The megastar confesses that Bollywood actresses do not get equal recognition as their male colleagues
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has opened up about the gender pay gap in Hindi cinema.
In an interview with BBC after receiving an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Edinburgh, SRK confessed that the wage gap does exist in Bollywood, as in the rest of the world, and women do not get equal recognition for their hard work.
Comparing his female co-stars to male stars, he said the actresses put in a lot of effort but find it difficult to achieve the stardom that male actors like himself achieve.
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However, he was happy to add that, albeit small, steps are being taken to address this issue and though it will take long, he can envision a more egalitarian industry in the future – starting with wage equality for both genders.
“We can start with pay being equal. In our company, we believe in putting female stars’ names before the male stars’ names. These are insignificant things in comparison to what needs to be done, but having said that, when I see women working in Bollywood, or other industries, I feel there is a certain movement of equality,” he said.
He also urged young people, boys and girls, to keep working for the cause. “We need to keep on working for the same [cause], and Insha Allah all the strong young girls and boys will root for it, and will take it to its end, which is complete equality,” King Khan added.
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SRK also spoke about the personal struggles of being an actor and how it makes you lose touch with your own personality. “I feel like an entertainer 24/7, and take it as my responsibility to keep everyone entertained. I don’t know if I am acting all the time. It’s very difficult to say when 18 hours a day, you are wearing makeup, doing characters and doing lines. You kind of become very quiet from the inside – I find myself becoming more and more reclusive and quiet,” the Bollywood superstar said.
However, he adorably confesses that he does catch a glimpse of his true self when he is with his kids, saying, “The only time I’m real nowadays is when I’m around my kids. I’m still quiet around them, but it’s extremely real. So if you will ask me who is sexier, Dr Shah Rukh Khan or father Shah Rukh Khan, I will definitely say, father is sexier!”
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The down-to-earth star also said he was ‘grateful and humbled’ and debunked the idea that actors are narcissists. “I have heard many people say that actors are self-obsessed, but I think it’s contrary to that. Because if I loved myself so much, I would not want to be someone else in the morning, like Raj or Rahul,” he added.
The University of Edinburgh conferred the Degree of Doctor Honoris Causan upon Shah Rukh Khan on Thursday for his philanthropic work and contribution to film. This is King Khan’s second doctorate degree following the honorary doctorate in Arts and Culture by the University of Bedfordshire that was awarded to him in 2009.