Rising Women Power in Cinema
Parliamentarian|March 2017

This Is a Period of Transition in the Hindi Film Industry, With Many Women Going Beyond Just Being Pretty Actresses and Playing Second Fiddle, to Take Up Roles as Directors, Music Directors, Producers and Other Aspects Of film Making That Were Till Now Male Bastions

Geeta Singh

IS the change of dynamics pervading in Bollywood? Yes, a period of transition is clearly visible in Bollywood nowadays. This advancement is noticeable towards increasing number of gender concerns and its reflection in films. Now the participation of women is not limited to acting and singing alone. One can see their potentiality behind the camera also. whether be it in script or dialogue writing, direction, music composition, editing, cinematography, makeup, costume or managerial skills… in every field of filmmaking, girls are coming to the fore. Yesteryears’ noted actress Deepti Naval, who acted in the films like Ankahee, Daamul and Angoor says, “There are several options for coming-of age heroines. But we did not have so many options.” Deepti says: “we have films based on women protagonists now, but it was rare in our times.” veteran actress Shabana Azmi too appreciated this change. As she says: “Actresses in hindi films are depicting changed, which is unmistakable. This change is positive.” Azmi stated that now the actress has a considerable difference in the characterisation. Earlier the actresses were portrayed as a show piece, but now they are not. Now there are women oriented subjects too. And these films are commercially successful.

From Meena Kumari’s Main Chup Rahungi in 1962 to Taapsee Pannu’s Pink in 2016, one can see a big change in characterisation of women. for films with women protagonists, the outlook has changed. And one of the reasons is the increasing number of women in filmmaking. Today actresses like Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone or Kangana Ranaut are defining the roles of women on screen. Bollywood Badshah Shahrukh Khan says: “In our work women are the spine and we should credit them appropriately. I take care that in all my films, the heroine should get good attention.”

Before the country saw the dawn of independence, our hindi film industry got its first female director and music composer. fatima Begum was Bollywood’s first female director. In 1926, fatima Begum directed the film Bulbul e Paristaan. Jaddan Bai was the first woman music director; later she became the first producer. Actress Devika Rani actually started her career in the industry as a costume designer. At that time, only women of a certain class came into the industry.

In the 80’s, the times changed and there were a handful of ladies in the background or behind the camera, like Sai Paranjpye, Renu Saluja and Usha Khanna who made their names. But still, the girls were in the industry mainly in acting only. In smaller numbers, girls started opting for other careers besides acting. Sharmistha Roy made her mark as a set designer, a complete male dominated field before her. Since 2000 the scenario changed, and now we have directors like Zoya Akhtar and writers like Kausar Munir, Advaita Kala and Juhi Chaturvedi who started getting acclaim internationally. here we will try to get some insight of new age women who are finding their feet in the industry and emerging as stars.

TAAPSEE PANNU 

When David Dhawan was looking for a new and bubbly face like Preity Zinta for his upcoming film Chashme Baddoor, his search ended with finding Taapsee. As she stated, “Right from my eighth standard, people would look at me and say that I looked like Preity Zinta. David Sir met me and in my first meeting, without any audition, he told me that I was on.”

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