Ask filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar about the new portrayal of the gun-toting, expletive-mouthing village girl in Bollywood, and he says, “Cinema is changing.” Truly, the small-town girl is no longer depicted as coy or subservient to their male counterparts.”
This year, Parineeti Chopra played the fearless Zoya in Ishaqzaade. Richa Chadda also played Sardar Khan’s brazen, outspoken wife in Gangs of Wasseypur. And not too long ago, Sonakshi Sinha made her debut in Dabangg (2010) as a village girl with a strong personality. Before that, Deepika Padukone played a freedom fighter from small-town India in Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (2010).
Habib Faisal, director of Ishaqzaade says, “We all know that in reality, women are as strong as men, and it was long overdue that they get equal importance. It’s nice that the audience is favouring this.” Ask trade analyst Amod Mehra what he thinks of the small-town girl going bold and he says, “I think Judaai (1997) was a turning point of sorts in cinema. Sridevi played a simple girl who sold her husband (Anil Kapoor) for money. No one wants to see girls cry and be dependent. They want to see someone strong and confident.”
Filmmaker Ramesh Taurani agrees, saying, “The trend has been around since Mother India (1957), which actually brought in the bold woman.” Madhur adds, “Mostly, there are male-oriented films, so when a woman gets a strong character, she goes all out. Girls today are edgy, and if filmmakers show this, it’s considered a great move. Also, these actors don’t mind abusing on-screen or even beating up boys and using pistols. The trend is here to stay, and if anything, it will only grow further.”