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Bollywood has been slow get on the path of biopics on Indian women, but we have had many that have hit the box office in the past decade. Here’s a look.
India, though one of the world’s fastest developing nations, is plagued by rampant gender discrimination. Every day we find women struggling their way out through this vicious circle of regressiveness. But there are some who rise above all that, and are women who inspire us with their lives.
Some notable Indian films are being made on the lives of these iconic Indian women. This certainly helps bring their lives to the notice of more and more people, ensuring that many more are inspired.
I bring to you a list of 10 iconic biopics on Indian Women that proved to be the forbearers of this revolution:-
One of the earliest biopics on Indian women, this is a period film about Amrapali, a royal courtesan during the Magadha empire. It traces the love story of Amrapali and and the mighty emperor Bimbisara. Amrapali, however, disapproves of the emperor’s violent wars, and goes away. Though the emperor does everything in his power to destroy the village and get her, he is astonished to find out about her transformation that follows her encounter with Gautam Buddha.
Based on a real life historic love story, the film continues to be remembered for its extraordinary cinematography, creative costumes and larger than life depiction.
A dance biographical film based on the life and rise of famous Indian bharatnatyam dancer Sudha Chandran, Naache Mayuri was a hindi adaptation of Telugu film Mayuri. It traces the journey of Sudha, a dancer, who unfortunately loses her leg in a road accident yet doesn’t lose hope. She gets a Jaipur Leg and learns to dance again, rising against all fears and all odds. Truly an inspiring tale of courage will power and hope. Kudos to her!!
Fighting the oppressions of the higher class socialites, revolting sexual and physical abuses one village girl married as a child rises to become one of India’s most dangerous bandits – the story of fierce Phoolan Devi is depicted in this movie. Directed by Shekhar Kapur, this film continues to be a gem of creation even after 23 years of its inception.
Based on the life of Santokben Jadeja, who ran the Mafia operations of Porbander Gujarat in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and went on to become a politician later, is another Bollywood masterpiece. Shabana Azmi played the lead role bringing to life the enigmatic versatile village woman, who when time comes, doesn’t grow weak but boldly takes up her deceased husband’s illegal business. It was awarded the National Film Award for Best Film in Hindi.
The much critically acclaimed movie of that year, Zubeidaa is the story of agony and ill fate of a yesteryear muslim actress Zubeidaa Begum who married Hanwant Singh, a royal prince of Rajasthan out of love, but later struggled to foster her respect and position in the society. It is a touching tale of how often women get divided between their self esteem and the love of their life.
Based on a real life murder case, No One Killed Jessica was a sensational thriller. It showcased how the killer – a wealthy businessman, with influential and political ties, killed an innocent girl under the influence of alcohol and got acquitted in the courts because of money. The victim’s sister with the help of a journalist seeks justice posthumously.
The most controversial movie of that year, The Dirty Picture starring Vidya Balan at her best, is the tale of transformation of a simple naïve village girl into a hot sensuous ‘babe’ named Silk Smitha who left south Indian box offices soaring. At one hand were her dreams, her aspirations and on the other the society that doesn’t hesitate in objectifying women for their entertainment. Her plight and conflicts were worth a watch.
Who says women can’t conquer? Who says women should confine to domestic chores after marriage? Who says mothers can’t dream? Putting an end to all these pre conceived notions; Omung Kumar presented us with Mary Kom starring Priyanka Chopra as the lead. The film takes us through a north eastern girls’ journey of becoming a boxer, breaking all stereotypes and gaining accolades and recognition at the World Boxing Championship.
Featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachhan and Randeep Hooda in the lead roles, Sarabjit is the story of a Indian man who was falsely captured on the allegations of terrorism across Indo-Pak border and sentenced to death by Pakistani Supreme Court. Failed by government and authorities, it brings to light his sister’s struggle that single handedly makes attempts to get him released. However all her tries go in vain when he finally dies in a 22 year prison sentence. Heart wrenching and thought provoking, the film was premiered at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
The film told from the perspective of a flight attendant Neerja Bhanot who gave up her life to save lives of 359 fellow passengers from the hijackers of the flight in Pakistan stirs up valor and courage in the viewer’s hearts. Being the youngest Indian to receive the gallantry award Ashoka Chakra, the movie is awe-inspiring and electrifying.
So, how many have you watched? Do add more to this list.