Women Characters From Bollywood Who Have Shaped My Feminism

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With characters that boast of independence, self-love, patriotism, and grit, Bollywood has given us some major roles that empower many. Not only has Bollywood been an eternal source of entertainment, but it has also touched upon some issues that were earlier a stigma in society. With new movies coming in, Indian films are trying their best to break the shackles of patriarchy. Also, the depiction of men and women on screen is going against the gender binaries we’ve been living with for ages. From helping me voice my opinion, to shape my feminism, the silver screen has played an important role in defining who I am today. Here are a few female characters from Bollywood who have played a role in shaping the feminist within me.

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Shivani Shivaji Roy in Mardaani

A highly-underrated movie, Mardaani gave me goosebumps and tore me within. With intense scenes, horrifying crimes and fierce fights, the female protagonist in this film was not a damsel in distress. Rani Mukerji, with her exemplary acting prowess, left many speechless as Shivani Shivaji Roy. She proved that women can be extremely courageous and can fight the entire world if you challenge them. Shivani is the super cop, she puts commitment towards her profession above anything else in her life.

Shashi in English Vinglish

English Vinglish is the story of how a housewife wins self-respect in the eyes of her husband and her daughter. The legendary actress, Sridevi as Shashi learns the so-called elite’s language, English, while she is travelling to the USA for a family wedding. In the process, the entrepreneur makes a name for her culinary skills by feeding people the yummy Laddoos she makes.  Shashi navigates a foreign land, makes new friends, learns to speak English, finds a new identity and wins respect for herself without compromising on her duties as a mother, wife and sister. Gauri Shinde’s heart-touching story shows Shashi breaking many stereotypes without compromising on her values.

Rani in Queen

She goes on her honeymoon alone! As crazy as it sounds, Rani questioned society’s norms by proving that a woman can enjoy all she wants in her own company. The film also touches upon the societal taboos such as the mental trauma a girl and her family go through when a marriage alliance is suddenly called off.  Kangana Ranaut and Lisa Haydon also showed us, on-screen, how strong female friendships can be and how women can lift each other up.

Meenal, Falak and Andrea in Pink

The courtroom drama talks about the importance of consent in a sexual relationship. India is a country where power and money allows criminals escape from the punishment, no matter how heinous the crime is. In such a place, the movie inspired many to fight against the wrongs done to them. With their impactful dialogues and memorable acting, the three female protagonists Meenal, Falak and Andrea inspired many girls to understand the power of consent in a relationship.

Piku in Piku

Shoojit Sircar’s Piku captures human relationships as they are. It redefines the duties of sons and daughters as the  protagonist takes care of her nagging father by keeping every other engagement in her life on the back seat. The film normalizes talking about sex, it emphasizes that women should take their life decisions independently. Nobody in her family pressurizes Piku to get married. Bhaskor Banerjee, played by the evergreen actor, Amitabh Bachchan never refrains from talking about women’s liberation.

These were just a few movies real-life women on screen. These characters made a connection with us because they were relatable.

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Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV