If the last couple of months in Bollywood are anything to go by, women centric films are here to stay. With the recent Sonam Kapoor starrer Neerja getting rave reviews and more such films hitting the theatres this year, on Women’s Day, we explore how filmmakers have become more confident about casting women playing solo lead roles in their films.
Filmmaker Omung Kumar, whose biopic on Indian boxer Mary Kom, starring actor Priyanka Chopra, was critically appreciated, is now ready with his next directorial, which will see actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan play a pivotal role. Talking about female actors carrying a film entirely on their own, Kumar says, “People’s minds have opened up and they have started accepting new things. In the last two years, such films have started working. Why should a male actor be the only one pulling off a film on his own? Even a female actor can do it.”
Actor Divya Dutta, who is known for her versatile roles in content driven films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Badlapur, thinks that letting women take charge of the film is a risk that filmmakers are willing to take these days. “Choosing female centric roles is a very bold choice. But I would also like to give credit to directors for thinking out of the box and the audience for lauding the efforts.”
However, filmmaker Prakash Jha’s recently released film, Jai GangaaJal, which has Priyanka playing a tough cop, says that a lot depends on the story of the film. “I did not write the story of my film thinking that I want a female centric plot. My story demanded that I should cast an actress. These days, the stories liked by the audience are driven by female actors,” says Jha.
Actor Raveena Tandon feels that the recent change in filmmaking has only done good for the film industry. “The landscape of Bollywood has changed. Filmmakers are focusing on women oriented movies. No leading actress would have done what Priyanka did in Mary Kom. These changes are good. The makers, actors and the audience... the film industry has changed for good,” says the actor.