A filmmaker and visionary whose works created an impact far beyond what was awarded to her, Kalpana Lajmi was one of the finest the industry has produced. Unfortunately, the filmmaker had be battling kidney cancer since 2017 and passed away on the 23rd of September, 2018.
Image Source: Indian Express
What made Lajmi's films truly stand out was the manner in which she managed to capture the little moments, leaving a permanent mark on the viewer as well as cinema as a whole. She has also worked with industry veterans like Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, and Dimple Kapadia to name a few. If you're looking for films with strong women at the forefront, Kalpana Lajmi is one who cannot be missed. So here are five films by the late Lajmi that every girl must watch.
Featuring Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Farooq Shaikh the film was released in 1986. It focusses on an extra marrital affair between the protagonist and her ex lover while her husband is away. She eventually becomes pregnant and having had a miscarriage before is determined to keep the baby even with the nuances attached.
The lead, a woman called Shanichari is supposed to have been born with a curse. However, with all the obstacles that life lays out for her- being married to an abusive alcoholic, being left by her own son, she never cries. But to survive she becomes a rudaali or professional mourner. She attends funerals with Bhikini, another rudaali but isn't able to shed tears, until she finally faces the truth.
The 1997 film starring Arif Zakaria, Tabu and Kiron Kher is set in the 40s in pre-independence India in Bollywood. Mazhuddin Khan alias Immi is a enuch whose mother, Zeenat, in denial still refers to him as her younger brother. This film is one for the ages especially because it was one of the first mainstream movies to address the third gender.
The film Chingaari was based on Bhupen Hazarika's novel The Prostitute and the Postman and talks about the social injustice and abuse of power at the hands of even so-called holy men such as priests. Sushmita Sen as Basanti is a prostitute with a child Titali, working with Ila Arun. Chandan the newly recruited postman is moved by her sufferings and wants to give her a better life. However, Bhuvan Panda, the village priest a regular customer of hers with a fetish for sadism has other plans.
Raveena Tandon who won a National Award for Best Actress for this film is the protagonist Durga who is married off to Sanjay, the eldest son of a wealthy family. He has anger issues and id often hot-headed and mentally and physically tortures his wife time and time again. One drunken night he even rapes her and she eventually gives birth to a baby girl. The torture doesn't stop there when both Deepa, her daughter and Sunil, Sanjay's younger brother are still abused. The film is relevant even today, seeing as we still don't have laws against marital rapes in the country.
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