On October 26, 2023, the most comprehensive analysis on the representation of women in Indian entertainment was published.

Filmmakers like Nikkhil Advani, Vikramaditya Motwane, Hansal Mehta, Alankrita Shrivastava, Shakun Batra, Gayatri & Pushkar, Supriya Menon, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Sudha Kongara, and Tahira Kashyap Khurrana express their support for diversity in the industry.

Prime Video released the latest edition of the O Womaniya! report, the most definitive study on female representation in Indian entertainment. Researched and curated by media consulting firm, Ormax Media, India’s leading entertainment journalism platform, and championed by Prime Video, the study evaluates the statistical journey of women in various facets of content production, marketing and corporate leadership within India’s entertainment industry.

On the back of the report, various leaders from the industry voiced their support and took pledges to improve female representation in entertainment. Alia Bhatt, who has recently won the National Film Award for a female-led film Gangubai Kathiawadi, has also turned producer with another female-forward narrative Darlings said, “I pledge to continue to promote diversity in my production projects.” Meanwhile, filmmaker Shakun Batra said, “I pledge to promote diversity in my projects and to continue collaborating with and supporting intimacy professionals to ensure sets are a safe space for all.” Tahira Kashyap Khurrana, writer, director, and author, said, “I pledge to tell women’s stories with a narrative that is unique to them.”

Supriya Yarlagadda, producer and executive director of Annapurna Studios, said, “We at Annapurna are the first studio and production house to establish an ICC in the Telugu film industry. We shall continue with our endeavour to promote diversity in our productions and include women in writer’s rooms. Our environment is constantly evolving to support more women in the workplace.” Gayatri & Pushkar, filmmakers, said, “We pledge to continue to promote diversity in our projects, to continue to include women in writer’s rooms, and to continue to follow the government-mandated PoSH guidelines and have an ICC within the organisation.” Aparna Purohit, head of Originals, India & Southeast Asia, Prime Video, pledged, “I pledge to include women in the writer’s room and to work towards at least 30% women HOD’s in all of our productions.”

This year, the report analysed 156 films and series across streaming and theatrical releases in 2022 in 8 Indian languages (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali, and Gujarati) to arrive at a comprehensive picture of the change that the industry has seen since 2021.

Along with Prime Video, the report has been supported by other partners from the industry, including Clean Slate Filmz, Emmay Entertainment, Excel Entertainment, JIO Studio, Producers Guild India, RSVP, SonyLiv, Tiger Baby, and Zee5.

Key findings of the report include:

  1. Creative Talent:Only 12% of the 780 HOD positions analyzed across key departments of direction, cinematography, editing, writing, and production design were held by women.
  2. Content:While in 2021, 55% of the properties analyzed passed the Bechdel Test1, the number has gone below the half-way mark to 47% now. Series and films like Guilty Minds, Four More Shots Please! Season 3, Delhi Crime Season 2, Maja Ma, Gangubai Kathiawadi, among others, emerged as the properties with maximum scenes to pass the Bechdel Test.
  3. Marketing:Women still get only 27% talk time2 in trailers; the number is the highest for streaming films with 33% talk time in trailers being allocated to women. Series and movies like Hush Hush, Gehraiyaan, The Fame Game, Ammu, A Thursday, Sita Ramam, among others, performed the best with at least 50% of talk time in trailers given to female leads.
  4. Corporate Talent:Of the 135 Director/ CXO positions studied across 25 top M&E firms in India, only 13% were held by women.

Sharing his thoughts on the latest findings in O Womaniya!, Shailesh Kapoor, Founder & CEO, Ormax Media said, “While there has been a slow but steady improvement in a few key parameters, the report has thrown light on the need to take a look at inclusion with a serious eye. Like the previous edition of the report, streaming continues to pave the way for female representation, however, the sub-par performance of theatrical films should serve as a wake-up call for the industry. I am glad to see the industry take note of the data and come together to pledge better representation, underscoring their genuine desire to see a positive change.”

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