Femme fatales are here to change your notion about Bollywood being male dominated. In a departure from the norms, at least four big Bollywood movies have taken the bold step to not just lead with a woman as the central character but also highlight them on the publicity posters. While Bipasha Basu’s latest release Raaz 3 that also stars Emraan Hashmi did a good opening this Friday, all eyes are now on Kareena Kapoor’s Heroine releasing on September 21. Preity Zinta’s Ishkq In Paris on October 5 and Rani Mukerji’s Aiyaa on October 12, follow.
Trade pundits see this as a positive trend. "The audience has become intelligent as now they don’t watch a film just for the hero. Instead, they swear by the content," says Taran Adarsh, trade analyst.
Vidya Balan seems to have set the ball rolling with solo hits such as No One Killed Jessica, Kahaani and her national award winning The Dirty Picture. "Indeed Vidya set this trend, otherwise filmmakers were wary of taking female actors as lead in their films.Because Bollywood mein picture chalti hain aur trend banta hai… agar flop hui to back to square one," says film expert Atul Mohan.
The male counterparts in these movies, barring Emraan Hashmi in Raaz 3 who is an equally big name, are not just missing from the promotional activities but also from the publicity material. "The male actors knew well before signing these films that the heroine is going to hog all the limelight and they’ll have to take the backseat. This is the reason why they are missing from the scene," adds Mohan. "I didn’t even know Arjun Rampal also stars in Heroine," says media professional Aakriti Sharma, referring to Madhur Bhandarkar’s flick that focusses solely on Kareena Kapoor.
TV actor Rehan who is paired opposite Preity, and Malayalam actor Prithviraj who plays the male lead opposite Rani, remain as much in oblivion. Raaz 3, too, was sold as a Bipasha-starrer until the distributors raised objection and fresh publicity material was released giving due emphasis to Emraan Hashmi. "I am humbled that there’s a demand for my solo posters too," says Hashmi.
"It is as much Bipasha’s film as it is Emraan’s," maintains the director of Raaz 3, Vikram Bhatt.
"I’m glad we are no longer being seen as mere showpieces," says Kareena.