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From Parineeta To Piku, Five Must Watch Hindi Films On Female Bengali Protagonists

The contributions of strong Bengali feminist women leaves an imprint in Hindi cinema, here is a list of such films that one can watch.

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It is not very often that Hindi films get Bengali women right, so when they do it becomes a special moment for most of us. It is fulfilling to see when they try to portray the character and its truth while also keeping in mind their cultural identity and current setting. Most Bengali women complain about how the Hindi cinema tends to choose certain stereotypical aspects of the culture like Alta or Lal par shaada sari randomly.
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Though films do have the creative liberty of showing a world in its exaggerated format, it is sometimes glaring to see a woman wear a saree, which is actually worn by Bengalis only during Pujas or special occasions. But the positive bit is that few of them show Bengali women as independent and with a mind of their own. The contributions of strong Bengali feminist women leaves an imprint in Hindi cinema.

In an interview with SheThePeople, Madhumita Sarcar said that as a Bengali woman she would love to not watch “fake Bengali accent in Hindi”. The other would be lal par shaada sari (white sari with red border), "when it is not a puja scene especially Doshomi or Lokhi Pujo, nobody wears white saree with a red border,” Sarcar said.


Suggested Reading: No, We Don’t Always Sing Rabindra Sangeet: Bengali Women And Sexist Stereotypes


In food habit stereotypes, she wants the Hindi films to stop showing every Bengali in love with “roshogolla and mach (rasgulla and fish).” “You know how characters sometimes go- humara Kolkata bhi cholo, hum tumhe dikhata hai (come to my Kolkata, I will show it to you) needs to stop,” she said while mimicking the stereotypical Bengali character’s Hindi accent in films.

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Here is a list of five Hindi films on Bengali women that you can watch:

Piku 

hindi films on bengali women,financially independent women, Actors on Gender Pay Gap, women bad drivers, Deepika Padukone 2022 Calendar A still from the film Piku. Representative image used

The Shoojit Sircar film's plot is centered around a woman named Piku, played by Deepika Padukone, who works in Delhi and lives with her father Bhaskor Banerjee. She is an independent, working woman who takes care of her elderly father, played by Amitabh Bachchan. Her father is reluctant to sell his old house in Kolkata while Piku, a practical woman does not have the same emotional attachment to it. But she makes it a point to get her father to Kolkata via a road trip. The film addresses a few of the stereotypes attached to Bengali women like they are thrifty spenders, always angry and argumentative. It tried to break it down and show Piku in human light and her ">problems.

Parineeta

hindi films on bengali women,Hindi Films Based On Bengali Books, Bengali Women And Sexist Stereotypes

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This film from 2005, is based on the Bengali novel of the same name by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. It revolves around the life of a woman named Lalita, played by Vidya Balan. She falls in love with a man named Shekhar, played by Saif Ali Khan. Their childhood is connected as Lalita and Shekhar are friends but as time passes they become lovers. The film is set in 1962 Kolkata. The film and novel address class and religion in society. The book was published back in 1914. The film is directed by Pradeep Sarkar and the cast also includes Sanjay Dutt, amongst others.

Lootera 

The 2013 romantic drama was a period based film directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. It was based on O Henry's 1907 short story titled The Last Leaf. The film is set during the 1950s Bengal when the Zamindari Abolition Act was introduced. The film involved a daughter of Zamindar and an artist Pakhi Roy Chaudhary, played by Sonakshi Sinha and a young conman who poses as an archaeologist, played by Ranveer Singh. Pakhi is an aspiring writer. The story is about how the two get entangled in a love story.

Bulbbul 

hindi films on bengali women,Anushka Sharma Trailer Anushka Sharma Releases First Look of Bulbbul / Picture Credit: The Indian Express

The 2020 film is a supernatural thriller, which is written and made by Anvita Dutt. The story is set in the 1880s Bengal and zamindari setting. It revolves around the life of a child bride and her journey into the world of horror with maturity. The role of Bulbbul is played by Tripti Dimri and her older husband is Indrani (the Elder lord) played by Rahul Bose. While Bulbbul is a closer friend to Indranil's younger brother Satya. So, Indrani sends him off to study abroad. Bulbbul grows up and presides over the household with a traumatic past. The mystery lies in the fact that men in her village are being supernaturally murdered. The show tried to unfold it.

Devdas 

This Sanjay Leela Bhansali film is from 2002 and is again based on the Bengali novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, which was published in 1917. It is the story of a man named Devdas, played by Shah Rukh Khan, who belongs to a rich family and is a law graduate from London. He returns to India in the hope of marrying his childhood companion Paro, played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. But his family disapproves as Paro has a family linkage to dancing women and nautanki performers and she is married to a 40-year-old man. This drives Devdas into alcoholism and he then meets Chandramukhi, who falls in love with him.

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