Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Bollywood mindset has to change’ – Esha Gupta talks about pay gap in the industry

Esha GuptaEsha Gupta entered Bollywood a few years after she was crowned Miss India International in 2007. After appearing in Bollywood films like Total Dhaamal and Rustom, Gupta has become a household name in India.

The 33-year-old actress and self-confessed Arsenal fan was recently at the centre of a controversy, when she shared racist remarks about Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi on her Instagram account. She apologised for the remark but the story was already picked up by every British tabloid.

Moving on from the incident, she has been focusing on her upcoming web series and during a tête-à-tête with BollyNewsUK she opened up about her work and more.

You’re selective with the projects you do in Bollywood. What do you look for in films?
It has to be either a full on commercial film or a great story. If actors start considering films as a ‘business’ then the passion vanishes.

Web series have become a hit in India – is that something that interests you especially since you can reach a global audience with the content?
We need to change with time. I believe web will take over India in a few years as it has more to offer and diverse content for everyone. Personally, all of the shows I watch are online and I’m going to be working on a web series soon too.

You have portrayed various roles: what kind of characters excite you the most?
I absolutely love era films. Rustom was set in the 60s and Badshaho was 70s. I’d love to do more era films as love the feel of such film.

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📸 @savleenmanchanda

A post shared by Esha Gupta (@egupta) on

There is still a huge gender pay gap worldwide in every field, although it has been improving for women in some sectors. Bollywood still has to catch up. What’s your take on this issue?
The fact that we are still discussing it, means it still exists. In my own case, I see how actors who’ve done lesser work and fewer films than me, getting paid more. In our industry, men have been given an image of being powerful like everything is riding on their shoulders. This mind set in Bollywood needs to stop now.

India is often in the news for some the crimes that people commit. You are playing a crime branch officer in your next film. How did you prepare for the role? Was it difficult to get in/out of character?
I had to learn a Haryanvi accent for my role. I’ve had extensive training for so that it seems natural. The body language was one thing I had to work on as well.

What else can we expect from you now?
I’m really excited about my web series now.

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