Actress-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt, who is the daughter of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, says things were always equal in the house when it came to gender. However, when she entered the film industry, she realised that life was not so simple here.
Opening up on the occasion of Women's Day on Monday, Pooja told IANS: "I was very privileged to be born to parents where there were no different rules for my mother or father, and I was never given the feeling that just because I am a female child, I should not have those opinions or shouldn't lead my life like that. For me, the problem only began when I became a part of the industry and became a star."
She says that people in the industry expected her to be a certain way, which she was never okay with.
"There was a certain ‘Hindi film heroine' pattern I was meant to follow. I was like why should I do that? While that did become a point of friction between me and certain sections of the media overall most of them were good with me. There was appreciation when I did good work but there was a lot of trying to hone me and curtail me to behave in the way I was meant to behave. But I refused to be curtailed," she says.
When she started producing films, it was frowned upon. "When I wanted to become a producer, that wasn't looked upon kindly. They were like, ‘you still have so much youth on your side, milk it. Let us men make the movies', and ‘at this stage of your life, don't give up being in front of the camera'. But tell me not to do something and that is what I want to do it," she says.
However, when Pooja became a producer, she made sure to not discriminate between her male and female actors.
"I have made 10 films and all my female actors have been paid more than my male actors. And they have complained a lot about it! This has happened in films where the female characters were in pivotal roles. The role decides. You know what you need to spend where. The person who has to give more time to the film and things are riding on them, they take the fatter paycheque!" she says.
Pooja will soon be seen in the female-centric web series Bombay Begums, a story of five ambitious women, their desires and disappointments in modernday Mumbai.