Bollywood, the Indian film industry, is known for its glitz and glamour, with larger-than-life stories, magnificent sets, and extravagant musical numbers. However, for many years, it has been criticized for its stereotypical portrayal of women. Women in Bollywood movies were often reduced to supporting roles, playing the love interest of the male protagonist, or were objectified as mere eye-candy. Nonetheless, the tide is turning, and a new wave of women-led films is emerging in Bollywood, breaking stereotypes and challenging societal norms.
One such movie that has been a game-changer in this regard is ‘Dangal.’ Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, the film is based on the true story of Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former wrestler, who trains his two daughters to become world-class wrestlers. The film subverts the usual gendered stereotypes, not only by having female lead characters but also by showing that women can excel in a sport as physically demanding as wrestling. ‘Dangal’ has not only been a box office hit but has also garnered critical acclaim and awards, including the National Film Award for Best Direction.
Another film that shattered gender norms is ‘Secret Superstar.’ Directed by Advait Chandan, the film tells the heartwarming story of a teenage girl who dreams of becoming a singer against all odds. It showcases the struggles and aspirations of Zaira Wasim’s character, who defies societal and familial pressure to excel in music. What makes the film unique is that it highlights the power of a girl child’s dreams and the importance of education in empowering them.
One of the most recent films to challenge gender stereotypes is ‘Thappad,’ directed by Anubhav Sinha. The movie revolves around the story of a married woman who files for divorce, seeking justice after her husband assaults her at a social gathering. The film is a significant departure from Bollywood’s traditional narrative, which often portrays marriage as the ultimate goal and romanticizes toxic relationships. ‘Thappad’ is a powerful indictment of patriarchy and an essential reminder that physical abuse is never acceptable.
These films reflect the changing attitudes of society towards women and serve as an inspiration for the younger generation. Women in Bollywood are no longer just romantic interests or supporting characters. They are powerful, strong, independent individuals who can lead a story and make it their own. Women are choosing to tell stories that matter to them and their experiences, breaking the stereotypes that have restrained them for so long.
In conclusion, this new wave of women-led films is indeed a welcome change in Bollywood. It is heartening to see that filmmakers are challenging the traditional narrative and are giving women characters the respect and attention that they deserve. It is not only about changing perceptions but also about creating an environment where women can thrive and be themselves. Films like ‘Dangal,’ ‘Secret Superstar,’ and ‘Thappad’ are not only successful commercially but are also critical in their messaging, and we can only hope that more such movies come to light soon.