It is no surprise that Bollywood has been in major need of female-centric movies for quite some time now. There have been tons and tons of movies in the Hindi film industry featuring men bragging about their machismo and misogyny. Not only that, but even the women in most of these movies are one-dimensional. Most of the mothers and love interests in these movies embody internalized misogyny while carrying forward the notions of patriarchy in society. A lot of these notions get reinforced in society when they are enacted by people’s favorite actors and actresses. Moviegoers are accustomed to seeing beautiful, frequently barely clothed women playing damsels in distress or lovers are torn between duty and love. At such a crucial time when the demands for women’s empowerment have been at an all-time high, it becomes imperative for entertainers to create content that does not subscribe to regressive ideas of society.
Luckily the role of a woman on the big screen has been evolving steadily over time. She used to be merely utilized on screen for ornamentation, but the big screen has been witnessing change recently, and women have come a long way in the movie business. Female characters have frequently been employed as a tool for masculine characters to guide and drive the picture in their path. Sometimes, the female character is only employed to support the male character and is not given any attention. Sadly, a lot of Bollywood movies fit this description. Currently, some filmmakers have finally flipped the script and given women the spotlight. It’s amazing to see how Hindi cinema has evolved over time, adapting to reality and attempting to depict the shifting tides of time, culture, and influences.
Bollywood Films Highlighting Women Character
Women in movies are no longer merely a visual pleasure; they are now performing crucial parts that have had a significant impact both on and off the screen. Fortunately, there has been a wave of movies that feature the female actress as the protagonist while keeping the male actors on the sideline. This is a list of movies that manage to do just that in a tasteful manner.
1. English Vinglish (2003)
Some stories are simply too wonderful to be true, and ‘English Vinglish’ is one of them. A typical tale of a housewife named Shashi Godbole, as portrayed by the legendary Sridevi, is the subject of this Gauri Shinde-directed film. The narrative expertly illustrates the importance of a mother and how a wife can be treated poorly by her husband and children if she doesn’t speak English well.
As any human being would be, she is hurt. In the US, she learns the language and, despite proving her family incorrect and turning the tables on them, continues to be a lovely housewife as always. A compelling tale that can’t help but move you.
2. Queen (2013)
There are some stories that provide the much-needed feel-good factor and thus just had that. Kangana Ranaut was the star of this film. Vijay, played by Rajkummar Rao, had only one task in the film: refusing to marry Rani a day before their wedding. This action forced Rani to travel to Paris and Amsterdam alone for her prearranged honeymoon, and what came next was an exploration and identity-formation adventure.
She encounters various individuals and discovers fresh perspectives on life while traveling the globe. She returns having transformed, ready to live her life on her terms. Queen undeniably set the way for contemporary women-centric Bollywood movies.
3. Mary Kom (2014)
The remarkable life of Indian boxer M.C. Mary Kom, who brought India considerable international recognition, is mentioned in the movie “Mary Kom.” The story masterfully takes us through the life of the acclaimed professional boxer as she is beautifully portrayed by the talented Priyanka Chopra.
All the difficulties she had to overcome in order to succeed in her job are what distinguish this movie. The understanding displayed by Kom’s husband and her is exactly what many people require today. We also get to observe how she makes a triumphant comeback following her marriage and childbirth.
4. Mardaani (2014)
If the male population has Chulbul Pandey as the cop who can save the world, Rani Mukherji’s Shivani Shivaji Roy is the feminine equivalent. Shivani looks into and dismantles a human trafficking ring.
It’s fascinating that she works at the office bureau with virtually exclusively male coworkers who don’t overshadow her. Her husband (played by Jisshu Sengupta) is also a supporting character, as is the antagonist (played by Tahir Raj Bhasin). Rani Mukherjee’s performance merits all acclaim and accolades.
5. Astitva (2000)
What about a film that demonstrates the male chauvinist tradition in our nation? Although we frequently use this phrase, Mahesh Manjrekar actually directed the excellent 2000 film “Astitva,” which starred Tabu. The movie only raises the problem of domestic abuse and extramarital affairs, both of which are common yet taboo topics for women to discuss.
You are introduced to Aditi Shrikant Pandit’s (Tabu) tale in the film as she searches for her own identity outside of her purportedly happy marriage. Finally, she takes a risk and separates from her husband and son with the assistance of her soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Namrata Shirodkar, who ends up leaving her lover as well. This counts as an actual win-win situation.
6. Bandit Queen (1994)
You are bound to get chills in the best possible way while watching this movie that showcases the life of the dacoit, Phoolan Devi. A woman who battled every male, from police to gangsters who previously devastated her life, is shown in the film as played by Seema Biswas.
She defeats these strong men, as is demonstrated. Based on the memoir India’s Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi by Mala Sen, this Shekhar Kapoor movie tells the true story of the bandit queen.
7. Pink (2016)
This film raised the issue of consent, which demands discussion. Many people struggle to understand the meaning of the word “No,” and this is what the film “Pink” aims to bring to light. Amitabh Bachchan, who plays the retired lawyer, asks a lot of awkward but necessary questions. The plot is really about women, particularly Taapsee Pannu.
Additionally, of all women in the nation. The movie makes it abundantly evident that one should not judge a woman by the way she lives and that a man cannot compel a woman when she has clearly rejected his advances. Amitabh Bachchan puts on the advocate hat and defends the females in court against boys who come from wealthy, powerful families.
8. Mirch Masala (1987)
There is a good chance of you being unaware of this movie, but Ketan Mehta’s “Mirch Masala” tells the story of Sonbai, a regular woman from a village who decides to refuse the requests of powerful authorities. Smitha Patil flawlessly took upon the role of Sonbai. You also have a story about another woman, played by Deepti Naval, who is the sarpanch’s wife.
She is a woman who rebels against her own husband in order to educate her own daughters. While this may seem like a typical story to you now, it was published during a period when a woman standing up for their rights was a big issue.
9. No One Killed Jessica (2011)
The Jessica Lal murder case genuinely stunned the country. Based on a true story, this movie tells the story of Sabrina Lal (Vidya Balan), who battles the powerful and affluent individuals responsible for her sister’s murder. On the other hand, there is also Rani Mukerji, who portrays a journalist who aids Sabrina in every way she can. Check out this one.
Indian moviegoers are becoming more interested in the substance of the plot rather than how many things the star’s face appears on, resulting in a wider range of roles for females.
“The audience has grown more accepting of good content, and as we witness more powerful women taking on leadership roles in all walks of life, we are also willing to embrace a film with a woman as the main character.”