Modern cinema has given us some beautifully well-thought of and nuanced female characters in both Bollywood as well as Hollywood. Women aren’t supporting characters anymore and aren’t just arm candy who do nothing to take the plot forward and that’s also thanks to so many more women filmmakers coming to the forefront. Young, dynamic ladies are spearheading a new era in cinema and we are blessed to finally have the female representation we need and want.
This is not just limited to art cinema, now the lines between a commercial success and an indie film are also getting blurred somewhere. There is so much talent in the industry that they give us stories which are entertaining, emotional, powerful, inspiring and have the ability to stay with us long after the credits have rolled out. So this women’s day, get together with your friends and put on one of these women centric movies and know you’re empowered and beautiful. Don’t forget the popcorn though!
Biographical films have a way of staying with you even after the movie is over and that’s because you can’t believe this extraordinary life was actually lived by someone. Biopics give us an insight into the lives of people which frankly many of us have been curious about anyway. So all the ladies out there who have had spectacular lives, your stories shall not be forgotten.
Released in 1994, Bandit Queen was based on the life of a famous Indian bandit named Phoolan Devi. The film has been directed by Shekhar Kapur and gives us an insight into caste and gender based violence that she had to go through. It delves into her rape and illtretement by the police and other upper caste men and it’s gutwrenching. The film focuses on her vow to transition from Phoolan Devi to Bandit Queen. Seema Biswas essays the role with ease and gives the performance of her life.
Meet Neerja Bhanot the courageous flight attendant who saved 359 out of the 379 passengers aboard the Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan. The biographical thriller has Sonam Kapoor playing the role of Neerja and has been directed by Ram Madhvani. Narrated from Neerja’s perspective, the movie shows her family life, past traumas and even the aftermath of how her family dealt with the entire incident. Two people who shone on screen for their unmatched talent were Jim Sarbh as the terrorist and Shabana Azmi as Neerja’s mother.
Dirty Picture isn’t officially a biopic but it is based on the life of the South Indian star, Silk Smitha who was popular for her erotic roles. Directed by Milan Luthra, and starring Vidya Balan the movie highlights the life of Silk and her journey towards fame as well as her eventual demise. The film also has talented actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Emran Hashmi and Tushaar Kapoor in pivotal roles.
My Week With Marilyn follows the iconic American model and actress, Marilyn Monroe as she is on the road to success. Michelle Williams plays the role of Marilyn who won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in the film. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. We get an insight into the global star, her private personna and her glamorous life.
Jackie is a biographical drama about the life of Jackie Kennedy, the wife of President John F. Kennedy. She was a beloved figure, a fashion icon, a role model and an American fashion icon. She is still considered to be one of the most adored first ladies of all times. Played by Natalie Portman, the film released in 2017 and brought tears to everyone’s eyes. She even got nominated for an Academy Award for best actress for her role.
This film is a biographical drama about Margert Thatcher, the first ever female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The film is loosely based on the biography by John Campbell called The Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher, from Grocer’s daughter to Prime Minister. Meryl Streep plays the role of Margaret Thatcher and she got a resounding applause for fitting in the role so perfectly.
Erin Brokovich is a biopic that was released in 2000 and stars Julia Roberts as the badass lawyer who fought against the energy corporation that was damaging the health of the people living around its facilities. The film was directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Susannah Grant. Julia Roberts outshone in her performance and got rave reviews from critics as well as viewers alike. She won the Academy Award, BFTA, and the SAG award for her performance.
Comedy is one of those genres we all love. Get together with your family, your girlfriends or even your bae and enjoy a few hours of genuine laughter and you’ll know what I’m talking about. We’ve got a list of some of our favourite women centric movies that are bound to make you laugh and give a strong message at the same time.
Queen, a women oriented movie proves that anything a woman can do with a man, alone she can do it better. We see Rani, a woman eagerly waiting to get married to the love of her life who decides to leave her just before their big day. She goes on her honeymoon alone and that turns out to be a journey of self-discovery and self-love. One of Kangana Ranaut’s best performances, it gives women the strength to look within and know that they are enough.
A woman who is a mother and a wife but is that all her life amounts to- Sridevi in English Vinglish proves otherwise. Directed by Gauri Shinde, it follows the life of Sashi, a homemaker who makes and sells ladoos in a home run business. Constantly taken for granted and reprimanded for not speaking correct grammar, she takes it upon herself to not only learn the language and learn to demand respect in her family and relations around her.
Ellen Page redefines the indie comedy genre as a pregnant teenager in a quirky coming of age story. It won’t make you crackle with laughter but has a fresh take on comedy and manages to break all comedy formulas to give you something out of the blue. It also stars Michael Cera playing the role of an awkward teenager who is very endearing. The film also won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and bagged itself three other nominations at the Oscars, including Best Picture.
Pitch Perfect is a female centric movie that is hilarious and evokes a feeling of girl power and sisterhood like no other. It’s everyone’s guilty pleasure with dialogues that can be recited over and over again and what’s more, there’s cheesy pop music in the mix. Anna Kendrick plays an alternative loner who is not into a capella until she joins the Barden Bella a capella group. Rebel Wilson also plays a highly amusing character always looking to make a joke or say her punchline, it’ll leave you totally gleeful after.
We live in a world where unfortunately so many women have to face abuse and violence in our lives. We face gender and wage gap at office spaces, face abuse and eve teasing in public spaces as well as private ones and here are some female oriented films that portray this dark side of society aptly.
Chhappak is a film starring Deepika Padukone based on an acid attack survivor, Laxmi Agarwal’s life. It details the story of how her life changed after a man threw acid on her face and the aftermath of it for her family and herself. Played by Deepika Padukone, the movie was directed by Meghna Gulzar and was appreciated for its realistic portrayal of the incident.
No One Killed Jessica is a biographical thriller written and directed by Raj Kumar Gupta based on the highly publicised murder case of Jessica Lal. The film stars Vidya Balan as Jessica’s sister, Sabrina Ali and Rani Mukherjee as Meera Gaity, a character inspired by the TV reporter following the case. It also marks the acting debut of Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub who plays Manu Sharma, Jessica’s murderer.
Pink is a women oriented film that follows the life of three young girls including Taapsee Pannu living in Delhi who get involved with a group of men who take advantage of them. Amitabh Bachchan is their slightly eccentric lawyer who fights their case to keep the girls out of jail. It puts the point of no means no across for everyone who still doesn’t understand it.
‘Gaslighting’ has become one of the buzzwords of the year but unfortunately this activity dates a lot further than we understand. The 1944 movie about women is directed by George Cukor and tells the story of a beautiful heiress Paula being manipulated by her criminal husband until she teeters on the brink of madness. The protagonist, Paula was played by Ingrid Bergman who deservedly won an Oscar for her performance.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a film set in the near dystopian future and is an adaptation of a book by the Canadian author Margret Atwood’s book by the same name. The protagonist Kate is trying to escape with her daughter and her husband but is captured and kept in a training facility along with other women where she is taught to be a handmaid or a concubine for one of the privileged but barren who run the country’s religious fundamentalist regime.
So many movies have been made on the subject of male bonds and the bro code unfortunately women have not got that same representation on the big screen. However, recently we have got some amazing movies about women that are a true portrayal of sisterhood and deep female friendships that last a lifetime.
Initially, Zeenat played by Gul Panag befriends Meera played by Ayesha Takia for her own gain but in the end it’s a genuine bond that the two women form. About love, loss, hardship and grief, this film shows how much friendship can transform your life. All about new hope and a happier future, it fills you with warmth like no other.
A group of six women get together after a few years and take off where they left their friendship. Frieda is a fashion photographer who invites her gal pals to her family’s house to announce that she’s getting married. The group consists of a Bollywood singer, Madhurita, Pamela, a homemaker, Saranjana, a businesswoman, Jo, an aspiring actress, and Nargis, an activist. After the announcement, all the women land up in Goa and thus begins an impromptu bachelorette. Fun and frenzy and a whole lot of bonding, this is one to watch with your best friends on a sleepover.
Probably the ultimate movie about female friendship, The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants introduced us to the concept of friendships that last a lifetime. Travelling and taking turns to wear that one pair of denims that fits all, this film taught us what an undying bond looks like it also touches on concepts of body positivity and so much more.
A cult film that every 90s kid will remember that talks about the bonds that girls share and what really happens in a high school. Bullying, boys and hilarious jokes, Mean Girls is unforgettable. You’ll be quoting the dialogues like ‘October the 3rd’, ‘on Wednesdays we wear pink’ for many years to come. Mirroring many of our own realities, it shows the importance of forming friendships that are based on love and loyalty.
Thriller films keep you at the edge of your seat and have you biting your nails. There have been many which have female leads and have been incredible. Here are the best from both Hollywood as well as Bollywood women oriented movies that every girl should watch.
Kahaani is a 2012 mystery thriller film starring Vidya Balan who plays the role of Vidya Bagchi. She comes to Kolkata to look for her missing husband during the festival of Durga Puja only to realise that there’s a huge mystery around his disapperance and murder.
A Ram Gopal Varma suspense thriller which stars Urmila Mantondkar, Kaun? revolves around a psychopathic serial killer. There’s a killer on the loose and she is terrified, with twists and turns and murders you try to unravel who the real killer is and who will survive the unending night only to be shocked at the end.
Amy Dunne goes missing and the entire media and the nation thinks Nick has killed his wife. However, has he really? One of the most well-made thrillers to come out in the past few years, Gone Girl is a masterpiece by David Flincher starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. The character and actor who outshone in the film was Rosamund Pike who was also an Oscar Award nominee for the role.
Black Swan is a psychological thriller and horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky which stars Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis. It revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet by the prestigious New York City Ballet company. In the midst of rage, jealousy and competition, realities and nightmares collide and the dancer doesn’t understand the difference between them. It was well-deserved that Natalie Portman won the Oscar for Best Actress for this role.
So ladies, happy women’s day. You’re the real superheroes! ❤
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