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Bollywood Is Making More Women-Led Films, So Why Are Men Singing Most Of The Songs In Them?

Between 2000 and 2017, not much seems to have changed.

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Last month, Film Companion spoke to some top Bollywood female playback singers, and asked them why Arijit Singh has been ruling the airwaves while there haven't been as many famous female voices.

Film Companion

And they're not far from the truth. This is what the soundtrack of Dangal — a film about women — looked like:

Between 2000 and 2017, only 74 of the 1,905 mainstream Bollywood films released were led by women.

Str / AFP / Getty Images

In most of these films, most of the songs were sung by male singers.

It's great that female actors are getting meatier roles, but it's sad to know that men still get to voice their thoughts in song, thus not allowing women to control their own narratives.


We also need to address the fact that while the growing opportunities for female actors to shine are wonderful for all of us, they don't seem to have trickled down to playback singing as much.

I looked back at the last 17 years to see how many songs female playback singers actually got in women-led films. There have been a few terrible examples to prove the point:

Woh Lamhe (2006)

Vishesh Films

7 Khoon Maaf (2010)

Vishal Bharadwaj Pictures

Phir Milenge (2004)

Percept Picture Company

Queen (2014)

Phantom Films

Piku (2015)

MSM Motion Pictures

Dear Zindagi (2016)

Red Chillies Entertainment

Mary Kom (2014)

Viacom18 Motion Pictures

Kahaani (2012)

Viacom18 Motion Pictures

Dil Bole Hadippa! (2009)


However, there have also been some stellar examples worth following, like these:

Zubeidaa (2000)


Chameli (2004)

Pritish Nandy Communications

English Vinglish (2012)

Eros International

Highway (2014)

Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment

NH10 (2015)

Clean Slate Films

While the good examples are encouraging, however, it goes without saying that Bollywood can and should do better.

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