Here we go again. As if there wasn’t enough online about the manifestation of patriarchy in the entertainment industry (ahem, Weinstein, ahem), here’s another piece of news we wish we could say is shocking. In reality, the fact that a reporter asked Vidya Balan about her plans of weightloss only angers us, but doesn’t surprise us.
Vidya Balan has been promoting her upcoming film Tumhaari Sulu for a while now, and she was at a press conference when a reporter decided to ask her questions that can only be described as ignorant.
Here’s a lowdown.
Reporter: “Whatever movies we’ve seen of you so far has been ‘women-centric’. From now on, will we see you in more such films, or have you thought about weightloss?”
Vidya Balan: “What’s the relationship between ‘women-centric’ and weightloss?”
Reporter: “… no, I mean, glamorous roles…”
Vidya laughs some more
Vidya Balan: “No, I’m very happy with the kinds of roles I am doing. It would be great if you could change your mindset.”
There are several things wrong with the above exchange.
But let’s start with the most glaring one — the otherising of films centered around women need to stop now. When you refer to a film that has a female protagonist, or a number of female characters, as “women-centric”, the implication is that male protagonists or male-dominated stories are the norm.
Sure, male stars have higher footfalls and arguably see a much heightened level of fandom, but, if anything, Vidya Balan is the exception to this rule. She was once called the Fourth Khan — due to her sheer popularity with films such as Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Kahaani and The Dirty Picture.
Secondly, in which universe is “women-centric” and “glamorous” mutually exclusive? Somebody show this reporter the video of Vidya, Malishka and Neha Dhupia dancing unabashedly, and rather glamorously, to Hawa Hawai.
Thirdly, consent and choice make all the difference here (even if you argue said reporter is merely naive and unaware, and not sexist). Whether Vidya Balan chooses to lose weight, or put on weight, or do glamorous roles is her prerogative. As journalists, we can ask her questions, sure, but to put a mike on someone’s face and ask them about weightloss is just plain insensitive.
Sadly, Youtube commenters seem to have a whole other point of view.
All we have to say is, you do you, Vidya. More power to you.
This is a Vidya Balan appreciation tweet. Finally a realistic looking, 30-something leading actress. #TumhaariSulu
— Swetha (@_swethar_) October 15, 2017