With over 20 years of experience in the Indian film industry, actress Sonam Kapoor has seen the industry grow and evolve over the years. During India Global Forum’s flagship UK-India Week 2023, Kapoor was seen in conversation with author, diplomat and director of The Nehru Centre, Amish Tripathi as part of the Creative Industries and Cultural Economy Summit.
“I feel there have been changes slowly but surely,” notes Kapoor, speaking on some of the positive changes and the continuing challenges.
“The pay gap is humongous, and I don’t think that will be narrowing very soon, unfortunately.”
In terms of representation in the international film industries outside of Bollywood, Kapoor feels there might still be some way to go.
“I think it has become like a token[ism] where everybody says ‘oh, we have a diverse cast’ but who is your lead [actor]? I have been represented internationally for a while now, and you are always cast as the exotic Indian girl in a film, and I don’t think that has changed much despite some strides being made.
“Diversity is a token word that needs to be explored more and taken more seriously,” remarks Kapoor.
During their conversation, Kapoor was also asked about her views on the role that the Indian film industry can play in fostering stronger cultural bonds between the UK and India.
The question comes against the backdrop of the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between the two nations, and a drive for better cultural, financial and technological ties.
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In response, Kapoor shines a light on the changes that are already underway and what more can be done going forward.
“Now international brands are taking Indian actors as brand ambassadors and are showcasing them because they realised the power of the Indian celebrity. It is interesting to see that now since the world is getting smaller, because of social media and OTT (over-the-top streaming services), the recognition is coming easier, but I feel like the international media can do more.
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*Info: UK-India Week