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The issue of media,identity and gender are being discussed all over today .They have become integral to the discipline of media studies .The media scene in India has expanded in recent times as there is a plethora of media choices available to the audience. These developments are bound to affect the manner in which media scrutinizes and cover any issue like gender being as important one. Women are major consumers of mass media and the way they are represented in media coverage is a major concern for the discipline.

Cinema has been defined to us as Entertainment, Entertainment and Entertainment. It is commercially successful not just in India but around the globe. Cinema takes the viewer to a world that is starkly different from the real one, a world which provides escape from the daily grind of life. Cinema is a popular media of mass consumption which plays a key role in molding opinions, constructing images and reinforcing dominant cultural values.

Mumbai film industry is a male dominated industry. Women pursuing careers within the industry are primarily either actresses or play back singers.This trend has changed in recent years with women making their marks as costume designers, editors, script writers, Directors, Choreographers but their numbers are still much smaller in comparison to their male counterparts. Media shows different aspects of our society. It shows the hypocorism which prevails in the society.

In David Dhawan’s Biwi no.1 (1999), the wife played by Karishma Kapoor sacrifices her career to be with her husband Salman Khan. When he strays and forges an illicit relationship with Sushmita Sen the blame is not shared equally by the two, Sushmita is demonized for the affair whereas Salman Khan is accepted back by the wife and brought back into the clichéd marriage fold. The significance of the title i.e. Biwi no.1 is because the wife is successful in bringing the husband back to the domestic arena – seen as the victory of the traditional wife over the modern mistress.Representation of women in Bollywood is presented as one-dimensional characters that are good or bad. This dichotomy was reinforced in popular films, which distinguished between the heroine and the vamp, the wife, and the other woman. The vamp is characterized as a woman who shows disrespect for tradition by emulating Western women. Furthermore, she smokes, drinks, parties and is promiscuous.

In a male-dominated industry, women are given a secondary treatment, and they will continue to be shown as glamorous barbie dolls and will perform insignificant roles. In fact, various actresses have a mentioned on many occasions that it is very difficult, nearly impossible for women-centric movies to make half as much money as the films with male superstars in them. 

Women are treated as items, edible objects, commodity in the farm of items members show piece for the promotion of the movies. Hypocrisy and double standard are shown in the cinema as well. 

In a nutshell,  India is a large country with diverse groups of people.

Women from one region differ substantially from other geographic divisions. It is not easy to homogenize the whole gender to give them one voice. They come from different backgrounds, be it socio-economic status, religion or caste, they have different kinds of ambitions and desires as a result of which they lead different lives. Ideally, different women have to be located in varied films, so as to provide them with an agency to dismantle oppressive stereotypes. Women have to be provided with strong role models who possess an individualistic identity and help female audience in negotiating a unique position within the existing power structures. Progressive cinema can become a tool for social change, a change for the better.Indian Cinema and its understanding of women ensure on whether main stream Hindi Cinema has been successful in portraying Indian women of different shades in a society dominated by patriarchal values.


Dr.Tauseef Hassan


Department of Communication English with Media Studies

Patna Women’s College, Patna

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