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Prakash Belawadi weighs in on the lack of strong female characters in Kannada cinema

Veteran actor Prakash Belawadi was moderating a session on women in cinema for a film society, when he shared his thoughts on the matter.

Prakash Belawadi weighs in on the lack of strong female characters in Kannada cinema
Prakash Belawadi

Last Updated: 06.37 PM, Jan 19, 2024


Veteran actor Prakash Belawadi was recently the moderator of a session on women in cinema conducted by a popular film society in Bengaluru, when he chimed in with his thoughts on why strong female characters were not being written in a majority of Kannada films.

The session had actor-filmmaker Sheetal Shetty, actor Sruthi Hariharan, filmmaker Roopa Rao in attendance and saw them discuss instances of female writers being asked to only provide inputs for the women characters in a script to the apathy of people in the industry towards the basic needs of women on a film set, like, for instance, the absence of toilet facilities for crew and junior artistes.

As an industry insider, Prakash also chimed in with his observations. The problem, says Prakash, stems from two major reasons – the first is that most heroes, irrespective of their own complexion, want to be paired with a fair young girl, for which producers tend to bring in actresses from other industries. Whether or not this actress can act is a different matter, but the main problem is that she does not know to speak Kannada.

Prakash Belawadi
Prakash Belawadi

As a result, she is given minimal lines to speak in the film, with her main responsibility being the love interest of the hero, doing the song-and-dance routine, being the damsel in distress and not much more. She has no other value add to the narrative. As such, script writers do not write good roles for women.

On the other hand, if filmmakers opt for sync sound, which 9 out of 10 Hindi films are now, you can’t take this risk. Then, says Prakash, it becomes important to have a competent artiste for the role. The problem with that is that when you have a competent actress on board, she becomes a challenge to the hero if her role is meaty. Such actresses won’t do useless roles anyway, he reasons.

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