Women Are Finding Their Voice, So Are Cinema's Stories: Vidya Balan

"Cinema is a mirror of real life. While films can impact people's lives, real experiences must already exist somewhere in the world before they are translated onto the screen," Vidya Balan tells SheThePeople.

Priya Prakash
Aug 09, 2023 18:15 IST
In a candid and insightful conversation with SheThePeople, Vidya Balan opened up about her perspective on the evolving landscape of Indian cinema and its role in shaping societal perceptions, particularly concerning women.

Balan shed light on the evident shift in the emergence of more nuanced and empowering female-driven narratives, reflecting the growing empowerment of women in society. Unlike in the past, where women often carried societal burdens, today's films depict them as individuals with dreams, aspirations, and the drive to shape their own destinies. This transformation is notable as it presents women as authentic individuals.

She added, “It's a significant change that resonates with the current desire for visibility and recognition. In the past, women might not have even realised the possibilities available to them. Now, it's a remarkable time to live, especially as a woman in the film industry, telling stories that centre around women. It's an empowering era for all of us.”


Empowerment Paves Way For Powerful Women's Stories on Screen

Continuing her remarks, she emphasised that it's women who influence cinema, rather than cinema influencing women. She expressed, "In my view, the reverse is often true. Cinema is a mirror of real life. While films can impact people's lives, the real experiences must already exist somewhere in the world before they are translated onto the screen."

So I think it's often, I see that there is an unreal expectation from cinema to have a positive impact on society. Whereas I think it's society that has an impact on cinema. So basically, like, when as a society we change,  so that's when we start seeing different kinds of movies releasing.  And different,  for example,  we're telling so many women stories, right? Because we're at a different time. Women are taking centre stage in their lives, more women than before, which is why there are more women's stories to be told.


She went on to say, “There are more women who, you know, who are aspiring to be like the aspirational, inspirational women they're seeing on screen. So I think one thing leads to the other.”

Balan stated it well when she said that as social norms change, new types of stories, such as those emphasising the experiences of women, emerge. The statement highlights how closely connected cinema and society are, with societal changes inspiring the development of diverse and timely filmed content. 

It emphasises how changes in real life, such as women taking on more prominent responsibilities, lead to a greater representation of such stories in movies. Whether it be lately released movies like Tumhari Sulu, Raazi, Panga, Thappad, Sherni, Rashmi Rocket, Darlings, Double XL, Mrs Chatterjee Vs. Norway, or upcoming movies like Chakda 'Xpress, Happy Teachers' Day or Dhak Dhak.


Suggested Reading: Empowering Era For Women: Vidya Balan On Films' Shifting Narrative


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