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Women’s representation report is a ‘wake-up call’ for Indian film and TV sectors

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A landmark report led by Ormax Media and Film Companion and backed by Amazon Prime Video has revealed an abhorrent situation in the on-screen and off-screen representation of women in India.

The report, in association with Producers Guild of India and Active Telugu Film Producers Guild, streamers Hoichoi, SonyLIV, Voot and ZEE5, and studio Clean Slate Films, Dharma Productions, Emme Entertainment, Excel Entertainment, Purple Pebble Pictures, RSVP and Sikh Entertainment, has Analyzed 150 theatrical films, streaming films and series released in 2021 in eight Indian languages.

Key findings of the report titled O Womania! 2022, includes:

• The representation of women behind the camera is low. Only 10% of Heads of Departments (HODs) in the major divisions (Production Design, Writing, Editing, Direction and Cinematography) are held by women. Of the 56 theatrical films analyzed in multiple languages, not one was directed or edited by a woman. Only 10% of senior leadership roles in media and entertainment corporations were held by women.

• Only 55% of films and series passed the Bechdel test. Women had only 25% talk time in promotional trailers, with 48 titles allocating 10 seconds or less to female characters.

• When a woman is responsible for flagging off a series or film, the percentage of female heads of departments doubles. Similarly, a higher percentage of films passed the Bechdel test (68%) and women had higher trailer talk time (35%) if the title was commissioned by a woman.

• Streaming films and series scored better than theatrical films on all parameters, indicating that the sector is beginning an ongoing shift in female representation on-screen and off-screen. The representation of female HODs in streaming films and series was five times higher than in theatrical films. Similarly, 64% of streaming series and 55% of streaming films passed the Bechdel test, while more than half of theatrical films failed. Similarly, streaming movies and series provided more talktime to female characters in trailers, with dramatic films gaining 10 percentage points and 14 percentage points, respectively.

Shailesh Kapoor, Founder-CEO, Ormax Media, said: “While it is no surprise that women are under-represented in mainstream entertainment, the degree of skewness on some key parameters like 10:90 should be a wake-up call. Streaming titles Series, in particular, are more female-inclusive in on-screen and off-screen representation, theatrical films continue to perform very poorly, and in fact, have shown no positive growth since the last report, which continued The content done covers 2019 and 2020. We hope this report will serve as a starting point for the industry to come together and discuss ways to address the apparent imbalances.”

Anupama Chopra, former Diversity contributor, and founder and editor of Film Companion, said, “The data is essential to understand how heterogeneous the gender equation is in the Indian film industry. O Womania! Provides us with a starting point for discussion and debate. We will continue to build on this momentum and hopefully follow the path of change.”

Aparna Purohit, Head of India Originals, Amazon Prime Video, said: “Streaming has given voice to more female storytellers resulting in an increase in stories that are driven by female characters with agency. At Prime Video, we have launched an inclusion policy playbook, institutionalizing certain guidelines to ensure only female representation on-screen and off-screen. These include mandatory female representation in writers’ rooms and evaluation of each script on specific parameters. I am sure that streaming is going to take the lead on diversity, equality and inclusivity in Indian entertainment.

The report was also supported by actor Vidya Balan, who starred in female-led stories in theatrical and streaming films such as “The Dirty Picture,” “Kahaani,” “Tumhari Sulu,” “Shakuntala Devi,” “Lioness” and “Jalsa.” has done. ,

Balan said: “The report indicates that we still have a lot to cover. And this can only happen if we have more women in the boardroom, who are inspiring change at the center of decision-making. As female artists in influential positions, we need to push for more female representation behind the camera so that there can also be more sensitive, authentic and relatable representation in front of it.”

Sunita Rangaswamy, an independent consultant on gender and women’s economic empowerment, provided advice on making the Indian entertainment industry more inclusive for women.

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