The buzz that woman power has created in the film industry is palpable in the present time. In the midst of the third quarter, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that a major portion of the year belonged to the actresses of Bollywood. The positive and strong emergence of a tribe, who so far was being treated purely as a commodity for commercial gain, finally started to get its due with filmmakers carving out well etched out roles that do not show it just as an eye candy.
I was amazed to see Priyanaka Chopra in ‘Barfi!’, where she got out of her glam-doll image to play the role of an autistic girl with such perfection. Even though the film centered around a male protagonist - Ranbir Kapoor who played the lead role of ‘Barfi!’ with brilliance, Priyanka with her unconventional act left a deep impact and I wouldn’t be surprised if, with that kind of superlative acting in the film, she goes on to win another national award after ‘Fashion’.
Priyanka’s acting in ‘Barfi!’ bore some resemblance with what Sridevi did in ‘Sadma’. The former – who ruled the silver screen with films like ‘Chandni’, ‘Mr India’ and ‘Lamhe’ in the late 1980s-early 1990s, was considered as an inspiration for several contemporary actresses. But, the incredibly talented Sridevi was presumed to have gotten lost into oblivion post marriage. It would have been tough for her to make a comeback after nearly 15 years, but she will soon be seen in the lead role in the upcoming film ‘English Vinglish’.
The 49-year-old actress plays the central role of a conservative Indian housewife burdened with an ungrateful family. The story evolves as she rediscovers her self-esteem by sneaking off to English lessons during a visit to New York for a family wedding. ‘English Vinglish’, directed by talented filmmaker R Balki's wife Gauri Shinde made its gala premiere in Toronto international film festival recently to great response.
The power of women in Hindi cinema was felt palpably when Vidya Balan stormed in Bollywood this year with the gripping thriller ‘Kahaani’, after she had already challenged the male dominion at the box office last year with her superhit ‘The Dirty Picture’. The film had a seven-month pregnant heroine as the lead character and without any recognizable stars apart from Vidya, the film managed to earn critical acclaim as well as audience's love. Vidya proved that to deliver a blockbuster one doesn’t always need a hero and even an actress can anchor a film.
Another actress who resurrected her career after facing personal crisis in the recent time is Bipasha Basu. After her past few films failed to find audience, the Bengali beauty perhaps was resolute to strike back as she delivered a hit with horror ‘Raaz 3’. Bipasha while chatting with media said, "Bollywood is very hero centric because they pull in crowds. However, there is a small opening for actresses too and I am happy to be a part of it. People want to have women as protagonists and these are not feminist films. These are interesting stories told where heroines can have substantial roles.”
But the real test of how challenging the times can become in the life of a real actress is answered in the film ‘Heroine’. Shedding her eye candy image, Kareena Kapoor is seen playing one of her strongest roles ever. Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, the critically acclaimed filmmaker will try to unravel the mystery of an actresses’ real life that is often believed to be an antithesis to the screen persona.
‘Heroine’ is going to portray how an actress reaches the top and how her life goes through ups and downs and a lot of catharsis and trauma that one goes through. With Kareena pulling this role convincingly, it is certain that actresses are not just there as props but can have a dream run like any other Khan or Kumar in town.