In Bollywood, Five Stars Mean Nothing Without One Male Star

In maths, we were taught that five stars is greater than one star.

But in Bollywood maths, five stars mean zilch, if they aren’t accompanied by that one star - yes, the superstar.

He is the crowd-puller; the masses ka hero. What about the heroine? Ah... never mind

Because it’s the truth, “the brutal truth”, if I were to borrow female actor Taapsee Pannu’s words, who said this when she was asked about the disproportionate space given to Akshay Kumar in the poster of her movie, Mission Mangal.

"Had we, the five women actors, not been a part of this film, there would have been some impact on the collections but not that much as the content of the movie would have remained as strong as it is now. There’s already a big superstar in the film (referring to Akshay Kumar)" - Taapsee Pannu

Whether it was humility, or her cynicism, she said these words to further make her point.

"We five (actresses) being a part of it (Mission  Mangal) just makes it go higher. But the box office wouldn’t have dropped even if we were not in the film. Pick up any of our films, the five ladies, add them together and compare the collection of the opening day of all those films with an Akshay Kumar movie." - Taapsee Pannu, Actor

There you have it: five stars (and talented stars at that) just became lesser than one star. But hey, that’s just box office maths.

Leave aside the fact that the successful expedition was credited equally to ISRO’s women.

ISRO’s women scientists 

And so, just like that, the poster of Mission Mangal, a film based on the real-life story of ISRO scientists who made India’s first interplanetary expedition to Mars possible - has showed us that when it comes to representing women equally, we are still shooting for the stars!

Because even though Akshay Kumar, the super ‘star’ of the movie has reassured us that "this film belongs to these ladies and it will always belong to them,” the fact that the trailer and the movie poster are dominated by him, shows that his assertion couldn’t be further from the truth.

But being the hopeful lot that we are, we just wish that stories like this give not just the talented female actors in the movie - Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Kirti Kulhari, Nithya Menon and Taapse - but also other women in entertainment a successful launch pad!

. Read more on Gender by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsIn Bollywood, Five Stars Mean Nothing Without One Male Star . Read more on Gender by The Quint.