Talk Round' Town

Celebrating Womanhood!!

To mark the close of a week dedicated to the occasion of International Women's Day (8th March) and as an ode to the timeless women of Indian cinema...

facebook twitter whatsapp

To mark the close of a week dedicated to the occasion of International Women's Day (8th March) and as an ode to the timeless women of Indian cinema, we at BollyCurry bring you a select few of our favourite onscreen portrayals by actresses over the years; a range of characterizations which celebrate women empowerment in essence, each in its unique way!

Late Nargis Dutt  (Radha, Mother India)

A vivid picture of a freshly independent India, sadly overrun by evil practices. The movie revolves around Radha, a mother of two sons who struggles on daily basis to subsist and escape the clutches of a cheating money lender, a commonplace evil in that decade. A candid image of the pitiable state of rural women back in the day, the oppression at the hands of unsocial elements, and the continuous struggle for survival. The late actress Nargis Dutt delivered a stellar performance in this movie which became the first Indian submission to the Academy's category of Best Foreign Film, and also the first selected nomination by the Academy for the same.

Rekha (Amiran/Umrao, Umrao Jaan)

When she first read the script which told the unfortunate story of a courtesan's life in Lucknow, Rekha confessed connecting with the story, because she believed there was an Umrao within her. The movie tells the story of a usual young girl, Amiran, who under circumstances gets abducted and is delivered to the care of a brothel owner, thereafter trained to become a famous courtesan Umrao Jaan. In her ripe youth, she catches the eye of a royal heir, but their brief yet passionate love affair meets a tumultuous end when the heir is compelled to retreat in the name of his worldly duties. A heartbroken Umrao consequently elopes with a dacoit in the hope of marrying and leaving behind her life as a courtesan. However, that dream too shatters when the man is killed in an encounter, and a distraught Umrao somehow reaches the village she once belonged to, her birth place. Her fateful and futile identity crisis touches an all time low when she finds herself a pariah in her own real place, when her brother refuses to accept her for her tarnished reputation. She returns to Lucknow a fallen angel and star – misfit in both worlds – her poetry a mild reprieve for her melancholy.

Nandita Das (Sita, Fire)

A story revolving around daringly candid narratives of women forced to chastity and depravity by their respective husbands, consequently seeking comfort, emotional and physical, in each other. A breakout from traditional and orthodox cinema, the story of Radha and Sita involves an explicit portrayal of homosexuality, with the narrative taking a stand of objectivity in telling a story of desperation, and fulfilment. A debated concept, yet a critically acclaimed movie, Fire was an early step in Nandita Das's feministic drive with mentors like Deepa Mehta and Shabana Azmi.

Tabu (Aditi, Astitava)

Aditi, like the model Indian woman, sacrifices her individualism at the altar of her duty as a devoted and loyal wife. Astitava, namesake of its title, is the story of a woman crippled by her desire to seek an identity beyond the defines of a typical patriarchy. Where a man can be easily condoned for altering the laws of marriage per convenience, a woman is condemned. Aditi, in the early period of her marriage, being devoid of her husband's attention and love given his never ending ambitious travels and pursuit of a career, succumbs to a one time temptation with her music instructor, and conceives. When the truth is unleashed years later, Aditi finds not only her husband withdrawing status and support, but her own broad minded son born out of this infidelity refusing to accept her; and decides that it is never too late to rediscover her lost identity. The film stands for the principle of women independence, not dismissing endurance and patience as virtues to be taken for granted. Tabu, who has often been recognized as a face of critical acclaim and meaningful cinema, lives up to the expectations with finesse.

Preity Zinta (Priya, Kya Kehna)
The story of Priya, who faces the predicament of becoming a single, unwed mother – after committing the grave social blunder of conceiving in her moment of young love. Preity Zinta with her natural and endearing portrayal becomes a face for countless women in our society faced with raising their child alone, ofteh amidst such scandalous circumstances. Priya's journey similarly involves deciding to bear her baby, despite the humiliation and rejection faced at the hands of her ex lover and the biological father. Through all the trauma of infamy and pregnancy, Priya stands tall, as Zinta pulls off an ace performance.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Kiranjit Ahluwalia, Provoked)
A poignant portrayal of a naive girl entrapped in a traumatic marriage of a decade, marked by repeated abuse and rape at the hands of her NRI husband whose behaviour borders on sociopathic. The character of Kiranjit, inspired by a real life case, is the mother of two at the point where her tolerance finally snaps and she retaliates by setting her husband's feet on fire while he sleeps, unintentionally killing him in the process. The sad irony of the story hits at this point, when charged with murder, Kiranjit tastes her first sense of liberation while being imprisoned in an English jail. Where she begins life afresh, makes new friends, overcomes the trauma of a decade of abuse, and of a gruesome murder on her hands, to finally be condoned by the court when social groups take up the cause of her justice. Although international production, Provoked stars Indian diva Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in what can easily be termed her most moving and powerful onscreen depiction yet!
Madhuri Dixit (Dia, Aaja Nachle)
The story of Dia, who overcomes an adolescent love story gone awry, an infamous elopement, and an untimely pregnancy and motherhood – with her sheer passion for dance! A strong spirited woman who confronts her past mistakes, and jumps at a second chance to remedy old impressions, by fighting for her long time dream, and proving herself once again as a women of substance and talent. Dia is an inspiring character for all aspiring individuals, to overcome pitfalls and persist until one rises again!
Priyanka Chopra (Meghna Mathur, Fashion)
As a small town girl, aspiring to make it big in the world of glamour and hard hitting competition, Meghna, with dreams too seemingly big for her own eyes, makes it large through consistency and resolve. Soon enough however, her success is towed by a blinding vanity, reckless abandon, lost allies and an eventual crash. A typical graph of an exponential rise to fame, and an exponential fall from it. After brooding and mourning for a while however, Meghna returns to the scene to redeem her lost status. Her second time journey is preceded by a history that haunts, but in the end, she pulls off a grand comeback – bearing lessons of her past in mind, and never again faltering at all the evident potholes! A paced and candid narrative by Bhandarkar, Fashion saw Priyanka Chopra bringing behind the scene realities onscreen through her convincing enactment of Meghna's journey.
Rani Mukherjee (Veera/Veer, Dil Bole Hadippa)
A perky and daring depiction of a girl, who is self willed enough and all set to invade a man's world – in her passionate pursuit of the love of her life, Cricket! Being a girl means she can never internationally represent India on field. But that doesn't stop Veera from doing what she loves, and does best – tweak the rules and play the game! She "blends" in with the rest, by donning the guise of a Sikh local boy, a light hearted yet touching transition from Veera to Veer. And despite the preposterous nature of her execution of a lifetime wish, Veera sets an example of being unstoppable. As a woman who, pitted against all odds, will still emerge victorious in a predominantly man's world – winning the game, and winning hearts!
Vidya Balan (Silk, The Dirty Picture
The often critiqued Vidya Balan who does her own thing despite all resistance delivered a phenomenon with her enactment of the late soft po*n star of Southern cinema. Onscreen, Vidya got under the skin of Silk, an aspiring actress, surviving, even thriving through the hurdles of penetrating the glam circuit, the consequent exploitation and dirty politics inevitably involved – and brought to life the existence of a misunderstood star. We salute Vidya for doing justice to such a bold and challenging role.
And with that, we conclude our ode to the women of industry, and wish a Happy Women's Day to all our readers!

Authors: Jasmine D. & Rani
Editor: Naseem J.
Graphics: Gurprit K.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Nandita Das Preity Zinta Priyanka Chopra Tabu Vidya Balan Rani Mukerji Madhuri Dixit Rekha Nargis

Comments (1)

View all
up-open TOP