India is the largest film industry, producing “unquestionably the most-seen movies in the world” (Kabir 2001: 1). Given its unique linguistic diversity, there are as many film industries as there are national languages in India. However, given their global appeal and viewership, movies made in Hindi are considered “national” cinema (Ganti 2004: 12). Indian movies made in various languages constitute probably the only national cinema that rivals the US film industry in the number of movies made. McDougall (2012: 52) is of the view that media representation is a collection of multiple smaller parts and that the summation of it denotes larger theories of ideology, collective identity and cultivation. According to Buckingham (2003: 57), “The media do not offer us a transparent window on the world but a mediated version of the world. They don’t just present reality, they re-present it.” This means that the majority of the audience accepted as true reflection of reality what is projected by the media – especially a dramatic medium like films. It is not without reason that rights activists and feminists have debated the representation of women, minorities and LGBTQ communities in mainstream movies. This paper studies the representation of women in five highest grossing Hindi and Tamil movies released between 2015-2020 using the Bechdel test. Results indicate that the gender representation across the 10 movies have similar pattern. The success of a film and representation or otherwise of women in the film have no positive correlation.
Uma Bhushan, Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, India