Age bar for Women in Bollywood, broken by OTT

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With the rising supremacy of digital platforms in Indian households, it is also breaking the stereotypes through its quality content.  

For years the entertainment industry of India has often rejected actresses in their mid-thirties, giving the tag of “too old”.  

Thanks to the rise in OTT platforms, the age factor seen in India’s entertainment industry is gradually melting away.  

The industry is now embracing middle-aged female actors in leading roles and is transitioning from the age-and-appearance-centric paradigm it has relied on in the past.  

Mainstream filmmakers offer older female actors with supporting roles as they are still hesitant to cast them in leading roles.  

While the digital streaming platforms are increasingly exploring different storylines that can accommodate them as the protagonist.  

For instance, Netflix’s Aranyak features Raveena Tandon, Pooja Bhatt’s Bombay Begums, Neena Gupta in Amazon Prime’s Panchayat, and Disney Hotstar’s Aarya features Sushmita Sen.  

With the release of Netflix’s Finding Anamika starring Madhuri Dixit, and Amazon’s Hush Hush featuring Juhi Chawla and Ayesha Jhulka, the trend is catching on.  

The digital platforms have also given rise to all-female crews to lead the projects.  

In an interview, Tisca Chopra said that there aren’t many roles for older women, they are either monotonous or not challenging.  

She believes that an actor’s prime is only in their 30’s and that is when you begin considering options of collaborating with like-minded people.  

Aparna Purohit, head of India originals, Amazon Prime Video India says, “The power of OTT ushered in a new era of entertainment.”  

Where true diversity reflects in the kind of unique, unconventional character arcs that female actors today are portraying, she added.  

In the last few years, digital platforms have made enormous progress in shattering the traditional glass ceiling of classifying a character based on gender or age.  

Purohit also stated that Amazon Prime is working on a series of stories in which female characters have agency and are not stereotyped on any basis.  

A Netflix representative said that streaming allows them to tell more diverse stories with unique perspectives than ever before and could explore different characters in greater depth.  

The spokesperson further added, “This golden age of entertainment in India has inspired more women storytellers to come forward.”  

And encouraged them to tell more women-centric stories that ignite conversations about evolving the role of women, not only in entertainment but in the world too.  

Rohit Jain, MD of Lionsgate South Asia says the entertainment industry has a gender imbalance with minimal on or off-screen female representation generally.  

The mainstream films had certain storylines which preferred male superstars but today’s audience prefers edgy content with bold storylines.  

He concluded by saying it’s high time to promote talent and scripts that are gender-neutral

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