2017 hasn’t been a great year for Bollywood per se, but the movies coming up in the last two months of the year definitely look more exciting than the stuff we’ve seen in previous 10 months. My focus is primarily on the upcoming Vidya Balan starrer Tumhari Sulu. As a feminist, I’ve been more than happy to see Bollywood movies, especially since the last 5-6 years, which feature strong female characters. Going by the trailer and the response for Tumhari Sulu, I think this movie might be a worthy contender to this list of strong female characters which prove that women in Bollywood are finally taking center stage –
Tanu was already a breath of fresh air in the 2011 surprise hit Tanu Weds Manu, but its 2015 sequel – Tanu Weds Manu Returns knocked the socks out of everyone. Kangana Ranaut‘s superlative performance as Datto and Tanu won her acclaim, love and a National Award.
Deepika Padukone wowed everyone with her simple and effective performance as the no-nonsense Piku in Shoojit Sircar‘s Piku. The comedy-drama also starred Amitabh Bachchan as Piku’s cranky old father and Irrfan Khan as her potential love interest, but there’s no denying that this movie belonged to Deepika and she carried the movie completely on her shoulders.
Now THIS is called a comeback. After a 15 year hiatus, one of the most successful actresses in India, Sridevi returned to the big screen and our won hearts with Gauri Shinde‘s English Vinglish. The submissive, under-confident Shashi taught her family and the audience to judge less and love more. The movie is now considered a cult classic and for good reason.
Pink turned out to be a breakout film for Taapsee Pannu, who hadn’t been able to find a clear footing in Bollywood before that. The movie changed the way the audience and the industry saw her. As the de facto ‘leader’ of the women who escape sexual assault, Pink played an important part in making consent, sex and feminism an important discussion in our country.
Another prolific performance by Kangana Ranaut, Rani breezed into our lives with her naivety, her sense of humour, her cooking and of course, her mad dancing skills when she’s a little drunk. Even while writing about the movie now, I can’t help but smile after randomly remembering a scene or a dialogue from this iconic film. Rani ka sense of humour bahut acha hai, hum sabko dheere dheere pata chal gaya.
Vidya Balan‘s performance as Silk in The Dirty Picture opened doors for badass female characters in Hindi cinema. Where else will you see a girl whipping herself in order to get attention as a background dancer? Or give an interview to a journalist in a bathtub to divert attention from her small house. Vidya Balan changed the game with this Milan Lutharia film and reminded us all that curves are sexy!
Alia Bhatt‘s heartbreaking performance as Mary Jane (is that even her real name?) in the thought provoking Udta Punjab was the standout. That is a big deal, especially when the movies’ cast comprises of powerhouse performers like Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh. This movie gave Alia her first Best Actress (popular) trophy, and we’re sure there are many more to come.
Anushka Sharma‘s first foray into production was with the gritty, real and violent NH10. While a difficult watch, NH10 is one of the most relevant Bollywood films to have come out in the past years. Her performance as the smart, practical and tough as steel Meera was applauded by all and her subtle homage to Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman in Kill Bill) was kickass.
Ram Madhvani‘s 2016 offering Neerja showed us what a powerhouse performer Sonam Kapoor is if she’s given the right role. Based on the heroic act by Neerja Bhanot, who thwarted a hijack attempt in 1986 but lost her life in the prcoess, Neerja was a heart-wrenching watch and not a single person left the theater dry-eyed.
A pregnant woman in search of her missing husband in 2012 and a single mother in 2016. Vidya Balan blew our minds (she does that often. doesn’t she?) with Kahaani and Kahaani 2. While the two movies don’t have much in common except the lead actress, the films will definitely feature in lists of finest thrillers made in Bollywood. The best bit? They’re headlined by a woman!
Which female led Bollywood movies have made an impact in your life? Tell us in the comments below!