Superstar Amir khan today acknowledged the gender pay gap in Bollywood, saying the difference in the paycheck results from the patriarchal mindset of society, which does not see women as heroes.
The 52-year-old actor, who has been the star of some of the biggest money-spinners in Bollywood, said he “strongly believes” in equality but the change will happen only if there is a paradigm shift in society’s attitude.
“Unfortunately, what has happened that most of our stars are male. The people who draw crowd are male and it is a result of the patriarchal influence on our society.”
The actor said the children are conditioned to look at men as heroes from a young age.
“We don’t see women as heroes. We start planting these thoughts in our heads since childhood. There has to be a paradigm shift in that. I am someone who strongly believes in equality whether you are man or a woman. But ultimately in the economics of cinema anyone who pulls people in will be paid higher. There is no question about it,” Aamir said.
The actor, whose last “Dangal” had strong women characters and his upcoming “Secret Superstar” also has a teenage girl at the centre, said he would not mind his female co-actors getting a bigger pay cheque.
“Anyone who has the ability to fill seats gets bigger share in the fee. So the day she (Zaira Wasim) will be able to fill more seats then me I won’t mind her getting a bigger paycheck than mine.
“And that is not going to be determined by her gender, that is the market that will determine. As a producer, I will want her if she is benefiting my film, gender doesn’t matter. I will give her value, from a purely economical point of view.”
Aamir added that every film has only “two or three” people in the whole cast and crew, who can bring people to the theatres and that has nothing to do with the gender.
“They can be a man or a woman doesn’t matter if they can pull people in. That benefit they are brining to the film is unique to them, not anyone else. That is what we describe as stardom. That could be Salim-Javed as writers and Rahman as a music director,” he added.
Aamir also batted for equal pay for the technicians as he feels their contribution to the film is equal to that of actors.