We’re half way through 2014 and the year in Hindi cinema has been pretty good so far (or so it seems). While Vidya Balan’s promising heroine-centric – Bobby Jasoos will be the first release in the second half of 2014, let’s look back on how the first half of 2014 fared in terms of women oriented Bollywood films…….
2014 had a crackling start with Dedh Ishqiya. Released as a sequel to Ishqiya, the film carried forward the drama in the life’s of Khalujaan and Babban (played by Naseeruddin Shah and Arshard Warsi respectively). The newbie’s to the cast – Madhuri Dixit and Huma Qureshi surprised audiences with their brilliant performances and pleasing camaraderie. Dedh Ishqiya also made a subtle but encouraging statement about LGBT which for long has been uncommon to mainstream Bollywood. Kudos to Madhuri and Huma for accepting the roles and executing it with élan!
Nishta Jain’s ‘Gulabi Gang’ is a true-blue documentary tracing the life of Sampat Pal Devi and her activist movements against women oppression in Uttar Pradesh. The film gained an excellent critical response and was touted as a much better made film than the commercial Madhuri Dixit starrer – Gulaab Gang. The documentary is also a recipient of the National Film Awards.
Gulaab Gang, once again, was unofficially inspired by the life of Sampat Pal Devi. The film was a damp squib at the box office due to its clichéd execution and competition from Kangana Ranaut’s “Queen”, released on the same day. Most of the star cast’s performances were appreciated however; especially Juhi Chawla who looked every bit the menacing power hungry politician.
On Women’s Day released a small budget Kangana Ranaut starrer “Queen” that went on to win hearts across the nation and even internationally. Queen ended up giving Madhuri and Juhi starrer Gulaab Gang, also released on women’s day, a run for their money. The script of a simple heart-broken girl travelling to Paris and Amsterdam and eventually re-discovering herself was heartwarming, and so was Kangana’s performance. In fact, Kangana is already being considered a front runner for all major awards this year. Queen is a must watch for every girl (and the guys too!).
Released in March, Lakshmi dealt with child prostitution, rape and the victim’s undying spirit to change her fate. Directed by critically acclaimed director Nagesh Kukunoor, the film suffered minor censorship delays in its release due to some bold content. Lakshmi starred Indian playback singer turned actress Monali Thakur in the leading role.
Queen had created such a fervor among movie buff’s that Kangana’s next women-centric release –‘Revolver Rani’ was anxiously awaited. Revolver Rani was about a kick-ass female gangster in the land of mafias – Chambal which is mostly dominated by men. The film didn’t quite meet expectations but was nevertheless applauded for Kangana’s brave move of accepting and enacting this crazy wacky character named Alka Singh.
The World Before Her
Nisha Pahuja’s ‘The World Before Her’ saw an Indian theatrical release in June this year. The film projected two groups of women from two different statures belonging to 21st century India, undergoing vastly different training programs. More of a documentary than mainstream cinema; ‘The World Before Her’ won rave reviews for its uniquely realistic concept and hard hitting script.
The second half of 2014 looks equally promising.
Here’s what to Expect……
It is safe to expect a powerful women centric character in any film that stars Vidya Balan. The actress has redefined the role of heroines in Hindi cinema and changed perspectives of a dozen movie goers who thought of heroines as ornamental. Bobby Jasoos releases this weekend.
Trust Rani Mukherji to deliver every single time she is entrusted with an author backed role. Mardaani has Rani Mukherji enacting the role of a tough cop chasing the kingpin of a girl trafficking scam. Slated for an August release ‘Mardaani’ has created quite a stir among movie buffs already; and her character Shivani Shivaji Roy is being very well received.
After bagging every possible ‘Best Actress’ award for Ram Leela, Deepika Padukone sure has proved her acting mettle. In ‘Finding Fanny’, Deepika stars as the leading protagonist; and with Homi Adajania of ‘Being Cyrus’ fame in the directors seat, this one is to watch out for.
Trivia: Rumor has it, Deepika was so impressed with the film’s script that she reduced her asking fee and signed the dotted lines for a percentage of the film’s profit instead.
We are well aware of the charm of ‘Khubsoorat’ (1980) and the wonders it did to Rekha’s career. In 2014, the remake of Khoobsurat is all set to release starring Sonam Kapoor. Expectations will be high from this one, and all eyes will be on Sonam to deliver. But going by Sonam Kapoor’s khoobsurti, apt choice for the role, I’d say.
That’s quite a list of women-centric films to look forward to in the second half of 2014. Going by the quality and success of some of these films so far, 2014 is potential enough to be seen as a progressive year for women in Bollywood. What do you think?
(Note: I do not own any of the pictures displayed in this blog. They have been added for Pictorial representation sake. All text can get boring to read sometimes)