Deepika Padukone has been enjoying a dream run in Bollywood. She has even ventured into Hollywood this year. Now, a news report suggests that she has become the highest-paid actress in B-Town, as she is set to earn Rs 12.65 crore for her new film Padmavati.
Apart from the money, of late Bollywood actresses have been taking centre stage in several other spheres too — be it playing central roles in films, or delivering award-winning performances in women-centric projects.
Time for change
This year’s first woman-centric film was Sonam Kapoor’s Neerja, in which she played the protagonist’s role. Now, she is preparing for Veere Di Wedding, which also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan, Swara Bhaskar and Shikha Talsania. Even Sonakshi Sinha is ready for the release of her action film Akira. Alia Bhatt will be seen in Dear Zindagi, which also stars Shah Rukh Khan. The film will see her in a pivotal role. Besides that, Kangana Ranaut will star in female-oriented films such as Simran and Rani Lakshmibai.
Alia feels that now is a great time to be an actress in B-Town. “It is such a lovely time to be part of films that give so much importance to characters. It is no longer only about the love story between a hero and a heroine. For instance, no one would have imagined me working with Shah Rukh in Gauri Shinde’s film. But obviously, there’s a story that has brought us together,” she says.
Meanwhile, Sonam hopes that this new trend will also challenge the notion that two mainstream actresses can’t work together. “If we can have films such as Andaz Apna Apna (1994), Karan Arjun (1995), Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), then why can’t we have a film like Veere Di Wedding? Such films comment on the direction our industry is headed in,” she says.
Experts believe that the change that started with The Dirty Picture (2011) and Kahaani (2012) gained momentum last year with films such as Queen, Piku and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. In fact, last year also saw Angry Indian Goddesses, which had an all-female cast, receive a lot of acclaim.
“Things are changing fast. All kinds of orthodox opinions have become outdated. No one thinks, ‘This film is about a woman, so, let’s not watch it.’ If it is a good film, it will work. We have examples such as Queen, Piku and even Kahaani in front of us,” says trade expert Taran Adarsh, adding that Deepika “deserves” whatever price she gets.
Bollywood director Sabbir Khan, who launched Kriti Sanon, and worked with Shraddha Kapoor in Baaghi, says, “Women, today, are breaking every stereotype created by men in every field. So, why just discuss the movies they are doing? The acceptance of women as equals or superiors has been long overdue.”
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