Pink, Queen, Parched, Aisha featured some delightful and enviable friendships between well-written female characters.
Last Updated: 01.20 AM, Aug 07, 2022
Be it on screen or off, female friendships seem to be something that gets looked upon with a much harsher lens compared to their male counterparts. ‘Catty’ seems to be the favourite word among sexists to describe the inherent nature of friendships between women, as if the latter suffer from an inability to form meaningful bonds without getting something in return. Sadly, the silver screen too has been guilty of perpetuating such stereotypes, with its fair share of depictions of female friendships that are shallow, spiteful and rarely profound.
But contemporary cinema seems to be on the right track when it comes to making right of those wrongs. Bollywood too has graced viewers with some delightful depictions of female friendships, which have caught the inherent joy and depth that make up suh bonds. The industry has not shied away from tackling some hard hitting subjects while they’re at it too, leading to memorable films that weave themes of community and womanhood into their tales of female empowerment.
Jane Austen’s classics have time and again inspired quite a few woks for the silver screen. Rajshree Ojha’s 2010 film Aisha was one among them. Adapted from Austen’s novel Emma, which also served as the inspiration for the Hollywood film Clueless, Aisha revolves around the tale of the titular protagonist. Aisha seems to have everything going for her; she is rich, popular and has misplaced confidence in her matchmaking skills. When she tries to set up one of her friends with a man, friendships are put to the test. Even when her honest attempts backfire, causing pain to her loved ones, Aisha’s friends make sure to be at her side despite her mistakes, which they do not hold against her. The film shows how Aisha’s friends stick with her through not only the fun and breezy times, but also the hard ones when she falls short of becoming a good friend herself.
Kangana Ranaut’s Queen definitely made an impact as an impactful tale of female empowerment. But besides showcasing Rani’s tale of growth from sheltered, unsure woman to self assured young lady, the film also showed how the helpful people she met across her journey helped in her development as well. One among them comes in the form of Vijayalakshmi, a woman Rani meets at a hotel in Paris. When Rani finds herself dejected and on the verge of giving up and going home, Vijayalakshmi pulls Rani out of her funk, effectively marking the beginning of Rani’s blossoming into an empowered woman.
Apart from light and breezy stories, Bollywood has also weaved tales of friendship between women around some hard-hitting and tumultuous tales as well. Parched is one among them. The 2015 Leena Yadav directorial follows the story of four women in a patriarchal village in Gujarat as they battle vicious practices that prevail in the village under the garb of tradition. Bonding over their shared sense of frustration on the traditions that try to suppress them, the decision they take that ultimately releases them from their plight too seems to have been a consequence of their strong friendship.
Pink was a groundbreaking film indeed in the way it addressed the rarely talked about consent and sexist stereotypes. The film follows the story of three women who are accused of assaulting a man. The women are subjected to a range of incessant harassment by their accusers. Despite the difficulties their bond is put through, the three make sure to stick with each other no matter their trials.