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.

Advertisements

Phillauri – A ghost bride in waiting

‘I see dead people’ is one of the cheesiest lines written by Hollywood writers for M.Night.Shyamalan’s 1998 movie – The Sixth sense. Do ghosts really exist? I won’t go further deep in theory about supernatural elements. Here Shashi Phillauri has decided to become my ghostly muse to free me from my writer’s block. She wanted to see her story featured in my upcoming article. Here I am now writing my exclusive article on Phillauri. After all, I can’t mess with a ghost, especially when the ghost is a hardcore Punjabi Kudi. Here you go baby!!

Kanan, a Canada based Punjabi Munda (played by Suraj Sharma the boy from Life of Pi) returns to his hometown to get hitched to his longtime girlfriend Anu. It is a fairy tale wedding going to happen for the couple. But Kanan can’t marry his sweet heart as he is ‘Manglik’ (according to horoscope a Manglik’s marriage is never prosperous). The only remedy for this astrological hurdle is to get the groom married to a tree. After much insistence, Kanan performs the ritual of getting married to a tree. The real trouble begins for Kanan when he realizes that unknowingly he is married off to a ghost who had made the tree her abode. The ghostly encounter of Kanan with the apparition makes him go crazy.

According to rituals, the tree is chopped off once the Manglik’s marriage is done with the tree. Since the tree is chopped off, the ghost loses her abode and now chases Kanan. The bride ghost ‘Shashi’ starts narrating her story to Kanan and the story moves to pre-independent era in 1919. The movie swings between two timelines – 1919 and 2017. Shashi, a lovely poet from a village called ‘Phillaur’ in Punjab publishes her poem under a pen name which is famous among the readers. (Shashi is Jane Austen of Punjab in this movie) 

Coincidentally, Rooplal a street singer with a heart of Casanova sings the lyrics and poems penned by Shashi little realizing that she is the same girl he has fallen in love with. When he discovers her identity, he promises to return back on Baisakhi festival when he has enough money to get married to her. But destiny has different plans for Shashi. Rooplal never returns. In a fit of depression, Shashi commits suicide by hanging from a tree. Her untimely death turns her into a ghostly bride in waiting (This bride has nothing to do with Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride). Now Shashi can’t get freed from the mortal world. Her quest for long lost love is unfulfilled. Will Shashi find her long lost love? Will Kanan help Shashi to find her long lost love? All these queries will be answered in the 2017 movie – Phillauri. Shashi had strictly ordered me to not write any spoilers about her story.

What fascinated me to watch ‘Phillauri’ was Anushka Sharma. Secondly the premise of story is set in Punjab. My fondness for Punjabi culture, food and beautiful gals was second reason why I wanted to watch it. In terms of storytelling, ‘Phillauri’ is a refreshing change from stereotyped Bollywood rom-coms. The story takes time to grow. It is a novel plot brought on screen. For those who love masala rom-coms won’t sit through the movie. The movie has a poetic feel and is slow paced. The slow-paced narration is the beauty of this story and here the viewer bonds with the tender love story of Shashi and Rooplal.

The look and feel of this movie is timeless. The visual presentation of the 1919 Punjab is breath taking. If you love your roots, you will connect with the story line. The story of this movie is connected with an actual historical incident happened in 1919 on eve of Baisakhi. The infamous incident changes the lives of both Shashi and Rooplal. After so much warning given by my ghostly muse Shashi, I am giving spoilers for this story. (She will literally kill me after reading this review). ‘Phillauri’ has drawn inspirations from several movies (Lovely Bones, If I stay, Invisible, Corpse Bride etc and even a Ruskin Bond short story). Actress Anushka Sharma has donned the hat of producer for her second production venture and hasn’t left any stone unturned to make Phillauri a delightful watch. Apart from Anushka Sharma, Suraj Sharma and Diljit Singh Dosanjh make their presence felt in their sincere performances. After Udta Punjab, Diljit is the new emerging talent in Bollywood. What attracted me in this movie was Mehreen Pirzada, the new fresh talent who shines in her first movie. She plays Anu, the love interest of Suraj Sharma.

Phillauri is a delightful and visually appealing rom-com that is winning the hearts of audience worldwide. This movie is far more entertaining than Paheli and Bhootnath.

If you love watching entertaining ghost movies, then watch the 1992 movie – Chamatkar and 1995 Hollywood movie – Casper. Apart from this recommendations, do watch Demi Moore’s movie – The Ghost which was a cult movie in 90’s.

I want to sincerely thank my ghostly muse Shashi for becoming my inspiration and guide to pen down this story. Inspiration comes in all forms even if it is ghostly. For now, I am freed from my writer’s block. I guess it is time for Shashi to return back to heaven. Hope I have justified her story and I strongly request her to share this review among her ghostly circles. I guess Mark Zuckerberg must have developed a social networking site for ghosts. No wonder it may be called ‘GhostBook’.

Do watch ‘Phillauri’ at theatres near you. You will fall in love with Shashi, the lovely ghost.