time as well. While some slammed representatives from the Hindi film industry and said they were ‘tone-deaf’, others said it was insulting to female stars who contribute equally, but get paid less. Here are some of the comments, starting with filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava of Lipstick under my Burkha fame.

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The comments on Twitter ranged from using humour to being downright offended, with some even calling out the actor Akshay Kumar who was present and other's questioned why issues such as the #MeTooIndia movement was not being discussed. The one thing that is clear from these reactions is that the days of patriarchy are now over, and women in every profession will and must have equal representation. We look forward to seeing a quorum at the the next such discussion, where women will also get to have their equal say, don't you?