“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.”
– Roman Payne
Celebrating its 104th birthday this year in May, Hindi cinema has churned out only a minute number of films with a female actor as the protagonist. Portrayed as a damsel in distress on most of the occasions, movies have scarcely been bold and courageous enough to explore the power a woman possesses. Only a few filmmakers have had the fortitude to expand their horizons and present the female actors with flesh and blood characters. It is high time they realized there’s a lot more to women than merely being victims of the misdeeds of the villains or objects of gratification of a man’s carnal appetite.
Here are some bright, 5 coruscating examples of some of Hindi Cinema’s finest female-oriented films of the last five years.
ENGLISH VINGLISH (2012)
This small film with a big heart marked the return of Sridevi after a hiatus of 15 years, the actor who once ruled the marquee in the 80’s and 90’s. This heartfelt story of a housewife who enrolls herself into English classes was abundantly relatable and brimming with a novel idea. Sridevi’s unfeigned performance added the cherry to the cake and proved that once a star, always a star.
THE DIRTY PICTURE (2011)
When most of the actresses flaunted their well-toned body in a swimsuit or a bikini, Vidya Balan had the courage to flaunt her paunch. Guess what? The punch packed a more powerful punch than those bikini-clad bodies. She shone in the film and proved that a woman could elicit as many catcalls and wolf-whistles as a man. It went on to become a major commercial success and consolidated the fact that movies succeed only because of ENTERTAINMENT, ENTERTAINMENT, AND ENTERTAINMENT.
Just when people had written off Sonam Kapoor as a little fashionista and a non-actor, she came up with this heart-wrenching tale of Neerja Bhanot, a model turned air hostess, who sacrificed her life at the age of 23 to save the lives of 359 passengers.
This biopic was not only welcomed with open arms by the critics but was equally lauded by the audiences. Raking in 75 crores at the domestic box office, can the film showed everyone that a hero could also carry a film on her strong shoulders.
P.S- The film also doubled the sales of handkerchiefs in the markets.
How and Why? You may ask. Watch the film.
Kangana Ranaut‘s career was almost in the dumps. Almost all her films were biting the dust. Then, something spectacular happened. Queen hit the silver screen and the actor struck gold.
Easily one of the most enjoyable films in recent times, Queen paved way for a lot more films with female protagonists and Kangana delivered her career’s best.
Commercial success, Critical triumph and winner of 2 National Awards, the film swept away every possible accolades LIKE A BOSS.
At the same position is PIKU.
Who would’ve thought a film on constipation would be so entertaining and rake in 80 crores at the box office? Shoojit Sarcar’s out of the box script and the inspired performances by the 3 lead actors made this one of the most pleasant movie viewing experiences. It’s hard to be in the same frame with the legendary Amitabh Bachchan and the always exceptional Irfan Khan but Deepika Padukone shone and portrayed her most nuanced character with aplomb.
Giving us a realistic touch of the Bengali families, PIKU is one of those rare films that only gets sweeter with a lot more viewings.
If constipation can be so much fun, let’s have some more.
Not many actors can effortlessly transport themselves from one world to another. Vidya Balan isn’t one of them. Just 3 months after coming from the era of the 70’s in The Dirty Picture, she entered into the modern city of Kolkata.
This nerve-racking thriller had arguably the most intriguing finale for a Hindi film of such genre. As the narrative progressed, Kolkata also became a major character of the movie that sucked you in its world.
Never allowing you to move from your seats, KAHAANI gave us yet another character of Vidya Balan that we could be proud of.
HIGHWAY (2014) and DEAR ZINDAGI (2016)
Alia Bhatt’s second outing as an actor left us in a deep sense of shock and surprise. How could someone, just a film old, that too a hardcore commercial potboiler like Student of the Year (2012), deliver a galvanizing performance like Highway ? Portraying the nuances of a free-spirited girl haunted by the trauma of child abuse, Bhatt stole the film and gave us a full flesh and blood character we all could relate too. The same actor went a step ahead and essayed the role of a confused and complicated working woman, who decides to undergo a therapy to know what exactly she wants from life. Dear Zindagi was not an easy character to portray, but then, actors aren’t born, they are made, and Alia Bhatt has made herself an actor, and not only a shining superstar.