Bollywood, hitherto fuelled by its favorite ingredient -hypermasculinity and machismo – seems to be changing as filmmakers are taking a step forward by doubling up woman power in movies and going beyond the usual formula of a boy fighting baddies to save women.
Some films that are yet to release this year or later such as "Student Of The Year", "Good News", "Saand Ki Aankh" and "Bala", showcase not just one but two female leads.
Bhushan Kumar, head honcho of T-Series, who is bank-rolling female lead films including movies like "De De Pyaar De", "Bharat" and "Pati Patni Aur Woh", told IANS: "Women are playing important roles across all walks of life. As a result, what is happening in the outside world will sooner or later find its way to mirror itself in films."
"De De Pyaar De" stars Tabu along with Rakul Preet Singh; "Bharat" stars Katrina Kaif and Disha Patani; "Pati Patni Aur Woh" will have Bhumi Pednekar and Ananya Panday; "Saand Ki Aankh" has Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu; and "Good News" has Kareena Kapoor Khan and Kiara Advani.
"Today's writers are writing stories that talk about issues that they see around them. Whether we like it or not, we cannot escape the presence and influence of women in any domain. Writers are writing about contemporary characters irrespective of their gender. There is no escaping that.
"So, women are bound to play pivotal roles in contemporary popular culture," Kumar said.
Bollywood newbie Ananya, who is venturing into the acting world with "Student Of The Year 2", will be seen with newcomer Tara Sutaria. She has also bagged another film "Pati Patni Aur Woh", co-starring Bhumi Pednekar and Kartik Aaryan.
Ananya, daughter of actor Chunky Panday, is happy about filmmakers writing interesting roles for women.
"Even my second film ('Pati, Patni Aur Woh') has two women in it and I am super excited about that. I think we both have such strong characters and roles. That's really exciting that they (makers) are writing such interesting characters with not just one, but two women in one film. So, I think it is a really exciting time for actresses," Ananya told IANS.
Kumar says the changing times are giving birth to new ideas.
"Today, the industry is infused with writers who are bringing new thinking and fresh ideas and perspectives to the stories they bring on board. It's not to say that women will not be playing glamorous characters anymore in films, but as I see it, the glamour will not necessarily be the only hallmark of a character essayed by an actress in our movies," he added.
Actress Yami Gautam, who will share screen space with Bhumi in the upcoming film "Bala", finds it empowering when women carry films on their shoulders.
"Any trend that works for the greater good of cinema, should be encouraged. Being a woman, I think such content is encouraging — be it strong central female protagonists or two women leading the way in films… It's a positive sign for me," Yami, who has earlier shared screen space with actress Shraddha Kapoor in "Batti Gul Meter Chalu", told IANS.
(Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at email@example.com)
— By Durga Chakravarty, IANS