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Aditi Rao Hydari and Wamiqa Gabbi feature in Prime Video’s ‘Maitri: Female First Collective’ session

The session reflected on the challenges faced by women in the film industry in the previous decades, and the reality of the situation today, among other topics

Prime Video has released the latest session of ‘Maitri: Female First Collective’. 

The session was graced by six women professionals from Indian entertainment – from actors to contemporary producers and corporate leaders. The discussions primarily focussed on the struggles and ambitions of women in Indian cinema, evolution of these challenges, resolutions sought and processes adopted to create a more equitable and inclusive ecosystem.

The collective is an endeavour to help build a community for women from media and entertainment as a safe place for them to come forward and discuss their experiences, challenges and successes, and offer their perspective and advice on how to bring about a positive shift.

Moderated by creator and curator of Maitri, Smriti Kiran, the participants comprised Aparna Purohit, Creator – Maitri and Head of India Originals, Prime Video; Asha Parekh, Actor; Tanuja, Actor, Dipa De Motwane, Producer; Aditi Rao Hydari, Actor; and Wamiqa Gabbi, Actor.

Sharing personal stories and experiences, the participants discussed the challenges faced by women professionals in the industry, be it in films, streaming, or television – covering aspects such as conscious and unconscious biases, gender stereotyping, safety, sanitation for women and much more.

The presence of  actors – Asha Parekh and Tanuja – who have seen the industry evolve over the years, made the session even more insightful.  From touching upon the era when the term ‘superstar’ was often reserved for male actors, when very few stories and characters depicted women at the forefront, to a time and age when women have finally started speaking about the issues that matter to them, the latest session of Maitri was a holistic discussion that brought to the fore issues that concern women across all age groups.  

Actors Aditi Rao Hydari and Wamiqa Gabbi, who play lead characters in Amazon Original series Jubilee, offered their perspectives and experiences of working in the modern-day film industry. Producer Dipa De Motwane, who has been part of this industry for a long time, threw a fresh perspective on how the work situation for women in cinematography, production, technical areas of filmmaking, etc., has changed over time. She also elaborated upon the opportunities being created for female talent, in-front of, as well as behind-the-scenes, to grow and prove their mettle.

The discussion was underpinned by the respect and camaraderie the attendees demonstrated, as they collectively agreed that to power the growth of the industry, it is imperative to have more women in decision-making roles, who in turn can ensure wider and more equitable work opportunities for women across the helm, and to create an environment that is safe and secure for women to pursue their dreams unequivocally.

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