By Vandana Bansal
There was a period when only a few female voices could be spotted in the Bollywood music fraternity. However, today the music industry has a remarkable presence of female singers. But does this representation also mean opportunity? Or despite increasing participation the absence of their voices can be felt? A recent study of more than 24000 Bollywood songs revealed that the share of songs sung by women is constantly on a decline. While some say the female voices have been reduced to a few item numbers, others think it’s not as bleak as it seems. Who else is a better judge than female artists themselves? Here are their insights about ‘Is the presence of female singers fading in Bollywood?’
We can’t deny the fact that today, even female centric movies are given male playback voices. But times are changing, we have a way to go about independently and thus, no bollywood biggies become a peril. Indie music definitely gives a lot of hope as there it’s about your hardwork and not what sex you belong to. However, Bollywood still needs more time to go gender neutral. There are times when you have to share a female oriented song with a male singer who probably has a bigger name in the industry and gradually the entire credit of the song gets transferred to him. He’s the one who’s suddenly in the limelight and it does make a difference. Nowadays, social media has been an equalizer. We can connect with great artists but again as a woman you have to make conscious efforts and always be watchful. But if you ask me if the female voices are fading, I don’t think they are! We are not from the generation who will be naïve and quiet. It’s not possible to push us down; we have the audacity to speak for ourselves and push back to get what’s ours. I don’t believe in male bashing, some men in industry are fantastic but it takes a little more than hardwork if you are a woman. I hope representation of women will slowly and surely change.
Yes, without doubt the Presence of Women Singers is fading in Bollywood. If you see the Films that were released last year in 2019 & early 2020, there were many films having Women based scripts like Zoya Factor, Mardaani 2, Ek Ladki ko Dekha Toh Aesa Laga, The Sky is Pink, Chappak etc but out of an average of 4-5 songs in the film, there would be just one Female playback song or maybe none. It is a sad scenario but as we all know, that’s the call taken by Producers and Actors of the Film as they need to safeguard their Returns. Well I feel it’s high time…Now Independent Music needs a Proper Comeback. Music Companies should come forward and Work with Talented and Deserving Artists and Promote Independent music like in the earlier days. If Artists be it Male or Female Present Good Music that gets Good Promotion and Proper Distribution by Music Companies, the Lovely Musical Era will be back again!
Since most Bollywood movies are ‘Hero’ centric and glorify male characters, the male playback voices are preferred. Only a few movies which empower female characters and are ‘female centric’ can be witnessed. To name a few the recent ones are Manikarnika and Thappad. However, there still is the presence of Female playback voices quite prominent in the current scenario. Female singers like Neha Kakkar, Jonita Gandhi and many more are quite popular and receive a lot of love and acceptance for their playback singing in Bollywood.