I’m tired of watching timid women in films, in whichever language they may be. I’m tired of them playing second fiddle to male protagonists, and I’m especially irritated with the stereotyped, hollow and misguided projections of “modern” women in Indian films (Alia Bhatt in Dear Zindagi, Sonakshi Sinha in Noor).
But 2017 has given me some hope. I’ve seen women kick bigtime ass in films, I’ve seen women who won’t take no for an answer, and I’ve seen women who won’t let others decide their destiny.
Like this one:
Gal Gadot playing Diana in Wonder Woman
Ramya Krishna playing Sivagami in Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali: The Conclusion
Anushka Shetty playing Devasena in Baahubali: The Conclusion
Taapsee Pannu playing Shabana in Naam Shabana
And here is why I love them:
They fight. And how.
They fight, and not just physically. Not just by kicking or punching a villain, or by cutting off a perverted man’s hand. They fight society’s expectations, and they fight to save other’s lives. And, even better, they fight for themselves.
I loved watching Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman taking down the bad guys, and Taapsee Pannu as Shabana extracting revenge. The immense satisfaction I got from seeing their toughness just blew me.
They are self-centred, but selfless and loving too.
Hurray for multidimensional women. They exist around the world, but very rarely on screen.
Whether it’s Diana (aka Wonder Woman) or Devasena from Baahubali: The Conclusion, they are clear about what they want- learn to fight, be a better archer, hunt down a kiiller. And they will do whatever they can to reach those goals.
But that doesn’t make them bitches.
Because they still care about people. They fight to protect their kingdom, to protect their country and to save humanity.
They have men in their lives.
How many times have we girls heard the line, “Men don’t like women who are too ambitious or career-focused, so don’t be so driven”?
Sorry folks, but just because we like to do “unconventional” things doesn’t mean we can’t fall in love or have a man interested in us.
Thankfully, the men in these films are more in touch with their masculinity and like to see women fight. They cheer them on during a fighting match, and share their own skills with them (remember the three-arrow hold in Bahubali: The Conclusion?). And thank god for that.
Because yes, there are such men in real life too and the world needs to see them. Not all men want their wives or girlfriends to be damsels in distress or be totally dependent on them.
All these films have their flaws in their treatment of women characters, especially in their relationship with male protagonists (and that’s a blog post for another time).
Nevertheless it’s refreshing to see such wonderful roles for women in popular cinema in Bollywood and Hollywood. It’s even more awesome that audiences are watching and accepting these films.
Maybe the time will soon come when film makers won’t have to rely on big-ticket male actors to attract audiences, and have women do some REAL stuff on screen. Stuff that is mostly confined to men.
It’s too early to celebrate path-breaking female characters on the big screen. But there is some hope…