Gone are the days when female characters in Bollywood films were given either the role of a mother or a demure person taking shelter behind the male character. Bollywood has taken a high jump in terms of characters and now, women characters form the foundation of content driven and meaningful cinema. On this International Women's Day, let's go down the memory lane and meet the reel female characters that shattered all stereotypes and emerged victorious by making a major impact on the real audience.
Alia Bhatt as Sehmat: Raazi
As we address strong characters, how can we forget Sehmat? Alia Bhatt rightfully gave birth to this character with her vulnerability and childlike innocence. Be it brutally killing the servant Abdul or covertly keeping a watch on the activities going around in Syed house, Alia portrayed the role of Sehmat with extreme conviction. The dialogue 'watan ke aage kuch nahi, khud bhi nahi' stayed back in our minds even after the film ends was because of Alia's strong portrayal.
[caption id="attachment_225317" align="aligncenter" width="621"] Alia Bhatt as Sehmat in Raazi[/caption]
Neena Gupta as Priyamvada Kaushik: Badhaai Ho
Neena Gupta was back with a bang in Badhaai Ho and how. We can't imagine anyone apart from Neena to play a complex yet endearing character like Priyamvada. Priyamvada, a middle-aged woman with grown-up sons announces the news of her pregnancy before her 25-year-old son Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana) and slowly becomes a subject of never-ending taunts and insults. Her emotions, her feelings and her dilemma were accurately essayed by Neena, who at the same time was breaking the taboo surrounding sexual relationship between parents and the way society sees it.
[caption id="attachment_225319" align="aligncenter" width="654"] Neena Gupta as Priyamvada in Badhaai Ho[/caption]
Sonam Kapoor as Neerja: Neerja
Let's be honest, in Neerja, we stopped believing that Sonam K Ahuja is essaying the character that isn't present in front of us. It seemed so real and we actually felt the hijack is going on before us and we are a passenger on the PAN AM Flight. Sonam as Neerja stood out as the face of bravery and courage. Neerja's bright smile in an adverse situation provided the audience with hope and courage during the traumatic time of the hijack.
[caption id="attachment_225623" align="aligncenter" width="696"] Sonam Kapoor in and as Neerja[/caption]
Deepika Padukone as Piku: Piku
Piku was as real as she can be, all thanks to the mannerisms that Deepika Padukone adapted. A strict yet loving daughter to a finicky constipated father, Piku made her way into our hearts by just being grounded. Deepika made us believe Piku is one of us who is bothered about her aged father. An independent woman who is rooted in her culture, this formed the structure of an imperfect yet perfect character called Piku.
[caption id="attachment_225322" align="aligncenter" width="638"] Deepika Padukone as Piku in Piku[/caption]
Priyanka Chopra as Kashi: Bajirao Mastani
Frankly speaking, Kashi was one of Priyanka Chopra’s strongest characters to date. She had an array of emotions running in her mind. From getting ecstatic to meet her war returned husband to feeling a little insecure during Mastani’s performance, she made us go through the same emotions as Kashi did.
[caption id="attachment_225323" align="aligncenter" width="619"] Priyanka Chopra as Kashi in Bajirao Mastani[/caption]
Anushka Sharma as Mira: NH10
With NH10, Anushka Sharma marked her first film as a producer. Although the film dealt with a sensitive topic and a gruesome treatment, Anushka’s Mira made us stop and take notice of her strength and control our emotions when she got to know that the goons have killed her husband. Her revenge showcases her anger and her no mercy attitude made everyone go gaga over her bravery.
[caption id="attachment_225324" align="aligncenter" width="636"] Anushka Sharma as Mira in NH10[/caption]
Rani Mukerji as Shivani Shivaji Roy: Mardaani
Strength, valour and bravery define Shivani for us. As Shivani, Rani proved that a woman, if decides to fight back the evil, can do it without falling prey to troubles. With Mardaani, Rani made a comeback to the films post maternity and surprised us by picking up a role that nobody had touched.
[caption id="attachment_57946" align="aligncenter" width="647"] Rani Mukerji in a still from Mardaani[/caption]
Vidya Balan as Vidya: Kahani
Vidya Balan as Vidya Bagchi kept us hooked in the thriller drama right from the first frame. Her hunt to find her missing husband during pregnancy left us with no room to predict what will happen next. A tight character with natural acting, Vidya made us embark on the journey with her.
[caption id="attachment_225618" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Vidya Balan in Kahani[/caption]
Kareena Kapoor Khan as Kia: Ki and Ka
Kareena Kapoor Khan is the unabashed queen of shattering stereotypes since ages. With Ki & Ka, she broke the myth that after marriage, the wife is solely responsible to take care of the household while the man is the ultimate bread earner. In the film, Kia is a working woman who doesn’t compromise on her work as well as her family time. Through Kia, we got a face for an independent working woman supported by a husband who looks after the house in her absence.
[caption id="attachment_225331" align="aligncenter" width="666"] Kareena Kapoor Khan as Kia in Ki & Ka[/caption]
Kangana Ranaut as Rani: Queen
Could anyone imagine a film on a honeymoon without getting married? Absolutely not till Queen released. Kangana’s innocence and vulnerability made Queen a fun watch. For selling pani puri abroad to unknowingly staying with unknown men in a room, Rani was way too naïve at the same time innately brave who surprised everyone at the end by rejecting Vijay’s proposal.
[caption id="attachment_225621" align="aligncenter" width="668"] Kangana Ranaut as Rani in Queen[/caption]
Amidst a variety of characters that Bollywood has showcased, these women are the ones we desire to meet in real life, don't you agree?