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Actor Sanya Malhotra bats for nuanced representation of women on screen at IGF WomenIN Forum

Actor Sanya Malhotra bats for nuanced representation of women on screen at IGF WomenIN Forum

Bollywood star Sanya Malhotra is buoyant about the landscape for women in the Indian film industry, which has been undergoing a change for the better to create more nuanced characters for female actors.

During a session as part of the India Global Forum’s WomenIN Forum at the IGF Middle East & Africa in Dubai this week, the versatile actor shared her insights on ‘The Changing Role of Women in Cinema – Bollywood’s Coming of Age’.

She said: “Amazon is headed by a woman, Netflix is led by a woman and so many other production houses I think. I'm so glad that things are changing. There's so much sympathy and empathy that women get when they're working, which helps in a more nuanced representation of women on screen, which we really need.

“That change was needed in Bollywood. And I think these are the stories that resonate with the audience today. And we are getting the validation from the audience… these are the women that they want to see on screen.”

Asked for her tips for aspiring young actors stepping into the industry, the actor behind complex roles in films like ‘Dangal’ and the upcoming ‘Sam Bahadur’ felt they must keep challenging stereotypes.

“Embrace the opportunities that you're getting, surround yourself with supportive people and keep working on your craft,” she said.

The summit also brought other leading Indian actor-entrepreneurs to share their inspiring journeys, including Vivek Oberoi and Suniel Shetty, who is the father-in-law of Indian cricketer K.L. Rahul – married to his actor daughter Athiya Shetty.

He shared his reflections from the recent cricket World Cup, which India lost to Australia after an unbeaten record throughout the tournament: “The love, the affection that this team or sportsmen receive is unseen. I've never seen this kind of affection. I've never seen this kind of love, this kind of respect in spite of us losing.

“I think we Indians now have learned to respect sportsmen, and everything that they do for the country. So, hats off. I wouldn't say I'm glad that we lost, but I'm glad that something new, a new respect and a new love for sportsmen has come around.”

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