It won’t be incorrect to say that Vidya Balan’s The Dirty Picture (2011) and Kahaani (2012) started the trend of women-centric films in Bollywood. It has become more common for actresses to take up challenging, offbeat roles ever since.
Priyanka Chopra in and as Mary Kom.
While Kangana Ranaut’s performance in Queen garnered acclaim last year, Priyanka Chopra’s Mary Kom (2014), Deepika Padukone’s Finding Fanny (2014) and Anushka Sharma’s NH10 also earned praise.
Deepika and Arjun in a still from Finding Fanny.
Interestingly, Bollywood filmmakers who were known for their male-oriented films, have also started coming up with more women-centric projects now.
When asked how the trend has changed, people from the industry have multiple opinions. “The protagonist, whether male or female, can’t determine a film’s success. What works is the content. Kangana can deliver a hit like Queen, and then a dud like Revolver Rani (2014) too. If Ranbir Kapoor can have a successful Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), then he can also go on to do a flop like Besharam (2014). The factors that determine the fate of a film are not just star-centric,” says exhibitor Akshaye Rathi, who feels the industry needs to “stop analysing male and female power in films”.
Trade expert Amul Mohan agrees with Rathi. “Since women-centric films are working these days, and the audience is getting attracted to them, the differentiation has come up,” he says.
Even the coming months will see several women-centric films release, including Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s comeback film, Jazbaa, a biopic on Neerja Bhanot, among others.
Trade expert Taran Adarsh says, “There are other films like these in the making. The mindset of the industry is changing.”