Gal pals

How Indian web series about women are filling a void left by Bollywood

A still from "Ladies Room."

In mainstream Indian media, women are not often portrayed having candid conversations with their gal pals, talking about unexpected pregnancies or being too broke to afford rent, all while hanging out in a bathroom. But Ladies Room isn’t mainstream Indian TV. It’s a wildly popular YouTube series created by Y Films chief Ashish Patil, who told Mashable that she wanted to do all six episodes of the first series in bathrooms, sacred spaces for women to share their personal lives, and show interesting and fun female characters. The first episode drew 1.5 million views.

The female writers on the show, Neha Kaul Mehra and Ratnabali Bhattacharjee, said they came up with script ideas based on their own lives because they didn’t see them being reflected in Bollywood movies and TV. Ladies Room is just one of the web series showing the lives of women in a new way online, including Confessions: It’s Complicated and Girl in the City, which rely on humor and realism where drama and fantasy once dominated. Facebook India has partnered with Confessions to bring it to a wider audience, and Quantico star Priyanka Chopra helped bring the sitcom It’s My City to mainstream viewers.

“Well the depiction of their friendship certainly fills a large and embarrassing gap in Hindi film and TV,” Mehra says. “The deliberate decision was we wanted to make a show that featured two women friends without falling into the cliches of ‘divine sisterhood’ or making some ceremony out of their kinship.”

Bhattarcharjee said that the web has opened up spaces for new types of storytelling. While Bollywood continues to have few female filmmakers and work off of an assumption that male stories are more compelling to audiences, the internet is making sure to fill the void, she and other creators said.

Read the full story at Mashable.

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