When it comes to looking at the women who grace our cinema screens in Bollywood films, the word chameleon comes to mind. Female actresses don�۪t just play the archetypal heroine on screen anymore, instead they play the heroes, filling the screen with their acting prowess. As the world celebrates International Women�۪s Day, BizAsia chose to look at the current Bollywood films today which have inspired us through their female heroes.
Kangna Ranaut in ��Queen�۪ (2014)
��Queen�۪ is a story about female empowerment and it truly had an inspirational message. Kangna Ranaut played the innocent and na�ve Delhi girl Rani who is ditched by her fianc̩ the day before her wedding. Instead of sulking about her misfortune, she decides to up sticks to Europe to discover herself, all the while not losing her roots. This film challenged the stereotype of the small town girl and told the story with a lot of heart.
Alia Bhatt in ��Highway�۪ (2014)
��Highway�۪ gained a lot of critical acclaim on its release and it was well deserved. The film told the story Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt) who is a daughter of a rich entrepreneur who is abducted the night before her wedding by a gang and held to ransom. She is taken a road trip through the mountains and develops Stockholm syndrome, falling for her abductor Mahabir (Randeep Hooda). Alia Bhatt played this hard-hitting role with such finesse and taking on a role as such as this so early on in her career, proved to the industry that she had the acting skills to stand the test of time.
Priyanka Chopra in ��Mary Kom�۪ (2014)
A female led sports film in Bollywood has not been done and Priyanka Chopra knew this would be a game changer. ��Mary Kom�۪ tells the story of five times World Boxing Champion Mary Kom, following her story from a rural village in India to the worldwide stage. It challenges the female stereotype of women taking part in sports and how the challenges they face getting away from the traditional family based roles. Ms Chopra was brilliant in this film, showing the inner conflict of Mary Kom�۪s character as she struggles between her family responsibilities and her love for her sport.
Rani Mukerji in ��Mardaani�۪ (2014)
Rani Mukerji had the audience holding their breath in this hard hitting film. ��Mardaani�۪ is about Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji) a police officer who decides to take on the underworld of India by tackling the crime cartel involved in child trafficking and drugs. Ms Mukerji is great in this film as the tough officer who wants to do the right thing and bring justice back on to the streets of India.
Vidya Balan in ��The Dirty Picture�۪ (2011)
If there ever was an actress who can make a role her own, it would be Vidya Balan. She has an electric presence on screen and in ��The Dirty Picture�۪, she was not anything different. In this film, she plays a rebellious woman who runs away from her family to become an actress and realises she can use her sexuality to move up the ladder in the film industry. Ms Balan was stunning on screen in this film and exposed a few home truths about the hypocrisy of the male mind when it comes to women acting the film industry.
One has to agree that without women in the Bollywood industry, actors would have a lonely presence and they really are making the cinema screen their own. Female centric films are becoming hugely popular at the box office and they no longer need a strong male hero to perform well. On that note, BizAsia applauds the women of Bollywood this International Women�۪s Day and looks forward to the years to come.