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Amol in Chhapaak to Sam in Sam Bahadur - Meghna Gulzar and her winning streak of shaping empathetic men

Over the years, Meghna Gulzar has made films empowering women and talking about justice and social issues, but in the process, she has shaped some of the most precious men in Hindi cinema. 

Amol in Chhapaak to Sam in Sam Bahadur - Meghna Gulzar and her winning streak of shaping empathetic men
Vikrant Massey, Vicky Kaushal, Meghna Gulzar, and Irrfan Khan

Last Updated: 03.50 PM, Dec 13, 2023


The phrase ‘A man written by a woman’ holds a whole lot of water in the current situation. In the fast-growing fandom of machismo and manhandling being sold as an act of love, there comes a male character that holds empathy, is a gentleman, and respects people around him as people and suddenly reminds the audience that holding a gun in one hand and the woman in another isn’t the stereotype of a man. Meghna Gulzar has been doing this for years now. 

She even subconsciously did it this year, as she gave the world her Sam Bahadur just when they were obsessing over Animal. A man for whom being a gentleman was his motto versus one who never learned the word gentle at all. Gulzar, in her films, has been very careful about how she shapes men and what they do. But more than often, they all teach the audience a way or two to be. 

Today, as Meghna Gulzar celebrates her birthday and has a filmography of some of the most moving films, we celebrate her by celebrating the men she wrote about and giving Hindi cinema some gems of characters. 

Amol Dwivedi from Chhapaak


Cast: Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey. 

Available On: Disney+ Hotstar.

Malti was living a life that she had to build again from scratch while the entire world looked at her with a very bothersome gaze. The gaze was either sympathy or fear and there was nothing in between. Amid all of this came Amol, a man who saw her as a human and made her believe in herself more than she did before. She smiled differently around him because he enabled emotions in her that were suppressed. Vikrant as Anmol gave us one of the most endearing men in Hindi cinema. 

Sam Manekshaw from Sam Bahadur

Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Sanya Malhotra, and Fatima Sana Shaikh. 

Available On: ZEE5 (yet to premiere)

Sam Manekshaw was a real person, but the way Meghna Gulzar chose to present him was what took home the trophy. For a man with an abundance of charm, he also knew how to not misuse it. He was different and not only had empathy but also knew how to empower women around him. Vicky Kaushal played the man so well that the final look into the camera spoke to the audience and made us fall in love with Sam Bahadur. 

Iqbal Syed from Raazi

Cast: Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal. 

Available On: Amazon Prime Video.

Yet another Vicky Kaushal character was created by Meghna Gulzar. This one has to be by far the most moving of them all. Firstly, Iqbal was an officer of the Pakistani army. Secondly, he wasn’t the stereotypical evil who only had bad things to say about India. He was a man divided between love and duty and at no point did he choose to be evil around the woman he loved but was deceived by. Iqbal landed so well because there was a human in him and not a stereotyped robot. 

Ashwin Kumar from Talvar

Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi, Irrfan Khan, and Tabu. 

Available On: Disney+ Hotstar.

A rather small part but with a massive impact. In a script written by Vishal Bhardwaj and directed by Meghna Gulzar, Irrfan existed and that itself is enough to tell you magic was about to happen. An investigative officer who is investigating a double murder is the tough guy on the front. The real layer is revealed when he goes back home and his wife waits there to welcome him back into their distressed world. Khan knows how to make those 5 minutes of plot a highlight and for a husband who is on the verge of a breaking marriage, at no point does he choose to be insulting or demeaning. The frustration is evident, but that doesn’t lead to either playing the gender card. 

Abhay Sachdeva from Just Married

Cast: Fardeen Khan and Esha Deol. 

Available On: Disney+ Hotstar.

Just Married: Marriage Was Only The Beginning!..., a movie from the early days of her career, Meghna tried her hand at putting forth her perspective on marriage. What if two people aren’t compatible? Should they still stick to each other? Fardeen’s Abhay was a man who tried to make things right. Being a young man who has learned a very shattering truth about his marriage, the approach was so subtle and never overdramatic. Just Married is not the perfect film but it is a heartwarming one. About relationships and what sails them.

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