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Alia Bhatt to Kangana Ranaut – Women in films today are spearheading a much-needed change
Times are changing and so is the world. Contemporary women and female character portrayals in today’s films are closer to reality. The modern wave of women-centric cinema that started in the last decade gained momentum in recent years. The role of a ‘heroine’ has undergone an interesting transformation over time.
Today, they are nuanced, bold, flawed, grey and human. Stories for, by and of women are no longer rarities. In these narratives, women have a voice, an ambition and most critically, a choice.
Alia Bhatt in ‘Raazi’
In ‘Raazi’ (2018), an otherwise vulnerable Sehmat, becomes the most reliable part of the Indian espionage system stationed in Pakistan. She marries a Pakistani army officer to help relay all confidential information to her country. The film sensitively told us the story of Alia Bhatt’s Sehmat who sacrificed her personal life and happiness to protect her country against the enemy at all costs. Espionage thrillers have almost always been about men and their masochistic display of valour. Raazi subtly crushed the existing formula and started a novel trend.
Kangana Ranaut’s ‘Queen’ (2014) subtly conveyed the notion of feminism. The idea of a protected Delhi girl exploring Europe on her own after being left at the altar is intriguing and exciting. The shy and demure Rani soon became an epitome of courage. The journey she took made her realise that she wants more from her life, emotional independence and a career. Queen motivated many women to follow their hearts and live life in a free-spirited way.
Radhika Madan in ‘Pataakha’
Vishal Bhardwaj’s 2018 drama, ‘Patakhaa’, which marks two years of its release, lays out an interesting premise about the volatile bond between two sisters. They fight, they bite, they hatch conspiracies and they are each other’s arch nemesis. While it would have been easier to represent the flawed 21st century women in an urban setting, the storyteller chose to do so using a rural set up. Radhika Madan’s Badki and Sanya Malhotra’s Chhutki have a sisterly bond that is unseen in Hindi cinema. The film paints a rather messy picture of sisterhood and sets a precedent like no other.
It is often said that beauty lies in simplicity. Sridevi starrer ‘English Vinglish’ (2012) is a shining example of that. Often we seen women be demeaned and demotivated just for following the rules the society has set for them. But when a strong woman makes a decision to step in the big leagues, do something new, it often comes as a surprise to all those who have spent their lives belittling her efforts, her love and her existence. Her character proves her mettle and worth by making us all believe that strength lies in vulnerability and acceptance of the self.
Rani Mukerji in ‘Hichki’
We have seen stories of underdogs finally winning in their lives with male heroes many times over the years. And we have applauded them deservedly. But with ‘Hichki’ (2018), Rani Mukerji’s Naina reiterated that a positive outlook towards life is all it takes. The film is a reminder that a woman’s strength and resilience can let nothing, not even an untreatable medical condition, stop her from making sure she gets a chance to Chase her dreams.
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