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Female protagonists set to rule B-town

Women-centric themes seem to have caught Bollywood’s fancy yet again, whether it is Priyanka Chopra’s Saat Khoon Maaf orSonam Kapoor’s Aisha. The big question, however, remains: will these movies go on to become hits?

entertainment Updated: May 28, 2010 12:13 IST

Priyanka ChopraWomen-centric themes seem to have caught Bollywood’s fancy yet again, whether it is Priyanka Chopra’s Saat Khoon Maaf, Sonam Kapoor’s Aisha, Kareena Kapoor-Kajol’s Stepmom remake or Rani Mukerji-Vidya Balan-starrer No One Killed Jessica. The big question, however, remains: will these movies go on to become hits.

Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, Priyanka’s Saat Khoon Maaf is based on Ruskin Bond’s story Susanna’s Seven Husbands, about a woman who kills her seven spouses.

“It’s too early to speak about Saat Khoon Maaf but it will be a very unique film for sure,” said Priyanka. “One of the toughest characters of my life... so scared... don’t know how I’ll pull it off.”

Sonam’s Aisha, an adaptation of the popular Jane Austen’s novel, Emma, about the perils of misconstrued romance, also revolves around the female protagonist’s life.

Then there is Karan Johar’s remake of Hollywood movie Stepmom, a heart-warming tale of two women. The Hindi remake stars Kareena, Kajol and Arjun Rampal in the lead and is being directed by Siddharth Malhotra.

Mani Ratnam’s much awaited film Raavan stars two men — Abhishek Bachchan and southern star Vikram. But it is Aishwarya Rai who is being described by her co-stars as the ‘hero’ of the film. “Aishwarya is the hero in Raavan,” said Abhishek. Vikram too had the same words for the former Miss World.

One-film old Rajkumar Gupta’s No One Killed Jessica has also hogged the media limelight. Starring Vidya and Rani, it is inspired by the 1999 murder of model Jessica Lall.

Apart from these so-called biggies, debutant Tarun Dhanrajgir is making Dia on the issue of date rape and he has teamed up with newcomer Shital Shah for the film.

Until now, films with women-centric themes have been few, with most of them failing at the box office. “Women are so under-represented, particularly three-dimensional women. As a female director, I always take female protagonists that are very strong, vibrant and ultimately very truthful,” Britain-based Indian filmmaker Gurinder Chadha said. The success of films such as Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion and Chadha’s recent flick It’s A Wonderful Afterlife may well be a sign that Indian audiences are maturing to a female protagonist taking the reigns.