Through the years, women in Hindi films have mostly been portrayed as an ideal mother, wife or daughter; rarely as as an individual aside from her family relations. But in recent years, Bollywood has witnessed a welcome change in that narrative. In the last decade alone, there have been quite a number of films that have consciously sought to change this trend.
In 2014, Vikas Bahl’s Queen, starring Kangana Ranaut in the lead, was released to much accolades from the public and critics alike. Whereas Queen was mostly concerned with an individual’s experience, later films such as Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016), Thappad (2020), Sherni (2021) and Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar (2021) go far beyond that to delineate our deep-rooted patriarchy and lay bare the hollowness of masculinity.
Films, like any other art form, are a potent medium to hold a mirror against the collective conscience of a society. We can only hope this will embolden more directors to make films that challenge and even disrupt the accepted societal norms and forms of behaviours.
Here is a list of seven films in recent times that centre around women and offer a fresh look at old problems.