Actor Lara Dutta says the Hindi film industry is still male-driven and doesn't take women actors and producers seriously. The actor said it has been over 15 years since she joined movies and the wide-ranging conversations around pay disparity and gender inclusivity have started only recently.
"Our industry has always been male-driven and male-dominated. There have been interesting conversations that have started in the last few years, including pay disparity, more inclusion.
"But as a woman I've faced (not being taken seriously) on many different levels: as an actor and especially as a producer," Lara told PTI.
The actor, who made her debut as a producer with "Chalo Dilli" in 2011, said people in showbiz don't invest their trust in women producers, specifically when it comes to the business aspect.
"No commercial actors were producing their own films when I started. That trend caught on later and today, you have a lot more turning producer, like Anushka (Sharma), Deepika (Padukone).
But a lot of times I feel people are very happy to listen to the creative ideas that you have, but not necessarily the business side of things. So they're constantly looking over your shoulder. You face it pretty much everyday."
Lara said it was this battle with sexism was also one of the reasons why her character as a cop in Disney+ Hotstar VIP's series "Hundred" resonated with her.
"In the police force, especially the women police officers I interacted with... it's not just dealing with this kind of stuff for them. A lot of the women told us that there was no space left for any kind of femininity. The last thing we want them to say is 'oh she's grumpy because she's on her periods.'
"So they actually become like one of the guys in their thinking or mannerisms. To live like that day in and day out, I can imagine is harder than we go through," she added. While her debut web series is currently streaming, the actor said work on her production slate is also "on" amid lockdown.
"I'm an extremely hands-on producer. I love to be involved in all aspects, so for me the last one year has been super hectic. 'Hundred' was being shot for four-and-a-half months, I also launched my entrepreneurial line...
"The work on the production front is still on, a lot of the projects are being done internationally so the writing takes a lot more time there than what happens here. It's a long process of 9-10 months. So all that is in place, it's just about rolling it out systematically," she added.