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.

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A wake up call against honour killings

‘A pair of star-crossed lovers take their lives’ – excerpt from William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy ‘Romeo-Juliet’

William Shakespeare was the first author to highlight the issue of honor killings in his romantic tragedy – Romeo & Juliet. Despite aware of their warring families, their children fall in love only to die horrifying death. The circumstances force the lovers to end their lives on a tragic note. Even today, love marriages are not acceptable, especially in India. Though Romeo-Juliet’s story ended with suicide of lovers, but today’s young lovers are killed miserably by their parents. This heinous action is termed as ‘Honour killings’.

The recent 2016 Marathi motion picture – Sairat highlighted inter-caste marriage and honour killings. The movie was applauded by both critics as well as audiences. A fisherman’s son Parshya falls for Archi, a politician’s daughter. Obviously, this relationship is not accepted by the politician. The lovers elope, rebel and get married secretly. The climax ends on a disturbing note when the girl’s family kills both Parshya and Archi. Movie – Sairat is inspired by several honour killings case. Even today inter-caste love is a taboo in India. Every year several lovers are brutally murdered somewhere in the name of honor killings. According to statistics, 1000 honour killing cases are reported every year in India. Though love starts on a happy note, it definitely ends on a violent note in India. Even after several years of independence, our people are still stuck to false honors, customs, religion and traditions.

In countries like U.S, children are left free at age of 16 by their parents. They are free to choose their partner. Once the son completes his graduation in U.S, he is gifted a car by his father. There is open-mindedness among parents and children in foreign nations. Even a girl is given freedom to choose her partner. She can learn, travel and party freely with her friends. But in a conservative family of India, a girl has to reach home by 7 pm. Even if she unmistakably decides to marry a boy of a different caste, either the girl is severely thrashed or the boy is kidnapped and beaten to death. For a family in India, their honour is greater than their child’s happiness. They would prefer to kill their daughter, but never sacrifice their emotions for their child. This is grim fact that honor is greater than emotions in rural and urban areas of India.

The most shocking case of honour killings occurred in India in 2007. A newly wed lovers – Manoj and Babli were kidnapped and brutally murdered by the girl’s family. Manoj and Babli had rebelled against their families and got married. Even the boy’s family was against this relationship. The killing of this couple was ordered by a khap Panchayat, a religious based council in rural villages of Haryana. Though the accused were arrested, but the lovers paid a high price at the cost of their lives. Especially in rural areas of India, such heinous judgments are passed by the Panchayat. I strongly feel that law system should take severe actions against honour killings and put a stop to these violent brutalities.

The 2015 movie – NH10 was loosely inspired by Manoj and Babli honour killing case in which couple witness an honour killing. Though the couple tries to protest against the incident, the killers become hell bent to kill their witnesses. The 2012 Yashraj movie – Ishaqzaade was based on inter-caste love conflict where the couple shoot each other to avoid falling in hands of their blood thirsty families. Even the 2010 movie – Aakrosh focused on topic of honour killings. The most recent movie on honour killings was the Marathi movie – Sairat.

Strict laws on such actions like honour killings will take time to implement in our country. Even if the laws are passed against such crimes, every year somewhere innocent lovers will be killed. My article is just a reminder of the horror crimes happening in our society. It won’t change the system.

The real courage lies in letting your children choose their soul mate. It takes guts for a kind hearted father like amrish puri to let his  daughter simran run away with her raj. 

‘Jaa beti, jee le apni zindagi’ – lines from movie ‘ddlj’