The rise of feminine power in movies

Neerja Bhanot’s biopic in 2016 showcased the underestimated feminine power of an ordinary flight attendant who not only saved the lives of passengers on board, but also sacrificed her life defending the terrorists. Not only the audience loved the movie, but also applauded the story and the performance. The recent movies like ‘Pink’, ‘Naam Shabana’ , ‘Phillauri’ were all about the various shades of feminine spirit. Some were courageous, lovable, unsung and some even waiting for love after life. Bollywood has definitely started recognizing the role of feminine power in movies.

Priyanka Chopra as Mary Kom in the sports biopic

An actress is no longer an oppressed victim or an eye candy. She is a fearless hero in herself who can overshadow even a celebrated star. It is not that Bollywood hasn’t made women-centric movies. There are countless movies dedicated to feminine spirit. Classic movies like ‘Pakeezah’, Sujata’, ‘Mera Saaya’, ‘Sharmilee’, ‘Seeta aur Geeta’ were testimony to the several faces of womanhood. The 90’s movie – Damini directed by Rajkumar Santoshi was a cult movie which highlighted the struggle of a woman to seek justice for her maid who was brutally raped. Since 90’s movies were all stuffed with item songs, action and comedy, there was no place for woman oriented cinema.

Neerja showcased the extraordinary courage of an ordinary girl

Yashraj Films gave a new lease of life to feminine power with the sports movie – Chak de featuring Shahrukh Khan as coach for women hockey team. Inspired by a true story, Chak de India recognized the unsung power of femininity. Not just movies, but even television has shown some of the inspiring serials. In late 80’s, actress Kavita Chaudhary came up with an inspiring TV show – Udaan which was based on life of Kiran Bedi, the courageous female cop. Even Rajni, a popular TV show on Doordarshan was based on an ordinary house wife who solves the issues happening in society. The 2011 movie – Dirty Picture exposed the dirty side of cinema and the story of an actress who will go to any lengths to find her mark in the movie world. This movie was based on Silk, a forgotten actress of South movies. Though Dirty Picture was a successful at box-office, the bold theme was not meant for family audience.

Phillauri was an entertaining movie focused around a ghost bride

In today’s society, a stud is admired for his flamboyant skills, but the same admiration doesn’t apply for a tomboy natured girl who has too many male colleagues in her social circle. She is labeled as a slut. What a low-leveled mindset of today’s society !! The movie Pink highlighted the dark truth of today’s 21st century women and how they are subjected to molestation, verbal harassment if they don’t agree to the lusty demands of spoilt aristocratic boys. Pink was a hard hitting movie highlighting the plight of girls staying in Delhi. The upcoming movie – Maatr will see actress Raveena Tandon as an avenger seeking vengeance on the people responsible for raping and killing her daughter. The 1998 movie – Dushman starring Kajol was based on Hollywood movie – Eye for an Eye. A brilliant projection of feminine spirit, it showed Kajol avenging the death of her twin sister who is killed by a psychopath. Other woman oriented movies like Chandni Bar, Astitva, Satta were topical and highlighted the struggle of woman for her identity. It is not that woman oriented movies have to be just serious. It can be a rom-com too. Movies like Aisha, Jab we Met, Hasee toh Phasee showed the jovial side of femininity. The Sonam Kapoor starrer – Aisha was based on Jane Austen’s best-selling novel – Emma, a match maker who ends up messing the lives of her friends by choosing a wrong partner for them and confusion erupts.

Naam Shabana is story of a undercover field agent

Now the dynamics of movie making has changed recently. Movies like ‘No one killed Jessica’, ‘Piku’, ‘Jab We Met’, ‘Highway’, ‘Neerja’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Mary Kom’ , ‘Mardaani’, ‘Akira’, ‘NH10’ have strong content focusing on female power. The recently released movie – Naam Shabana is loosely inspired on life of a real field agent. Even the romantic comedy ‘Phillauri’ featuring Anushka Sharma as the ghost bride is winning the hearts of audiences’ worldwide. The upcoming movies – Maatr, Noor, Mom, Begum Jaan are all topical showcasing the different strength of women coming from various walks of life.

Sonakshi Sinha will be portraying role of an aspiring journalist in upcoming movie – Noor

Bollywood is all geared to come up with more topical movies which will not only be entertaining, but also focus on the feminine power that was trampled by egoistic masculine star power. There will be a time when audience won’t need any Dabanng hero anymore. A powerful story will be enough to attract the audience to theatres.

Chak De India!! – A quest for victory

‘Chak de India’ epitomizes sportsmanship, will, courage, hardwork and guts to beat out the opponents. Not just an energetic yell to pep up fallen spirits, but also to prove that you are the best than others. The dream that Hockey player Dhyanchand had cherished for hockey is on brink of extinction. Despite having so many talented sportsmen in India, the sports association is blind eyed to the aspiring youngsters who desire to represent India in Olympics. The 2007 motion picture – Chak de India centers on hockey and the malicious politics happening in Indian hockey federation.

The movie is not just about hockey, it is about sportsmanship. Regardless of which sports you play, you play it with discipline, heart and conviction. A disgraced hockey coach Kabir Khan (played brilliantly by Shahrukh Khan) makes a comeback from a long hiatus to coach a woman hockey team for Olympics. As he handpicks a team of young girls from different states, he realizes that it is important to bind them together to represent India for Olympics. The more he tries to arouse sportsmanship spirit in girls, more they refuse to come together due to their egos. To add more odds to the story, the girls in team are not even skillful enough to compete with junior hockey players. The coach becomes harsh on his team to arouse a spirit in them to play but only to get sacked by the team he had selected. Movie comes on a turning point when Kabir Khan resigns from the post and takes his team for a farewell lunch. Here he witnesses the unity of girls when they confront a bunch of goons who are trying to harass them. The girls not only fight, but also show their united spirit. How he brings them together to win Olympic medal for hockey and retains his honor forms the crux of the story.

There were sports movies on football, cricket, boxing but not a single movie on hockey. Director Shimit Amin and writer Jaideep Sahni came together to create a new epic movie in genre of sports. It was first time that Yashraj films has touched a new topic – hockey. Hollywood has successful sports movies in its portfolio but there are very less movies on sports in Bollywood.

Chak de India is a refreshing foray in sports genre and exposes the dirty politics happening in sports federation and how a passionate hockey coach thwarts the criticism and brings hockey back in spotlight. Shahrukh as the sober coach brought more realism to his role and made the story believable. It is his best performance that took his acting career to great heights. Especially the sattar minute dialogue in the movie is highly inspiring. When we see a sports movie, a coach and an underdog team is always the regular premise, but in Chak de India, the story is about the aspiring girls who are always treated inferior and considered underrated by the society and family too. How the girls give a tough time to men’s hockey team and bag the Olympic medal by defeating various countries is best to seen on the silver screen. Chak de India is not just about hockey, it is about making your dreams true no matter what the cost. When I feel a need to get motivated, I definitely listen to the title track of this movie which simply infuses a new energy to start off my goal on a positive note. I relate a lot to the character Kabir Khan played by Shahrukh khan because whenever people tried to write me off I have made an attempt to make a comeback with a vengeance.

I have also fallen, stood up and stumbled again to make my mark. Life is all about falling, stumbling and rising again with a new determination. No matter how worse the criticism may be, just utter ‘Chak de’ and head on.

I hope someday that a biopic will be made on renowned hockey player – Dhyanchand who took hockey game to great heights with his sportsmanship. Even Hitler was impressed with his sportsmanship that he had offered him a job in his army. Such was the dynamism of Dhyanchand. I was little upset to know that a biopic on M.S.Dhoni has already hit the screens while not a single director has come up to make a biopic on Dhyanchand. The motivational cry ‘Chak de’ is all about hitting back even after you are fallen.

If you liked Chak De India, do watch Lagaan, Rocky, Remember the titans, Goal, Gridiron gang, Invisible.

Chak de !!