In Bollywood, there have been numerous films made where the main protagonist is a woman. In the recent few years, the number of such strong female characters being presented onscreen has increased manifold. While some of them have been great successes at the ticket windows, many have also managed to win over the critics with their superb storyline and brilliant acting.
As the world is celebrating Women’s Day today, let’s go down memory lane and look at some of the most impactful films in the last decade that have spoken volumes about women empowerment.
Taapsee Pannu plays Amrita, a young woman, who lives happily with her husband, Vikram (Pavail Gulati). Their pleasure is broken, however, when he hits her at a workplace party, prompting her to file for divorce.
‘Chhapaak’, directed by Meghna Gulzar, is inspired on the life and victory of acid assault victim Laxmi Agarwal. It tells the storey of how she returns to society after her trauma and eventually embraces life and herself, while pushing for the prohibition of the sale of acid. Malti, the protagonist, is played by Deepika Padukone.
‘Tumhari Sulu’ (2018)
Sulu, a middle-class housewife who takes a career as a radio DJ, is played by Vidya Balan. She excels at work with the support of her employer and coworkers, but her personal life is in shambles. The essence of this remarkable narrative of grit and drive is how she triumphs over it.
‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ (2017)
While dealing with patriarchy, four Indian women attempt to reconcile their personal and professional lives. While their experiences unfold in parallel, they all have one thing in common: how our culture judges men and women differently. Even though the film was refused clearance by the censor board, it sparked a debate about sexism and the plight of women in India.
This film was notable for popularising the phrase "no means no." Although there isn't much to the courtroom drama, it does highlight important themes about consent and sexual assault. It's an engrossing film, especially in this day and age of #MeToo.
‘Margarita With A Straw’ (2015)
Laila (Kalki Koechlin) has cerebral palsy, and the film follows her journey as she attempts to learn and find love in a strange nation. Laila's struggles and coming to grips with her sexual orientation are also explored in the film.
‘Mary Kom’ (2014)
The title part was played by Priyanka Chopra. The film follows her path from a small gym to becoming a national champion. While the film was criticised for Priyanka's accent, it is undeniably an uplifting narrative.
‘Gulaab Gang’ (2014)
Rajjo, played by Madhuri Dixit, is the leader of a group that works to empower the oppressed and oppose injustice in the community. When a corrupt politician, played by Juhi Chawla, runs for local office, Rajjo decides to run against her.
Kangana Ranaut's film was solely responsible for making solo honeymoons fashionable. Her role in the film evolves from a shy woman to a confident, forceful one. Watch it not just for the chuckles, but also for the various life lessons.
‘English Vinglish’ (2012)
For good reason, Sridevi's return film was a financial and critical triumph. She plays the part of a modest middle-class housewife attempting to reclaim her lost confidence by enrolling in English language lessons in New York. This film is for you if you've ever been let down by your family or friends.