By Vani Krishnan
With the changing times, we’re witnessing more women-centric films are being made currently and are surprisingly doing very well at the box office. Why is that so? Why weren’t there more of such movies screened at the box office in earlier days? Our Indian society is undergoing a constant change. The present, contemporary roles which women are portrayed in are the ones the audience is able to empathize with. In other words, the society is now primed to accept potent female characters shown in the limelight. Gone are those days where movies were screened with female roles being restricted to either being ‘supportive’ to the husband or being ‘feeble !’ With the increase in ‘women empowerment’ and ‘feminism’ talk in the air nowadays, the audience has begun to be more receptive more accepting. Not just that, with women, no longer submitting to mainstream, conventional roles they were earlier tagged to, we see a contemporary era emerge in Bollywood where viewers have begun to appreciate and see meaning in this purposive change.
Nonetheless, what ever change the society has undergone, the industry is still in the stage of evolution. This can be further elaborated through a simple question. Why isn’t a film starring a male actor termed to be a ‘male-oriented’ movie? Various films like Begum Jaan, Neerja, Hichki, Naam Shabana to name a few, were titled as ‘women-centric’ giving an impression of it to be differential or abnormal. ‘October’ or ‘Raid’ were never labeled as ‘male-oriented.’ There should come a time where films should be stripped off such labels and films top lining female actors be quoted as a ‘film’ instead of giving it the rubber stamp of a ‘women-centric film!’ Due to this very reason, the actresses of the current movie ‘Veere Di Wedding’ stated that it is #NotaChickFlick. Every movie which turns the spotlight on actresses needn’t be pirouetting feminism or supporting women. This is yet another reason why such women-centered movies are being frequently produced nowadays.
Another distinct example of the dynamic industry is the gender ratio. Over and above 40% – 50% of the industry crew are women today. We witness innumerable female scriptwriters, directors, producers, actresses coming to the forefront with the hope to provide the audience with modernistic perspectives. Sonam Kapoor (actress of Neerja), Rhea Kapoor (Producer of Veere Di Wedding), Alankrita Shrivastava (writer and director of Lipstick Under My Bhurka) aim to bring forth films with more innovative, zealous, resolute and elaborative female-centric characters.
Every film, be it women-centered or not, is screened with an objective to imbibe a valuable lesson amongst its onlookers. Films like ‘Raazi’ and ‘Neerja’ breaks the stereotypical, clichéd way the female gender has been depicted in preceding times. Bravery, sacrifice and indomitable determination are the words that can be utilized to define the roles played by them. Likewise, the films ‘Queen,’ (Kangana Ranaut) ‘Mary Kom’ (Priyanka Chopra) and ‘English Vinglish’ (Sridevi Kapoor) portrays independence. Oh and not to forget Mother India.
Last but not the least, female-oriented films tend to rapt the attention of the audience. This is successfully evident through the exceptional box office ratings!