Thursday, June 23, 2011

Are Tollywood Actress just Glam Dolls?

anushka female oriented roles
Everyone knows that ours is a male-dominated film industry. And even if there was ever a sliver of doubt about this fact, one of Tollywood's top directors clears the air. Recently, VV Vinayak, even while commending Tamannaah for her role in "Badrinath," said at an event, "We have been hiring lead actresses only for the songs. That is true."

Even up till the 90s, the leading ladies of Telugu cinema —Jayasudha, Jaya Prada, Sridevi, Vijayashanti and Soundarya — played key roles in films and were applauded for their performances, but slowly the image of the leading ladies started taking a beating with the emphasis shifting to the heroine's glamour quotient and dancing abilities.

"That's why the Mumbai girls are ruling the industry now," says veteran director A Kodanda Rami Reddy. "The local girls are reluctant to wear certain kind of outfits even though the character demands it. Before the film even begins, they lay down a 100 conditions. So our directors naturally look for other girls with a broader mindset. And of course, once the actresses know that they are in demand, they start throwing tantrums," he reveals.

Delving into the issue, director Jeevitha says, "It's a male-dominated industry and here the lead actors decide the story and script, because they are the ones who get the openings for a film. This is one reason why our people never take the female characters seriously. In the last few years, we had only one female-centric film and that's "Arundhati." Though Anushka proved that she can draw crowds just like a star can, she was not able to keep it going."

While a majority of films might be using their leading ladies as glam props, director Radhakrishna Jagarlamudi prefers to differ. "I don't know about others but when I am writing a story I always etch out a substantial role for the actress too. Whether it's "Gamyam" or "Vedam", in both the films Kamalinee and Anushka were given importance, and both films won many awards. Giving equal footage to both male and female leads is the secret of success of my films."

But these movies are few and are far in between. Actress Jeevitha, once a fiery actress herself, feels that the current trend of leading ladies only serving to up the movie's oomph factor needs to change. "Our filmmakers should change and start making at least a few women-oriented films among the many hero-dominated movies that they make. Earlier we had directors like K Viswanath, Dasari and Bapu who made some wonderful films that portrayed women in good light."

On a more hopeful note, she adds, "Films are part of everybody's life here in Andhra Pradesh. I hope that in the near future we get to see more women-oriented films."

Courtesy: TOI

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