For the longest time, Bollywood films were about male protagonists rescuing and comforting the female characters , whilst taking responsibility of fixing all their problems, be it big or small. Over the years, there has been a major shift in film making from the typical male oriented stories, to the more feminism and women centric narratives.We have seen filmmakers experiment with a lot of stories, keeping women in the frontier, which have in turn changed the way movies are made and perceived today.
It’s been a massive transition, especially for an industry like Bollywood, which was never concerned with rapid growth or change. The process of being more inclusive has been rather slow and arduous for the industry. Unhurried notwithstanding, the change has come and with brilliant women-centred films and actresses to pioneer the roles, we have been bestowed with some cinematic jewels that have not only redefined Hindi cinema but also brought about a consequent change in the way women are perceived in society. On Women’s Day today, we bring you a list of 7 female centered films that are a must watch.
Kangana Ranaut starrer Queen is an Indian comedy-drama, helmed by Vikas Bahl and produced by Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, and Madhu Mantena. The film is about an under-confident Punjabi girl from New Delhi, who takes off on her honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam, all by herself after her fiancé (Rajkummar Rao) calls off their wedding. It’s this journey that teaches her to be self-reliant and confident. In short, it changes her life forever. Powerful and realistic, at the same time, Queen is a movie for all the girls with a broken heart.
Director Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under my Burkha featuring Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur in the lead that deals with the lives of four Indian women between the age bracket of 18 and 55, who hail from small towns. The men in their lives have stripped them off the basic right to be themselves and happy doing what they wish to do. The film chronicles their struggles against patriarchy at home and outside of it, where they are expected to live a certain way. While the burkha symbolizes the limits within which women are forced to live, the lipstick stands for their clandestine acts of rebellion in which they liberate themselves from all kinds of patriarchal impositions.
Helmed by ad filmmaker Suresh Triveni and produced by Atul Kasbekar and T Series, Tumhari Sulu, features Vidya Balan in the lead. With a simple dream of buying a pressure cooker to actually becoming an RJ, Vidya’s journey in the film is nothing short of exceptional. In the film, she is a simple housewife who becomes an RJ by the night. It’s her ‘I can do it all’ attitude that makes her a true multi-tasker and an inspiration for women who believe that work and life cannot be balanced.
English Vinglish is a 2012 Indian comedy-drama film, written and directed by Gauri Shinde. The narrative revolves around the life of a woman named Shashi (Sridevi), a small entrepreneur who makes snacks. She is a perfect homemaker, mother and even an entrepreneur, but her inability to speak the English language makes her feel inferior. Thus, during a trip to the US to attend her niece’s wedding, she enrolls in an English-speaking course to gain the self respect she lacked and to stop her husband and daughter from mocking her lack of English skills. This was Sridevi’s comeback film, after a long hiatus of almost 15 years. Her second and last film, Mom, was also a woman centric film, that was based on the life of a mother who was out on a mission to avenge the wrong done to her daughter.
Helmed by Shoojit Sircar, Piku stars, Deepika Padukone in the titular role, Amitabh Bachchan as her aged father and Irrfan Khan as the owner of a car-renting company. The movie beautifully depicts the relationship between father and a daughter. More than Deepika, it was Sr Bachchan’s role that resonated with us. Bhaskar Da (Amitabh Bachchan) had only one wish for his daughter Piku (Deepika Padukone)—that she lives her life by her own terms and never get married as that will tie her down. He always wanted to see his daughter lead an independent life. Bold and adorable, Piku respects her father’s viewpoint. This film was a refreshing change at a time when parents start stressing about their daughter’s wedding the moment they hit their late twenties.
# Parched (2016)
Helmed by Leena Yadav and starring Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla, Leher Khan, Riddhi Sen, Sumeet Vyas, Adil Hussain, Parched is a story of four women in a desert village of Rajasthan, that’s plagued by several social evils, age-old traditions and practices of patriarchy, child marriage, dowry, marital rapes and physical and mental abuse. The film toplines crucial themes such as women’s right to decide what they want and articulate their needs and desires, whilst also stopping abuse and violence against them.
# Angry Indian Goddesses (2015)
Marketed and publicised as India’s “first female buddy comedy”, Angry Indian Goddesses, has performed well at film festivals. Directed by Pan Nalin and produced under the banner ‘Jungle Book Entertainment’ presentation, it stars Sandhya Mridul, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Sarah-Jane Dias, Anushka Manchanda, Amrit Maghera, Rajshri Deshpande, and Pavleen Gujral with Adil Hussain. It’s a realistic portrayal of women in contemporary India. When a group of friends get together for an impromptu bachelorette celebration that lasts for a whole week, we get to witness a roller coaster ride of emotions, friendships, break ups, make ups, fuck ups, passion, devastation, hesitation, terrorization and self realization. It’s a film that will make you explore emotions, relationships and womanhood like never before.