In Bollywood’s long history, female leads have kept evolving — from the self- sacrificing mother, damsel in distress, to a woman who is in charge of her own destiny. The women in the industry, both on and off-screen, are now leading the way in building characters that are gritty and real. From Deepika Padukone’s Chhapaak to Kangana Ranaut’s Dhakkad, the coming year will a year for female-led mainstream cinema.
The year will begin with Chappak that sheds light on the life — altering incident of acid attack survivor Lakshmi Agarwal. Deepika plays the female lead Malti that shoulders the film on the socially relevant issue. This will be followed by Kangana Ranaut starrer Panga where she plays a Kabaddi player. Kangana has two more films to prove why a women-oriented film needs to be backed when it has good content – Dhakkad whose production schedule is currently in abeyance and Thalaivi, the much-hyped biopic on the life of late Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha.
“It is going to be the content that decides if the film will work. Just by making a female-driven film and cashing in on the hype will not draw in the audience. Also, one has to look at the right release date and avoid clashes,” opines Atul Mohan, editor Complete Cinema.
On the other hand, Kriti Sanon who recently delivered a power-packed performance in Panipat and Luka Chuppi has finished shooting the first schedule of her next, Mimi. As one of Bollywood’s most bankable actresses currently, she will be seen as a young surrogate mother in her upcoming film in which she will be reuniting with her Luka Chuppi director Laxman Utekar and co-star Pankaj Tripathi.
Mimi is considered as a turning point for Kriti as this is her strongest role to date since the central plot completely surrounds the actress. “Mimi is not a preachy and serious film; it is not going to be a documentary on surrogacy. It’s a very entertaining film filled with humour, and there is a beautiful graph of the character that I am playing. So I am glad I am part of this one,” Kriti said in an earlier interview
March will see Dhadak girl Janhvi Kapoor take on her first solo lead film with the Karan Johar powered Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl. Kiara Advani also gets a chance to prove if she can shoulder a film herself with Indoo Ki Jawaani.
The tried and tested Vidya Balan will be seen in a biopic on mathematics genius Shakuntala Devi.
Parineeti Chopra has two films up her sleeve as the lead heroine – The Girl On The Train remake as well as the Saina Nehwal biopic the former which is surely slated to release this year.
Raazi, Highway and Dear Zindagi girl Alia Bhatt who will also be seen in Sadak 2 and Brahmastra gets another biggie to lead the cast and it is the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film – Gangubai Kathiawadi.
While the industry is still grappling with pay parity and discrimination, we can safely say that wheels of change are in motion. The future does look promising.