Varun Grover In Qala To Jim Sarbh In Gangubai: Feminist Male Characters Of 2022

Male characters in films can exist to further plotlines, uplift women, and to treat them as equals instead of being a pawn to patriarchy. Here are the feminist male characters Of 2022 that we are grateful for.

Ragini Daliya
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Varun Grover In Qala To Jim Sarbh In Gangubai: Feminist Male Characters Of 2022
It is probably easy to find feminist literature or a movie solely dedicated to empowering women. Filmmakers have caught on to the fact that the world wants strong female characters, and we want them now. To witness a character onscreen that’s a feminist is usually a treat and a privilege. But what about male feminists?

Yes, male feminist characters do exist. But oftentimes, it can be tricky to spot them (Trust me.) It’s almost too easy to paint male characters as villains who are instruments of the patriarchy, taking away agency and underestimating the value of female characters. But writing about male allies and portraying them is surefire a task.

Male characters can exist to further plotlines, uplift women, and treat them as equals (that's literally what we all want). And the more storytellers craft these types of men into their stories, the more actual men will watch, and lead, by example.

Hence, here are five feminist male characters of 2022 that we could think of.

5 Feminist Male Characters Of 2022

Roshan Matthew - Darlings

Yes, Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah ruled the world of Darlings with their powerful performances, but it was also the silent charm of Roshan Matthew that made a breakthrough in the film. Matthew plays Zulfi, a helper and confidante of the mother-daughter duo who have concocted a plan to teach Badru's (Bhatt) abusive husband a lesson. On the side, Zulfi is also an aspiring screenplay writer, and he also hawks used household appliances for a living in addition to serving as the sole delivery boy for Shamshu's (Shah) dabba service.


Matthew's character thrives on bringing quiet solidarity to the women of the film. He knows what is happening even when the duo is using him as a pawn, but he also lets the women forward to deal with Hamza (Vijay Varma). However, it is also Zulfi’s sudden love confession, right in the middle of a high-octane hilarious scene that cracked us up in the otherwise dark comedy.

Jim Sarbh - Gangubai Kathiawadi

publive-image Jim Sarbh, Alia Bhatt in a still from Gangubai Kathiawadi

Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Gangubai Kathiawadi is a fictionalised account of Gangubai Harjivandas, a sex worker in a Kamathipura brothel in the 1960s Mumbai. The film is based on a chapter of author Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges' book Mafia Queens of Mumbai: Stories of Women from the Ganglands (2011).

Sarbh plays a journalist Amin Faizi in the film. He appears quite late but his contributions are immeasurable. He is captivated by Gangubai's perseverance when he watches her argue passionately with the administrative heads of a school that refuses to admit daughters of sex workers. He is fascinated by her inner strength, and her outer struggle to demand and secure opportunities for these girls to study so that they do not have to continue in the profession that their mothers were forced into. After a magazine publishes her story, Faizi encourages her to capitalise on the media attention and further her endeavour in the political world.

Varun Grover - Qala


Feminist Male Characters Of 2022 Varun Grover in a still from Qala

Anvita Dutt’s Qala follows the story of a fraught mother-daughter relationship, set amid the bleak landscape of snow-clad Himachal Pradesh. It explores the complex mother-daughter dynamic and inner conflicts we all sometimes succumb to. The thematic setting complements the grief of its lead protagonist, Qala Manjushree, played by Tripti Dimri. Tormented by her past, Qala is a budding singer and hopeful to live up to her family’s illustrations singing legacy as advised by her stern mother (played by Swastika Mukherjee). However, Qala soon loses the ability to differentiate between dreams and reality as she struggles to seek validation in her mother's eyes. Varun Grover as lyricist Majrooh is the only comfort in her suffocating life. When he finds out that Qala is being sexually assaulted by a producer, he urges her to fight the cycle of abuse and says – Daud badlega, Daud ki yeh purani adaat hain (time will change, time has an old habit of doing so).

Puneet Issar - Jayeshbhai Jordaar

publive-image Jia Vaidya and Puneet Issar (R) in a still from Jayeshbhai Jordaar

In Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Ranveer Singh is at war with patriarchy, fighting with his conservative family over female foeticide. To save his wife and daughter from misery, he plans to run away to the utopian land of Laadopur in Haryana.

Laadopur in the film represents a place where the village head (played by Puneet Issar) and the many bachelor wrestlers are shunning patriarchy and opening its doors to any victims. It is refreshing to see Issar’s gentle, non-violent bachelor pahalwan represent a state that is infamous for gender-based violence. These Haryanvi’s pahalwans may be fictional, but through this disruptive representation, the makers want to bust myths and usher in a positive change towards the state.


Suraj Sharma - Wedding Season

wedding season review Credits: Netflix

Netflix's Wedding Season is that rom-com movie; totally predictable but gently enjoyable. Good-looking leads, great chemistry, heartbreak, making up, tussling between dreams and desires, and a public declaration of love. It has all tropes of a romantic comedy and a coming-of-age hero who doesn't fall into the trappings of the genre. Suraj Sharma's Ravi is a supposed MIT grad who actually DJs on the side and works at a restaurant owned by his parents. He is comfortable in his being even when his parents want him to do more.

Suggested Reading: Qala And Other Recent Films That Portrayed Complicated Parental Relationships



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