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Queen, Gulaab Gang, Highway: Women in Indian cinema are finally claiming their rightful place

Filmmakers are taking the risk to cast women in leading roles, giving the hero some time to cool off on the stands.

Shomini Sen | IBNLive.comshominisen

Updated:March 21, 2014, 11:03 AM IST
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Queen, Gulaab Gang, Highway: Women in Indian cinema are finally claiming their rightful place
Filmmakers are taking the risk to cast women in leading roles, giving the hero some time to cool off on the stands.

New Delhi: Men, kindly take note. The women in Indian cinema tasted blood and they won't be satisfied with being just an arm candy anymore. In a male dominated industry, where a hero brings in the audience to the theatre every Friday, filmmakers are seemingly taking the risk to cast women in leading roles, giving the quintessential hero some time to cool off on the stands.

From 'Dedh Ishqiya' to 'Gulaab Gang' to the latest 'Queen'- films now are being narrated from a woman's perspective and giving Bollywood new lease of life. The trend which began in 2011 with Milan Luthria's 'Dirty Picture' and continued in 2012 with 'English Vinglish' and 'Kahaani' has slowly now found its comfortable place in the milieu of films that are churned out every year in Bollywood.

The characters are varied but each somehow is more relatable and celebrate womanhood. From the brazen yet insecure Silk to the rich girl who just wants to build a house in 'Highway', the characters are now far more interesting and definitely not the usual cardboard cut-outs that the filmmakers used to earlier resort to.

But putting women in the forefront doesn't mean that the story or the plot has to be compromised. From love stories to thrillers to coming of age saga all are still there- just with a woman character playing the central role. Vishal Bhardwaj left us thinking about Para's and Munia's love story at the end of 'Dedh Ishqiya'; we regaled with Rani in 'Queen' as she danced her heart out at a night club in Paris celebrating her new found freedom, felt anxious with Vidya in 'Kahaani' as she looked for her missing husband in the streets of Kolkata- and strangely the absence of the typical hero never really came in our mind.

And not all films have women playing the positive character. If a woman can be all white, she can be menacingly black as well like the shrewd politician Juhi Chawla played in 'Gulaab Gang'. While earlier films had the patriarch opposing the match of two lovers, now the matriarch (Supriya Pathak in 'Goliyon Ki Rasleel Ram Leela) opposes her daughter's lover and is more keen to safeguard her family's honour.

The roles are reversing clearly. Be it Bollywood or in real life. Women are slowly taking equal share in society and while the usual films based on super stars and their machismo make 100 crores in Box Office; women-centric films are also slowly making their place in the industry.

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