Ten Must Watch Films Breaking Patriarchal Norms In Indian Cinema

Women's equity and pre-defined roles of a woman have been an intriguing issue across the globe. Movies helped the audience in realising the biases and misogyny in India against women must be celebrated!

Mahek Chotrani
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patriarchal films india, Films Breaking Patriarchal Norms
Films Breaking Patriarchal Norms:  Cinema is the deliberation of the society we live in. Our pop culture and its portrayal of women is a big reflection on the realities of our lives. At the same time, often society's behaviours become the inspiration for films too. 

However some movies help the audience seeing beyond the obvious and the stereotype. Films that cut the biases by raising questions, highlighting misogyny in our society. In this article, I pick ten films that broke patriarchal norms in cinema in both strong and subtle ways. 

Check out the following 10 Indian Films with a gender message that made an impact on society. 

1.Dil Dhadakne Do

Farhan Akhtar, who plays the character of Sunny Gill in the film educates Ayesha's (Priyanka Chopra)husband, played by Rahul Bose on his pseudo-feminist beliefs and how he's missing the essence of feminism by believing that he is a liberal man as he's 'Allowing' a woman to work, rather the woman should be the decision-makers of her life.

2. Ki And Ka

Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor's starrer film didn't do well in the Box-office but the film was surely successful in framing and updating the audience's mindset as it contributed to breaking multiple stereotypes of the society. In the film, while Kia (Kareena) is the breadwinner, Kabir (Arjun) is responsible for household affairs. He makes a valorous choice, just like Pankaj Tripathi did. When Tripathi was struggling in Mumbai to become an actor, took care of the household chores along with giving auditions while his wife, a teacher would work. 


3. Jab We Met

Geet, played by Kareena Kapoor from Jab We Met displayed the importance for a woman to be self-reliant and own up to her mistakes and responsibilities as for Geet things didn't work as she planned, got herself a job to pay her bills, didn't go back to her family or Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) because, "Kal ko main kissi ko blame nahin karna chahti hoon, ki ji tumhari wajah se meri life kharab ho gayi. Meri life jo bhi hogi, mujhe pata hoga ki meri wajah se hain." 

4. English Vinglish

This movie taught us that a woman is never too late to learn anything. Instead, she can achieve anything and everything she wants and at the same time make ladoos. The film suggests that language is not a mark for excellence as Shashi, played by late Sridevi was a victim of sexist jokes as she didn't know one particular language, at the end of the film Shashi delivers a meaningful speech in English and serves ladoo, suggesting that a woman can achieve anything.

Sridevi Quotes English Vinglish 5, Ten Must Watch Films Breaking Patriarchal Norms In Indian Cinema

5. Mardaani


Shivani Shivaji Roy, played by Rani Mukherjee inaugurates the fact that a woman can also be a tough cop. Shivani. who is questioned for her capabilities as a cop in the film, gives a bold response to a reporter telling him that she is not even a bit less efficient than her male counterparts?

6. Pink

Deepak Sehgal, played by Amitabh Bacchan displays the rulebook created for women by the patriarchal culture in the society. He explains the society that consent is very important for every human being and if one finds anything about a woman provocative, that's because of his patriarchal norms, not hers. 

7. Mary Kom

Priyanka Chopra starrer film surely made many Indian parents and husbands believe in the dreams of a woman, made them unlearn their old school mindset as the film emphasised the determination of a woman and the level of success she achieved with the support of her husband.

8. Angry Indian Goddesses 


The first female buddy movie of the country displays women under different yet familiar situations. as it follows seven women and how their lives change because of an unforeseen occurrence. The film was about a fight for gender equality, the same fight in seven different scenarios of seven different women followed by the same traumas. 

9. Lipstick Under My Burkha

The film surely drew a bunch of controversies due to its raw attempt in decoding the facets of women a man needs to know. As it promises you nothing but web spun out of brutal realities of the world around us. The film points out marital rape, reveals that women are not rare pieces of meat and a woman's desire is equally important as of a man.

10. Lust Stories

The film questions the cultural and sexual norms of South Asian society as it tackles the subject matter most frowned upon in the Indian society but narrates it from the point of women. The film criticises many aspects of the patriarchy, such as the defamation of divorced women and the glorification of having children. Most importantly, the narrative focuses on the taboo around women seeking sexual pleasure in a rather audacious manner. 



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