"They only wanted a virgin who had not kissed."
Bollywood actress Mahima Chaudhry is not one to shy away from difficult topics as she is known to regularly talk about her industry experience.
Mahima claimed that Bollywood as a whole used to favour female actresses who were single and had not kissed anyone.
The actress also said that the film industry was “far more male dominant” than it is now.
Mahima said: “I think the industry is getting to a position where female actors are also calling the shots.
“They get better parts, better pay, endorsements, they’re at a great and much powerful position.
“They have a longer shelf life than before.”
Mahima began her career in 1997 with the film Pardes alongside Shah Rukh Khan, for which she won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut.
The actress revealed that her relationship status often had a direct impact on her professional life and the opportunities that came her way.
Mahima said: “The minute you started dating someone, people would write you off because they only wanted a virgin who had not kissed.
“If you were dating someone, it was like, ‘Oh! She’s dating!’.
“If you were married, then forget it, your career was over, and if you had a child, it was like absolutely over.”
Comparing her experience to actors Govinda and Aamir Khan, Mahima said:
“Even when Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak came, we didn’t know he was married, same for Govinda.
“People didn’t show their children’s photographs or expose them as that would tell their age!
“All these things have really changed between now.”
The 48-year-old actress also talked about the comparison between how female Bollywood actresses are treated now and in the past.
She said that an actress’s relationship status is no longer a deciding factor for whether she wants to act or have a personal life.
Mahima added: “Earlier, it was either-or, but now, you can continue with both.
“Now, people are accepting women in different kinds of roles, even romantic ones post her becoming a mother or wife.
“Her personal life is celebrated. Even the men used to hide their relationship status before, a lot of them.
“Post their film’s release or many years later, we got to know so and so was married.”
Before the actress ventured into Bollywood, she did modelling assignments and appeared in several television adverts.
As well as Pardes, Mahima has starred in many hit films including Daag, Dhadkan, Dil Kya Kare and Lajja.
Mahima Chaudhry was last seen in the 2016 crime-thriller film Dark Chocolate in the role of Ishani Banerjee.