Hindi cinema has indeed turned rather liberal, as now the female stars are being shown smoking on the screen in gay abandon. Holding a cigarette between the fingers is a sign of defiance, defiance against the norms, rules and regulations. Latest to join this bandwagon is Katrina Kaif, who has been shown bowing away beedi smoke in gay abandon during the course of the performance that she is giving in MERE BROTHER KI DULHAN. Katrina must have been resisting this urge to do it on the screen, but finally she has succumbed to its outreach perhaps, outreach in terms of the sense of identity with he rebel crowd of the country aka the youth who tries to experiment each and everything that is considered a taboo in the society. For a lady perhaps to hold a pair of cigarette or a beedi (as it is the case in MERE BROTHER KI DULHAN with Katrina), is reflection perhaps of having broken the gender barrier.
With Katrina Kaif joining the bandwagon, here is a trip down memory lane with ladies who dabbled with the cigarettes.
Nadira: SHREE 420:
She was perhaps the first lady on the silver screen who held the cigarette with a sense of chutzpah, and her style of smoking a cigarette with a stylus became her signature.
Zeenat Aman: DUM MARO DUM:
It was however left to Zeenat Aman to establish the brand identity for a generation who did not want to stick to norms and she could have been one of the icons who triggered the defiance, it being show-cased through smoking.
Vidya Balan: THE DIRTY PICTURE:
The oomph and the sexy image that Vidya Balan is portraying in THE DIRTY PICTURE gets its aura by smoking resorted to by Vidya Balan as evident from the promos.
Aishwarya Rai: GUZAARISH:
Even Ash did it in GUZAARISH and she also mesmerized the character of Hrithik Roshan through her smoking in the film. It is altogether a different fact that this avatar of Aishwarya was not liked by her audience.
Kangna Ranaut: FASHION and GANGSTER:
Kangna Ranaut also got close to the white stick through two films FASHION and GANGSTER. In her characterization, however, cigarette was more to cover up the deficiency of characters that she was portraying, and using cigarette to convey a sense of confidence.
Deepika Padukone: KARTHIK CALLING KARTHIK:
Deepika Padukone also got enamored to the dhoomra dandika in KARTHIK CALLING KARTHIK and again the choice of usage of cigarette by the character was guided by the quest to connote a sense of independence and the tell-tale signs of independence chosen were cigarette.
Rani Mukherjee: LAAGA CHUNARI MEIN DAAG:
Rani Mukherjee also joined the bandwagon through this film, but again the smoking resorted to by her character was indication of the fact that she had moved on in her life and had gained independence, the symbolic representation of such representation manifest through smoking.
Kareena Kapoor: CHAMELI:
Even Kareena Kapoor warmed up to the white stick in one of the most defining films of her career, CHAMELI, but it was again in sync with the character that she was playing in the film, that of a hooker.
One thing is clear from the above examples as it has laid down in the premise itself that smoking that has been resorted to by the female characters has more to do with the sense of independence or a sense of confidence that the characters have depicted, of being able to make a mark for themselves independently without any help from the society per se. After all, for the society smoking by a girl is a strict no-no, but the young girl at the cusp of a new life feels tends and tries to experiment with it to show probably coming of age, as it happens in the society and cinema tries to portray this societal reality.