With two major films about female heroes — Meghna Gulzar’s Chhapaak and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwary’s Panga — under-performing at the box office, all eyes are on Anubhav Sinha’s Thappad which opens February end. It features Taapsee Pannu playing the hero. She was successful in Pink and Badlaa, will she able to turn the disturbing tide of women in the lead not doing well at the box-office this year?
Anubhav Sinha who directs Thappad feels it’s not about gender. “The audience doesn’t care whether a man or a woman plays the lead role, they just have to connect with the theme and characters. Then the film works. Otherwise it doesn’t.”
Anubhav feels well-made films are a genre of their own. “It’s not about the gender of the director, or whether it stars a male or a female hero. It’s just got to be a good film.”
But then Meghna Gulzar and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari are exceptional filmmakers, and Deepika Padukone and Kangana Ranaut are huge stars. It is inexplicable why they were rejected by the audience.
Trade experts who wish to remain unnamed say a strong woman-oriented subject needs the support of big male actors to get the audience interested.
This is why Sanjay Leela Bhansali is keen to get Ajay Devgan on board in his Alia-helmed Gangubai Kathiawadi. Devgan’s is a powerful cameo designed to prop up Alia Bhatt’s central performance as a gangster.
The brains behind Gangubai are jittery too as films about female gangsters have never worked at the box-office in the past, be it Dimple Kapadia in Mera Shikar, Amrita Singh in Khoon Baha Ganga Mein, Shabana Azmi in Godmother or Kangana Ranaut in Revolver Rani.
Will Alia Bhatt, who has scored a resounding hit in an author-backed role in Raazi, break the jinx?