Women's Day: Recent Bollywood films that celebrate power of ordinary women

In an industry where films have traditionally been scripted around men, and woman-centric films have been the exceptions rather than the rule

In an industry where films have traditionally been scripted around men, and woman-centric films have been the exceptions rather than the rule, a new generation of directors and screenwriters have overturned the gender imbalance, and delivered successful films centred around female protagonists.

On the eve of International Women’s Day, here’s a selection of seven Bollywood films that celebrate woman power.

‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’, Alia Bhatt (2022): The Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, a biopic based on the life of ‘mafia queen’ Gangubai Kothewali, is centred around Alia Bhatt’s character, who was cheated and sold to a brothel in Kamathipura, Mumbai. From there, she allied with local politicians and the underworld to become a ‘don’ who was dreaded as much as she was respected for her good deeds.

The movie made news for being the first female-centric production to rake in a hefty Rs 210 crore in a year when Hindi movies were overshadowed by big-budget South Indian blockbusters.

‘Mardaani 2’, Rani Mukerji (2018): In this second edition of the Aditya Chopra-produced crime thriller, Rani Mukerji reprises the role of Shivani Shivaji Roy, a can-do police officer who is out on only one mission: to catch a 21-year-old rapist and murderer, and deliver justice to the victim’s family.

‘Jaane Jaan’, Kareena Kapoor Khan (2023): Sujoy Ghosh’s film is an adaptation of the 2005 Japanese novel ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’. In the movie, Kareena plays a single mother involved in a murder who does whatever it takes to keep herself and her daughter safe.

‘Sukhee’, Shilpa Shetty (2023): The slice-of-life film helmed by Sonal Joshi with music by Badshah talks about the challenges faced by homemakers through the transformative experience of its lead character, a 38-year-old Punjabi housewife, after a high school reunion. It spotlights the sacrifices women make for their families. The movie, though, bombed at the box office.

‘Ghoomer’, Saiyami Kher (2023): R. Balki’s sports drama film also featuring Shabana Azmi, Abhishek Bachchan and Angad Bedi, has Saiyami playing a paraplegic cricketer who defies her physical limitations to earn a place in the Indian women’s cricket team, despite losing her arm.

‘Apurva’, Tara Sutaria (2023): This OTT movie is a survival drama, helmed by Nikhil Nagesh and set in the Chambal, that follows the story of an ordinary woman named Apurva, who was abducted from a bus and made to face gruesome circumstances. She does everything possible to survive.

‘Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway’, Rani Mukherji (2021): This Ashima Chhibber film is inspired by the real-life story of an Indian couple whose children were taken away by the Norwegian authorities in 2011, follows the fight of a mother who does everything in her capabilities to bring her children back from a foreign land.

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