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Home Entertainment Film Director Pravesh Kumar wants to change the “sexist Bollywood”

Film Director Pravesh Kumar wants to change the “sexist Bollywood”

Renowned for its global appeal, Bollywood has long captured hearts with its vibrant stories and melodies. However, it hasn’t escaped criticism, often accused of perpetuating sexism and misogyny. Pravesh Kumar, a prominent figure in both film and theatre, aims to challenge these norms through his latest musical, “Frankie Goes To Bollywood.”

Drawing from his experience working in Bollywood and his upbringing in Slough, Kumar’s production sheds light on the industry’s darker aspects. Through the eyes of Frankie, a young actress from Milton Keynes seeking fame in India, audiences are confronted with the harsh realities of sexism and ageism prevalent in Bollywood. Kumar’s narrative, inspired by real-life accounts, delves into the objectification of women, the sidelining of older actresses, and the nepotism that often plagues the industry.

In crafting “Frankie Goes To Bollywood,” Kumar consciously presents a strong female lead, Frankie, symbolizing empowerment and resilience. Rejecting the notion of a superficial Bollywood spectacle, Kumar’s work serves as a platform for important dialogue and introspection. Critics have lauded the production for its wit and insight, recognizing its call for much-needed change within the industry.

Bollywood’s influence extends far beyond India’s borders, yet its portrayal of women has been widely criticized as regressive and misogynistic. Recent films like “Animal” have sparked controversy for their depiction of violence and exploitation. Despite such criticisms, Bollywood continues to thrive commercially, prompting calls for greater gender equality both on and off-screen.

Acknowledging the slow but tangible progress, industry insiders note the impact of movements like #MeToo in driving awareness and accountability. While challenges persist, there’s a growing presence of women in decision-making roles and a shift away from sexist tropes in storytelling.

For actresses like Laila Zaidi, who portrays Frankie, the journey is personal, reflecting on her own struggles with sexism and power dynamics. Through “Frankie Goes To Bollywood,” Zaidi and her colleagues hope to celebrate the richness of South Asian talent while also confronting its imperfections. By raising awareness and fostering dialogue, they aspire to catalyze meaningful change within the industry.

While strides have been made, the road to gender equality in Bollywood remains long. Documentary filmmaker Sahar Zand emphasizes the need for continued advocacy and systemic support to empower women to speak out against harassment and injustice.

“Frankie Goes To Bollywood” is currently captivating audiences at Watford Palace Theatre, set for a national tour before its London debut at Southbank Centre in July. As the spotlight shines on Bollywood’s complexities, Kumar’s musical serves as a poignant reminder of the industry’s potential for transformation.


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