Two Reasons why women directors don't get hired!
Our country is most popular for two things, spices and Bollywood. These two things are integral part of every Indian's value system. We indeed use spices in our food but Bollywood puts in more masala and meaning to our lives, fos sure. Indians may criticize the melodramatic content and stereotypes, but it’s hard to forgo the fact that Hindi cinema is larger than life and its a poor man's passage to fantasy. 150 bucks is all it takes to be transported out of of the harsh realities of life into a whimsical world of love and laughter.
However Bollywood today isn't so favorable to women directors. From women drivers, to women workers in the home, they are criticized and there's so much bias hurled at them. Their contribution to Bollywood has been exemplary in the past, and they seem to making strides towards good and meaningful cinema. However, according to statistics, only about 1 women director out of 11 male directors get considered for helming good content. Certain opinions still exist, here are two of them that we can highlight and hopefully change:
Firstly, the initial bias that women do parallel cinema only. As a film pundit and author Mark Harris recently tweeted, “Producers take a good small movie by a guy as a sign he's ready to step up; by a woman, it's a sign that she's found her niche.” So let's take the guy ahead and let the woman be happy in her small piece of the pie. Question is, why do women only want to helm parallel or socially beckoning subjects. Perhaps because they've faced the same biases as a child, a teenager or a adolescent. It isn't that they're a feminist, they just have a particular vision. Balki has directed Padman, however, he won't be called a feminist. A woman's perspective is always laced with a feminist tinge (association) just because she is a woman. It doesn't matter the reason for them directing mainstream cinema, their intentions are always connected to feminism. Its just a part of the package.
Secondly, women can't direct action. Also when production houses are making romantic comedies or dramas focused at women, they won’t necessarily hire women to direct those films. Imagine the barricade, then, for a woman to be hired for an action-adventure film or a superhero movie, the two genres that currently dominate the global box office. Women have to work much harder for the next film and the bigger budget. A man can make an average first film and land a subsequent film with a much larger scope and budget. A woman can make a remarkable first film that wins lots of awards, includes breakout performances, etc, and still won't be offered more so quickly. She isn't immediately trusted to deliver another remarkable film and certainly not a superhit. That's sadly the truth behind cinema.
So, what can the women do break these stereotypes? Actually, money and power are the tools that maneuver the functioning of the film industry. Women have traditionally had neither. "Lenders" (you understand what I mean in Bollywood Dons err words) that lend money for films, are notoriously conservative and when it happens to be a woman director, they become more of a Scrooge! There is a small amount of hope with the presence of women executives at key positions in production houses. Also another ray of hope is popular actresses (with money and contacts) insist on women directors helming their movies. It all gets down to woman encouraging woman to become good directors.