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Sonam Kapoor hits out at 'patriarchal society and sexism' in film industry

The Delhi 6 actress was speaking to brother Harshvardhan Kapoor in the FC Meeting Ground edition of the Film Companion when she spoke in support of female artistes.

Shriram Iyengar

Sonam Kapoor is a bold woman, and needs to be. The actress is working on an all-woman project in sister Rhea's Veerey Di Wedding along with Kareena Kapoor Khan, but does not seem at all happy with how the industry treats female artistes.

Speaking to brother Harshvardhan Kapoor about the difficulties in the industry, she said, "I've been trying to get things off the floor, with me and Kareena Kapoor, two huge stars. Kareena Kapoor has given Ki And Ka and Udta Punjab, and I've given Neerja and Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo. Let's set Prem Ratan... as a Salman Khan film. I've not had a flop since Raanjhanaa (2013). Still, as a woman in this industry, I don't get my price. I am still having difficulties getting projects off the floor, for the budgets that we need to shoot them properly." 

In the informal conversation, the siblings discussed many things, including the pressure of big debuts and the state of professionalism in the industry. Sonam Kapoor was passionate and said it was important to keep working in that direction. "We should keep working towards that day. That's what Rhea was saying, 'we are making the film, we are getting an okay enough budget, but not what we were expecting'."

She minced no words about production practices either. "I had to cut my fee, Bebo [as Kareena Kapoor Khan is known among friends and family] has to cut her fee to get this film there," she said. "The film is not as elaborate as we had imagined, which is sad and really heartbreaking. We need to work extra hard to make it look a certain way. It's a patriarchal society and there is a lot of sexism, which is disgusting."

Sonam Kapoor is not the first actress to speak out against the pay discrimination between male and female artistes. Anushka Sharma has previously said established actresses get paid less than new actors. Sonam Kapoor, too, hinted at a similar thing.

"I am not here to make money. It would be nice, but I would like my projects to get the money," she said. "For example, John Abraham and Varun Dhawan, the kind of money they got to make Dishoom is a lot more than me and Kareena Kapoor were getting to make Veerey Di Wedding. I hate to say it, but I do think Kareena and I have a wider audience, maybe as big as them... and we could do as well as them. I just think it's really, really because they are men."

But Sonam also believes the situation is changing, even if slowly. She quoted her sister, Rhea, as saying, "You guys are changing it, but you are not going to benefit from it. The generation after you is going to benefit from it. I am okay with it as long as I get to make my films."

Hopefully Harshvardhan Kapoor takes this bit of advice seriously as he gets ready for his big-screen debut with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Mirzya.