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Feminine Power To The Fore: Bollywood Is Binge-ing On Ladies Pictures

It seems to be the season of women’s empowerment in our cinema. Films with female heroes in the lead are piling up at the boxoffice. Is this a passing trend or a sign of the changing times and a shift in gender equations?

A List Of Female Heroes Who Have Hit The Screen Lately, And Are  On The WayIn The Coming Month

  1. Anaarkali Of Aarah: Just released, this small film directed bydebutant Avinash Das tells us why it’s okay for a woman to be sexually rampant and yet have the right to say no to sexual advances if  she wants.Playing an erotic dancer from Bihar , Swara Bhaskar gives to her part body and soul, and then some more.The film is an important testimony to the new-age heroine who needn’t be holier-than-thou to be able to protect her body and mind from unwanted violation.Opened March 24
  2. Naam Shabana: Tapsee Pannu did a sensitive author-backed role in Annirudh Roy Choudhuri’s Pink last year. Now she plays a spry spy in this slick spinoff of the 2015 thriller Baby. Remarkably a film featuring a woman as the hero deals with none of the patent women’s issues that we associate with heroine-oriented films.Opens March 31.
  3. Beghum Jaan: Debutant director Srijit Mukherjee’s epic tale of a brothel at the border during India’s Partition, lorded over by a Madame, played by Vidya Balan. The film , a remake  of Srijit’sBangla blockbuster Raj Kahini, features a gallery of memorable women characters while the men are given strictly supportive roles.
  4. Poorna .The story of  a 12-yearPoorna Malavath the youngest girl to scale the Everest, touches on the familiar tropes of the motivational sports genre: the stubborn unwavering coach(played byRahul Bose himself), his disapproving distrustful smirking colleague(Heeba Shah) and at the centre of it all, the bright innocent Himalayan prodigy Poorna, played by a sensational new discovery Aditi Inaamdar. Female power at its youngest , opening on  31 March
  5. Maatr: Raveena Tandon as a mother avenging rape, occupies the hero’s place in this haunting and disturbing film that left her so shaken , she couldn’t bear to look at herself while dubbing her lines. A rare opportunity for an Indian actress of a certain  age to take cenrtestage. Opens 21 April.
  6. Noor: Sonakshi Sinha who played the hero last year in the bone-crunching gruesome  tale of horrific revenge Akirais is  here given a lighter tone to play around with. She flirts with the fluff-and-real blocks in the Rubik’s Cube of  life with fey abandon.What can we say, except Tum aa gaye ho Noor aa gaya hai….Opens April 21.

Coming up later during the year are other female-powered films likeMeri Pyari Bindu(Parineeti Chopra, 12 May), Mom(Sridevi, July 14),Haseena(Shradha Kapoor, July 14).

Writers Speak

Juhi Trivedi(Vicky Donor, Piku): “It’s a positive sign and kudos to the filmmakers who believe in and back these films. I hope this phenomenon is  here to stay and is not just the flavor of  the season.”

Himanshu Sharma(Tanu Weds Manu, Tanu Weds Manu Returns): “This female trope is emerging as a new genre altogether,From the time of B  R Chopra’s Nikaah till now it has evolved in a big way. In fact it has mirrored and mapped  the long journey of women’s emancipation in Indian society. I personally believe that the more economically independent  Indian women will get  the stronger this genre will become.After all women constitute 48 percent of our population. They need a voice.”

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