The discussion of gender pay gap in Bollywood has been around for many decades now. While the film fraternity is hoping for a paradigm shift to this society's patriarchal attitude, film critic Rajeev Masand sparked a debate on the issue when an entertainment portal quoted Priyanka Chopra reportedly charging Rs 5 crore for her 5-minute performance at the upcoming Zee Cine Awards as 'shocking.'
Rajeev Masand, who is quite active on social media, took notice of the article and expressed his displeasure of how it surprises people when a female actor charges a hefty amount for her performance in contrast to their male counterparts.
"Why is this SHOCKING? About time the women got paid as much as men! It's this regressive attitude that's got to change," Rajeev Masand reacted on Twitter.
However, film distributor Akshay Rathi agreed to disagree with Rajeev's views and said that an actor gets higher remunerations depending upon his face value pointing out that the pay gap in Bollywood is not gender specific.
"It's not about the gender Rajeev. The ability to draw an audience is the only factor that determines a star's fee. Aren't Deepika & Priyanka paid more than Irrfan, Pulkit Samrat etc? Let's not turn every issue into a war of the sexes please!" Akshay replied.
It’s not about the gender Rajeev. The ability to draw an audience is the only factor that determines a star’s fee. Aren’t Deepika & Priyanka paid more than Irrfan, Pulkit Samrat etc? Let’s not turn every issue into a war of the sexes please!— Akshaye Rathi (@akshayerathi) December 16, 2017
Rajeev escalated the debate and said, "Akshaye, it IS a gender issue. They wouldn't have used that word if it was a male star. And we're talking abt a dance performance at an awards show. I think Priyanka is as good if not better than male stars as a live performer. Why should she not be paid as much?"
"Not talking about the headline RM. I'm talking about the pay scales! A Salman Khan can charge what he does because his face on a movie poster ensures solid numbers! An Aayushman Khurana can't because his presence in a film doesn't! As simple as that!" Akshay replied.
Rajeev, however, tried to point out that it is a huge sociological problem and not just in Bollywood.
"Not sure 280 characters are enough to explain how deep rooted this problem is. It's never been an even playing field, always been tilted in favor of men. This is not a Bollywood problem, this is a huge sociological problem. The biases are appalling and need to be addressed," he tweeted.
Akshay seconded his thoughts, but begged to differ while talking about the pay scale in Bollywood.
"In terms of the way people are treated, approached professionally & looked at - YES. In terms of the pay scale, the bigger star (irrespective of the gender) will take the bigger paycheck I guess. Must agree to disagree here. :-) P.S - Looking forward to the director's roundtable!" he replied.
Rajeev stuck to his views and said that the playing field should be even to employ the flawed pay scale metrics.
"In a perfect world, one determines who is bigger than whom when the playing field is even. Thats not the case in the film business. And most businesses to be honest. Till then I suppose these flawed metrics will be employed," Rajeev tweeted.
To which Akshay replied saying, "Guess we have progressed as a society to see that happen & so, we have an Indira Nooyi, a Chanda Kocchar & a Priyanka Chopra! Alia Bhatt got the same launchpad as Siddharth Malhotra did & she is a bigger crowd puller today!"
Whom do you agree with? Rajeev Masand or Akshay Rathi? Do let us know in the comments section.