Women Centric Bollywood films: Over the years, the perspective of Bollywood looking at a woman has changed. Women are no longer damsels in distress waiting for a ‘hero’ to rescue them.
Nor are they forcefully brought into a movie just to serve the purpose of a prop. No doubt, we still have movies like Kabir Singh that glorifies toxic masculinity and Radhe that uses a woman merely as an eye candy. But on the other hand, there are movies like Queen, Raazi, Thappad, The White Tiger, Sandeep Aur Pinky Farar and many more which give more recognition and agency to female leads. Ever since the pandemic hit us, there have not been too many theatre releases but thanks to OTT platforms, we could enjoy quality content from the comfort of our homes.
These are 5 of my favourite women centric Bollywood films from the recent times
1. The Girl On The Train
With Parineeti Chopra playing the lead role, the movie is based on Paula Hawkin’s novel by the same name. The movie received mixed reviews from the audience. While some loved its gripping story line and unforeseen plot twists, others did not think it to be up to the mark. However, this Ribhu Dasgupta directorial is exclusively designed to suit the taste of the Indian audience. Talking exclusively to The Indian Express, Dasgupta said, “There was an already existing material, there was a novel, there was a film. Of course the structure and the basic material is from that. But, we’ve given it our own colour”.
As for me, I have always loved the way Parineeti Chopra shapes herself to fit into every character she plays and this one was no different. If you are someone who loves thrillers, you should definitely consider watching this one.
Directed by Amole Gupte, Saina is the biopic of the ace Badminton player Saina Nehwal. Parineeti Chopra once again won hearts with her powerful performance. Meghna Mallik and Subhrajyoti Barat play supportive parents who encourage their daughter to follow her aspirations and achieve her aim. This movie is an inspiration for all women who have big dreams and parents who want their daughters to be successful. It speaks about the struggles a sportsperson faces and how they overcome all their hurdles with grit and confidence. If you are looking for powerful women centric Bollywood films to watch, you just cannot miss this one.
Pagglait is by far one of the most loved women centric Bollywood films. This Umesh Bist film presents before us an unconventional picture of a Hindu widow. Sandhya’s (Sanya Malhotra) husband dies within a few months of marriage but she is unable to mourn his departure. This is perhaps because she could never fall in love with him. The movie then captures her journey of transformation from being a homemaker to a woman with goals. She is not someone who depends on the money her husband left for her nor does she remarry to “settle down”. Rather, she takes a stand for herself and leaves behind her conservative in laws to start a career.
On the surface, Roohi might appear to be a regressive movie that does not value consent and favours violence against women. But at the same time, this horror-comedy directed by Hardik Mehta brings out why one should not underestimate the power of women. They can be gentle and fierce at the same time. The protagonist Roohi (Jahnvi Kapoor) is possessed by a demonic spirit, Afza, who despite several trials could not be exorcised. Just when you begin to think Roohi would need to marry a man to get rid of Afza, she decides to embrace the strength she gave her by marrying her herself. This also throws light on the fact that women no longer need husbands to depend on and are capable of living all by themselves.
5. Shakuntala Devi
Anu Menon’s Shakuntala Devi tells the tale of the late ‘Human Computer’ Shakuntala Devi. Vidya Balan portrays the character of the mathematical genius. She delivers the challenges she faced in her career as a woman and as a mother. Devi’s story is the story of every mother who wants to divide her time equally between her work and child. Climbing the ladder of success was not easy for the mathematician but she did not accept defeat. She was mocked, ridiculed and even disowned by her own daughter but at the end of the day, she persevered. Once you have watched the film, your admiration for both Vidya Balan and late Shakuntala Devi is bound to increase.