Married female actors in India are less appealing because they’re “taken”, says Kajol

Kajol has a new film coming out and she’s getting tired of the word ‘ comeback’.

“Wasn’t Dilwale (2015) my comeback film? No, wait, maybe Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) was. I have made 25 comebacks. I am losing track of the number,” she says to mid-day.

In the interview, the actor shares her observations about her life as a mature, married actor in Bollywood (like her career gaps and comebacks conundrum, above) — and she really says it as it is.

When asked if she feels marriage cuts short a female actor’s ‘shelf life’, she begins by saying, “Women, female actors more so, need to be comfortable about the lives they choose. I wouldn’t want to be 16 ever again. I am prettier, smarter and better at my skill.” (Preach, sister!)

She goes on to touch on how women’s lives tend to change after marriage in desi communities: “Yes, there is no denying that longevity of female actor is a lot [less] than their male counterparts. After marriage, priorities change. Socially and personally, I am entrusted with more responsibilities, so is my partner. […] I accepted it and went ahead with everything just the way I should have.”

But about on marriage’s impact on a female actor’s career, she offered this little nugget: “In India, with female actors, what changes is how people look at them. After marriage, she is less appealing because she is ‘taken’.”

The view that married women are their husbands’ property and thus off-limits for other men is nothing new. And Bollywood, like other film industries, is guilty of objectifying its female stars. Kajol’s statement seems to suggest that most female roles are written to feed into the male audience’s fantasties. So while Kajol is discussing the dearth of opportunities for married actors, her statement also begs the question: just what is the status of any female star in Bollywood?

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