Taapsee Pannu opens up about pay gap in the film industry

Taapsee Pannu speaks about the pay disparity that really bothers her in the film industry.
Written By Abhivyakti Seshanand | Updated: November 23, 2019 20:05 IST
Taapsee Pannu opens up about pay gap in the film industry

Recently on Neha Dhupia’s talk show, Taapsee Pannu got asked if the gender pay gap bothers her and she said “Of course it does!
She continued to answer, “When I’m paid only 5% to 10% of my heroes, of course, it bothers me. The success at the box office will make sure the next film I get paid a lot which is slowly moving towards equalizing that difference. Rules are quite unfair, not just in our industry but maybe in every other industry. Because we are here, we see it more. But the rules are different everywhere. And that’s what the fight is for, that’s what the struggle is right now, the whole issue of gender equality is that let’s make the rules equal. I’m not asking for an edge over them, I’m asking for equality.
Taapsee also said that her recent film with Bhumi Pednekar titled Saand Ki Aankh might change things. “I’m hoping with ‘Saand Ki Aankh’ and the response we are getting, it’s a step closer to that equality in one way or the other. For example, we never had a big female-led Diwali release, I don’t know when did it happen last, it was always reserved for big heroes, the clash happened between two heroes. You know, when we see a calendar and we decide a release date for a female-led film, we have to settle with leftovers, I’m not even kidding when I’m telling you that because I’ve done so many of them. We just sit on the calendar and we figure out, accha yeh din ke baad, yeh week khali pada hai, yahan pe kar lete hai. It actually happens like that, which is so disheartening because we also put an equal amount of effort if not more and our stories are also beautiful so why not get an equal chance? Just because it’s a female-led film? Is that reason enough for you to not come on a big date? Diwali we celebrate Laxmi and you know all the goddesses that we pray to, the high time someone takes the step. Maybe I win, maybe I lose, but at least I will take one step to see if I can make the difference.
Even in Badla, the actress noticed disparities on set. She had more working days and scenes than Amitabh Bachchan but the film gained recognition only because of him. “Even when I do films like ‘Badla’, I had more working days or scenes so to say than Mr. Bachchan. He was the hero of the film, I was the antagonist. But the antagonist has more presence in the film than the protagonist. But eventually the film releases, they call it an Amitabh Bachchan film. Yes, when I raise my voice and say I’ve done almost equal if not more, that’s when people recognized and started taking my name because it’s such a male-dominated industry, they don’t even realize that I might have done more work actually. They called it as Sir’s film, it won’t be called a female film regardless of the fact that I have more scenes, they will call it as Amitabh Bachchan's film and the credit will go there.” However, Taapsee concluded it by saying, “That’s why my pay will not increase as much as it will increase after ‘Saand Ki Aankh’. It hurts me to see this disparity but I’m not going to be unreasonable and ask for an equal amount of money right away, I would rather wait and do things to equalize the box office and then expect them to pay me and honestly, they will. They are happily paying me because I am sensibly raising it, not just wanting to equalize it right away but balancing it with my box office success.