'Turning 30' reflects changes in urban India

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Old 03-Feb-2011
'Turning 30' reflects changes in urban India

UNP ImageBollywood actresses are refusing to bow to traditional pressures of marriage and family, with a new film on the subject claiming the change in attitude reflects wider shifts in Indian society.

Turning 30, starring Purab Kohli and Gul Panag, follows a character who discovers that the end of her 20s, the loss of her job and boyfriend need not be the end of the world.

Panag said the film reflected changes in urban India. "There is definitely a change happening," she said. "I feel audiences will be able to connect instantly with the film because you see many women around you today who are independently minded."

Successful women aren't hard to find in India.

In Bollywood, 30-something actresses like Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta all enjoy huge profiles.

That is a far cry from the recent past, where an actress often found that leading roles as the winsome love interest dried up once she got married in real life or hit 30 and she was relegated to playing elder sisters or aunts.

Turning 30 director Alankrita Srivastava said her film — which one reviewer said appeared to have been influenced by Bridget Jones's Diary and Sex and the City — reflected a new breed of urban woman in India.

"The new India has a new 30s woman. She's warm, she's sexy, she's sassy. She has broken the glass ceiling, or is breaking it," she wrote in the Indian Express newspaper.

‘She loves herself'

"She's funny, she's vulnerable, she can beat any man hollow at anything under the sun. She loves herself, and she loves life. India is changing, and today's independent 30 something woman is here to live life fully. On her own terms."

But though Bollywood's women, with their designer outfits and cosmopolitan outlook, are forging their own paths, even they are not immune from traditional pressures.

Thirty-year-old Kapoor, for example, is often asked when she and long-term, live-in boyfriend Saif Ali Khan will marry and whether she will continue acting.

Rai Bachchaan, 37, a former Miss World-turned-actress who married actor Abhishek Bachchan in 2007, has had to endure gossip about when they will have children.

"Till this day many girls are being asked questions that why they are not married even after reaching 30," said Srivastava.

"But there is a slow change happening today and many girls just don't want to get hitched for the sake of getting hitched."

Her film, she says, "talks about all those issues".

For her part, Panag, 34, believes "the days of living out borrowed dreams are gone."

"I think we're finally learning to breathe a little for ourselves. And it's a great start," she said.

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