News of Bollywood beauty queens and arch rivals Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sushmita Sen possibly collaborating for a film project (SEE STORY HERE: ) got us thinking about why two heroines find it so difficult to share the limelight, and be seen in the same frame. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has allegedly shown a lot of interest in starring in the directorial debut of eccentric adman Prahlad Kakkar. Their long-standing professional rivalry notwithstanding, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sushmita Sen have no qualms about working together in this film.
Right from time immemorial, the universal understanding in the Hindi film industry is that two actresses cannot be friends, and cannot share screen space comfortably. While the men too have their share of ego tussles and insecurities, the issue seems much more pronounced in the case of the women.
In the past, multi-hero films have not only been the norm, but have also been successes. To cite a few examples in the recent past: films like Gunday, Student of The Year, Kai Po Che, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, and the Dhoom series etc have seen massive success, riding on the theme of male bonding.
To be fair, though, women centric films are now suddenly finding favour with audiences. Post the success of films like English Vinglish and Queen, the women too are coming into the limelight to tell their stories. However, the space for multi-heroine, women centric subjects are still limited.
However, the tides are surely changing, and for the better. So what if Soumik Sen’s Gulaab Gang, didn’t do as well as expected at the box office? What it did do was bring together two of the biggest heroines and arch rivals of the 1990’s- Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla. Prior to that, films like Fashion, Talaash, Cocktail, No One Killed Jessica and Barfi! come to mind, when one thinks of multi-heroine projects in the past few years.
What we wish and pray fervently for, to be honest, is a time when heroines are able to put aside their personal equations, and come together for the sake of cinema.
What will be truly enriching is when the heroines not only have the space to do author-backed roles, but also have the bravery to share screen space with their fellow actresses. Only then will a true synergy of sorts exist, where the question that is asked of a filmmaker isn’t, “How much screen time will I have?”, but “How much of an impact will my character have on the minds of the audience?” The consideration should be solely based on one’s belief in the story and the excitement level to work with a particular maker.
Not who the other heroine is, and why she has more screen time than I do.
So as off now we wish Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sushmita Sen all the best for their upcoming films!