For decades, Hindi cinema has been a mirror reflecting the times and scenarios the nation has gone through. From playing decorative objects in movies, if not victims or martyrs, to becoming a strong force, women have come a long way in our movies.
The Hindi film actress has graduated from being a weak woman to a woman of substance and strength who stands for her rights, raises her voice against injustice, fights for her dignity and self-respect and also rebels when she has to.
Today we have movies that portray every shade of women –ambitious, adventurous, fashionista, strong, fearless, funny, serious, sassy, emotional and much more. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, here are some Bollywood movies with strong female characters that are a must-watch.
Mother India is a classic film coming from the early era of Indian Cinema. It was a path-breaking film of its time. It is considered to be one of Nargis Dutt’s most impressive and iconic performances. Nargis as Radha is a poor villager who fights all odds to raise her two sons. She is looked upon as the epitome of justice and a god-like figure by the villagers. Staying true to her principles, she kills her immoral son for justice’s sake.
‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga’
Directed by Shelly Chopra Dhar, ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga’ stars Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Sonam Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Akshay Oberoi, Regina Cassandra, Brijendra Kala and Madhumalti Kapoor. The film is about a young Punjabi girl (essayed by Sonam Kapoor) named ‘Sweety’ who is a lesbian and is in love with another woman. She fears that the truth might not go well with her family and society. Unaware of the truth, her family wants her to get married to a young writer who is in love with her.
English Vinglish is a story of a common housewife Shashi Godbole played by Sridevi. It beautifully shows how the housewife, who is brilliant as a homemaker, a wife and a mother, is looked down upon and made fun of by her daughter and husband just because she can’t speak fluent English. A hurt Shashi Godbole turns things around as she learns the language on her US trip to her niece’s wedding. Gauri Shinde’s simple story is an impressive one as the woman overcomes her shortcomings.
Queen is a beautiful story of a young girl Rani played by Kangana Ranaut. It’s heartbreaking when Vijay played by Rajkumar Rao, just a day before the wedding breaks the news to Rani that he is no more interested in marrying her. The simple, small-town girl is shattered but soon she decides to stand for herself and to go on a honeymoon all alone. During her travel, she meets new friends, discovers the world and life and comes back as a changed person, ready to take control of her life.
‘Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi’
The epic biographical period drama shows how Rani Laxmibai was the first woman in history to wage a war against the British and begin the first war of Independence. It chronicles her journey from growing up in Bithoor to becoming the Queen of Jhansi and later turning into a warrior queen.
Mardaani is the story of a female cop, Shivani Roy. It’s played by Rani Mukerji who fights the kingpin of organised crimes involving child trafficking and drugs. It shows how the lady officer fights woman trafficking in the city.
Mary Kom is the true-life story of an Indian boxer who won India great accolades internationally. Priyanka Chopra plays the real-life character on the big screen beautifully depicting Kom’s story. It is special because of the hardships Kom had to go through in her career. She makes a comeback post her marriage, and a mother of two Kom continues her successful journey against all odds.
Mom is the story of a mother who revenges her daughter’s rape and death after being denied justice by the law. Sridevi plays the simple mother who transforms into a shrewd woman to avenge her daughter’s death.