4th March 2020

Thappad Is Another Slap On Women-centric Films This Year

Films with female  heroes are facing  rough weather at the  boxoffice this year.After the  unexpected underperformance of  Meghna  Gulzar’s Chhapaak and  Ashwini Iyer Tiwari’s Panga, both  high-end  calibre-conscious products featuring A-list heroines Deepika Padukone  and Kangana Ranaut  in  the  lead , another outstanding film Thappad with a  female hero opened to collections as low as  10 percent in some sectors,  thereby putting a question mark on the female-hero genre.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Why Thappad Puts Taapsee Pannu Ahead Of The Competition

Thappad director Anubhav Sinha says he  is not overly  bothered by the  poor opening. “Unlike my last two films  Mulk and Article 15, Thappad is  not based on  a burning socio-political  issues.In fact many men and women in the audience think a woman leaving her husband for a slap is  a non-issue. Thappad is a film that has to create its audience.”

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While Thappad generates  its own  audience, all eyes are now  on  the two major forthcoming  films with  female  heroes. In the Hindi-Tamil-Telugu  tri-lingual Thalaivi, Kangana Ranaut plays the formidable Southern political leader Jayalalitha. After the well-received Manikarnika  last year this is Kangana’s second bio-pic ,and she is leaving no  stone  unturned  to make  sure  she is accepted by the audience as Jayalalitha.

Kanagana’s   latest look as Jayalalitha in  Thalaivi has evinced wows among her fans, Thalaivi producer Shailesh R Singh says, “All credit for  Kangana’s resemblance  to Jayalalithaji must go to Kangana.We wanted  to use prosthetics. But she insisted  on putting on  weight and making the  character as real as  possible. What  we see  in the  picture is the real Kangana without prosthetics.”

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With  her last two films Judgemental  Hai Kya in  2019 and Panga in 2020  underperforming at the  boxoffice Kangana needs  a hit to consolidate  her  position as a boxoffice-friendly  female hero.

Alia Bhatt too has had successes in author-backed roles. In Sanjay Leela  Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi she is cast as  a  real-life gangster. And there lies the problem. Apart from the fact that female-centric  films are  not doing well in 2020 the  other stress-point is  that  audiences tend to reject films where women play criminals. Shradha Kapoor as a female gangster was  a disaster  in Apoorva Lakhia’s Haseena Parkar. Even Shabana Azmi’s  National award-winning  performance as a criminal-politician in Godmother  didn’t set  the boxoffice on  fire. Deepika Padukone’s  gangster  drama  Sapna Didi to be directed  by  Vishal Bhardwaj was shelved last year.

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 With  films featuring woman at  the helm doing poorly at  the  boxoffice , it will be interesting to see which way Kangana and Alia’s   power-play goes.

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