Do we often celebrate the women around us? Maybe, maybe not! 8th March of every year is celebrated as International Women’s Day where we thank the women in our life, pamper them and make a silent promise to be good to them. Womanhood is complex. It comes with varied emotions, responsibilities and baggage. But women also have a special power to handle it all. Understanding and decoding the complexities of women can be hard. But a handful number of filmmakers have done it perfectly. There have been very few but remarkable Bollywood movies that celebrate the spirit of womanhood. Keep scrolling to check out the list:
Hindi film Queen breaks societal stereotypes into pieces. A woman is always told that she needs a man to take care of her. She is told at a very early age that she is bound to get married and raise a family. Kangana Ranaut starrer film shattered all norms. After her fiance ditched her right before the wedding, the girl went on with her plans and traveled abroad all by herself which was supposed to be her honeymoon. It’s a film about choices, individuality, standing for oneself, and being a queen of your own world.
2. English Vinglish
Let’s all agree that housewives are not appreciated and respected as much as they should be! Husband, children, in-laws– all of them combined take the woman for granted. Director Gauri Shinde, with her observations, made English Vinglish, starring Sridevi in the lead role. It’s the story of an Indian homemaker living abroad with a lack of English speaking skills. Her husband and children feel ashamed of her and never give her credit for everything she does for them. The inspirational film takes us on a heartwarming journey of this woman who overcomes her drawbacks, gains confidence and manages to maintain her dignity.
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The issue of domestic violence has been touched upon by several filmmakers over the years. However, Anubhav Sinha looked beyond the surface and explored the crux of the problem. A couple living a happily married life finds itself in turbulence when the man slaps his wife one odd night. Is one slap enough to end the marriage? The film revolves around this one question and the consequences that come with its answer. This film features Taapsee Pannu in the lead role with Dia Mirza playing a supporting role.
4. Lipstick Under My Burkha
Women have fantasies too! Women crave sex too! Women deserve freedom too! Shh! Did I just say it out loud? Sorry, but not sorry! Prakash Jha was applauded when he made the Lipstick Under My Burkha and with his film, he said everything that isn’t said out loud often! The film shows the secret lives of four women who are in search of their freedom. A 55-year-old widow who loves to read erotic pulp fiction novel and has a secret young lover with whom she talks on phone but has never met or disclosed her age. A woman from an Islamic family where Burkha is the way of life, but she likes to wear modern clothes and make-up, and fulfills her desires when she visits her college. A woman who struggles as a saleswoman during the day and deals with her sexually dominating husband during the night who forbids the use of contraceptives which leads to multiple abortions. The fourth is a beautician who wants to flee with her lover and travel the world. This film gives a true essence of who women are and what they want!
There’s a thing about women! They can be scared but act brave! This bravery amid fear is a lesser-known trait of women. Raazi is a spy thriller film based on a true account of a 20-year-old RAW agent who, upon her father’s request, is married into a family of military officers in Pakistan to relay information to India, before the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Directed by Meghna Gulzar, this film features Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal in the lead roles.
Our society expects women to act in a certain way. Any deviation from the set norms makes a woman “slut”, a “femi-naazi”, a person not acceptable to society anymore! Pink is a legal thriller film revolving around three independent women living together in Delhi. These three women meet three affluent men and have some drinks together. As the night progresses, one of the three men is injured and rushed to the hospital while these women go back to their apartment. This follows revenge, blackmailing and a courtroom drama where women are questioned and framed. This film fights the thought that women are stereotyped as prostitutes if they come home late, move out, want to be independent, drink and so on, but none of these apply to men. “No means no”, is what the film teaches.
Neerja is a biographical thriller film directed by Ram Madhvani, featuring Sonam Kapoor in the lead role. This film is based on a real-life event when an Indian plane was hijacked in Karachi and a 23-year-old flight attendant Neerja Bhanot sacrificed her life while trying to help save the passengers and crew. This film showcases the courage and valor of a young woman and inspires us to bring out the same in us.
8. Mary Kom
Mary Kom is a biographical sports film based on the life of accomplished Indian boxer Mary Kom. It showcases how the daughter of a rice farmer from Imphal finds her passion in boxing, trains hard for years and becomes world champion. After the marriage, she gets pregnant and gives up her career to look after her family. After quitting boxing, she sooner learns that people no longer recognize her. Her husband motivates her to return to boxing. This film is a story of passion, hard work, downfall and coming back strong. This film serves as an inspiration to all women who struggle between family and career.
If you haven’t watched these films yet, add them to your watchlist right away. And if you have already watched these, it’s time to rewatch them.
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