By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Other ostensibly chivalrous heroes pay more lip and hip service to women in the entertainment industry than anything substantial.
Shahrukh Khan is an exception.
On International Women’s Day on Friday, King Khan would be making an announcement that would make the entertainment world sit and salute the King for his gracious conduct.
On March 8, the super star will declare to the world that henceforth in all Shahrukh Khan movies, the heroine’s name would appear ahead of him in the credit titles. It wouldn’t matter whether the leading lady is senior or junior to SRK. From this day onwards, ladies’ first in all the credit titles of King Khan’s films.
This initiative in the endeavour to give women a prominent place in the entertainment industry would be enunciated in a short film that Sharukh has shot with R. Balki for International Women’s Day.
Says Balki, “Yes, it’s absolutely true! Shahrukh will go on film this Women’s Day to declare that his heroines’ names would appear before his name in the credit titles of all his films.”
Apparently, Balki and the team behind the film came up with the idea of credit-line priority for women in Shahrukh’s film and, the superstar was game.
Says Balki appreciatively, “Shahrukh didn’t hesitate for even a second. He immediately agreed to the idea of henceforth allowing his leading ladies the right to go first in the credit titles.”
Though revolutionary in the present-day context of male-centric entertainment in Hindi cinema, the leading lady’s name appearing before the hero is not unknown.In the films starring Meena Kumari and Dharmendra, her name preceded his name in the credit titles. Some films featuring Mala Sinha with either Biswajeet or Sanjay Khan also featured the leading lady’s name first.Nanda also got first billing in her films with Shashi Kapoor and Rajesh Khanna.
However these exceptions to the patriarchal rule were made in deference to the actress’ seniority. For a leading man to agree to let his co-star’s name appear first in all his films is unprecedented and laudatory.
We salute Mr Khan for being a true feminist.