Women ruled Bollywood in 2017
The biggest plus of Bollywood 2017 is this, the year belonged to the ladies. When our superstars belted out duds after duds, celebrated makers and...
The biggest plus of Bollywood 2017 is this, the year belonged to the ladies. When our superstars belted out duds after duds, celebrated makers and directors felt promotions and number of screens will ensure a rocking hit, the ladies on screen have rescued the day.
The first major hit which had some “paisa-vasool” component came with ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya’, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt - led drama revolved and centred more around the “dulhaniya” than Badri and rightly so. Coming from the reliable entertainment team of Dharma Productions this story had audiences coming in droves partly because till then the year had delivered some of its best torture in form of duds like ‘Raees’ and ‘Rangoon’.
Then came ‘Phillauri’, which underlined my belief that Anushka Sharma is one of our most intelligent woman movie producer, who is most likely to get her due one day. ‘Phillauri’ revolved around a female ghost seeking redemption and answer to her one unanswered question. ‘Phillauri’ remains one of the most underrated stories of romance in 2017. Again it was a woman who wowed us with some content.
‘Naam Shabana’ remains one of our best thrillers in the last one decade with a woman protagonist, it is no less than the much celebrated ‘Kahani’. Shabana is dealt a raw deal by life repeatedly and then she finds something worthwhile a goal and an agency, which has far bigger objectives than what life has offered her till then. ‘…Shabana’ was a thriller, which made you come back to the theatre. Coming around disasters like ‘Mirza-Juliet, ‘…Shabana’ made spunk look smouldering.
‘Maatr’ and ‘Mom’ revolved around the same story of a daughter getting raped, in one the daughter dies and in the other one the daughter survives. In ‘Maatr’, the mother applies conventional revenge tactics and in ‘Mom’ the mother traps all the demons like a shrewd fox. ‘Maatr’ did not rock the box office but all those who walked in to watch either of the movies or both in some cases would have come out as having watched better content. These two revenge angels proved that they still had a lot of fire left in them --Raveena and Sridevi were in one of their best screen efforts after a long time. A lot has been written about Sridevi declining the role of Shivagami but in ‘Mom’ she ruled the screen and BO yet again.
‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ and ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ (TEPK) were again two women-centric efforts, which delivered huge returns for its makers compared to the money that they had put in. The similarity, however, does not just end here. Both had women trying to stand against how a “proper woman” conduct is defined in our bigger town and smaller towns. Both had women standing up with pride and in both, there were some men who understood what the woman was facing. The presentation in both the movies was laced with earthy humour, sure the presence of Akshay Kumar got TEPK more media attention and to an extent that is the way it should be but yet again women characters story had more content and more entertainment when an overrated Imitiyaz Ali had offered a super painful pretentious tragedy called ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’.
‘Bareily Ki Barfi’ again had a young woman asserting herself to an extent where she gets her choice of life partner. In the process, she also teaches the man she loves a point that while she will always be his life partner she is not exactly a doormat. A lot many found this movie to be similar to ‘Saajan’ from the 1990s and their assessment could be no more wrong than any, this movie had a woman, who knew her thoughts as clear as a sharpshooter knows his gun. The clarity probably stemmed from the fact that a lady director was calling the shots. I am not complaining this one was super entertainment.
‘Shubh Mangal Savdhan’ (SMS) came from a lesser celebrated director about what a woman also goes through when your fiancé is confused. SMS won huge numbers at BO and had a brilliant woman character in it when intelligent directors were attempting farces like ‘Simran’, ‘Bhoomi’ and ‘Haseena Parkar’.
‘Secret Superstar’ made its mark and money against a biggie like ‘Golmaal Returns’ purely on the passionate portrayal of a girl, who makes it big only because she does not listen to the “don’t do this” brigade and in the process she makes her mother find herself and a loud mouth music director finds his goodness. You have missed an epic female-centric story if you missed ‘Secret Superstar’.
‘Tumhari Sulu’ arrived very late in the year. Vidya Balan who was almost getting written off became the current example of a famous saying which says form is temporary but class is permanent. Her iconic exploding laugh at the microphone when the prompter guy is directing her to be soft and sensuous is the moment of the scene and still brings a smile to your face when you think of it. Sulochana is another gem in the long list of great women characters that Bollywood gave us in 2017.
By:Rahul Deo Bharadwaj