WOMEN WIN THE TITLE RACE
Deepika, Alia, Shraddha, Anushka — the top female actors of Bollywood have titular roles in their upcoming films
As 2017 nears its end, the film release calendar for 2018 gets filled up. What’s interesting is the number of upcoming films featuring women in titular roles — Deepika Padukone in and as Padmavati; to be followed by Anushka Sharma in Pari; Shradhha Kapoor in the Saina Nehwal biopic, titled Saina; and Alia Bhatt in Raazi. (This is based on a book titled Calling Sehmat, and Sehmat is the protagonist played by Alia. The word ‘sehmat’ also means ‘raazi’, or ‘in agreement’.)
It goes without saying that the actors are kicked — being in the titular role means the responsibility of holding the movie together, no matter what the men get to do.
Shraddha feels that she is “really fortunate” to have signed Saina. “I think that’s going to be my hardest film till date,” she says, “and it’s going to entail months and months of preparation. It’s a huge responsibility for all of us [who are involved with the film].”
Anushka says, “Every film is tough, albeit for different reasons, but working on Pari has been a great experience. The film is creating the right kind of intrigue.”
Besides women in titular roles, we are seeing more films where the heroine is, in fact, the hero, e.g. Kangana Ranaut in Manikarnika, based on the life of Rani Lakshmibai, and Jacqueline Fernandez in the remake of the 2016 Hollywood hit, The Girl On The Train.
Deepika admits that despite iconic films such as Mother India (1957), where a woman led the film, such ventures do not come along “often and enough”. She says, “Maybe because it’s a marriage of a lot of things. At the creative level, you must have a subject that is worthy of all the effort. Then, you need a director who can do justice to that vision; and he has to find a muse who will do justice to his vision. Also, producers must have faith in you to invest [that much].”
Experts are “happy” but guarded. “It’s great to see women in titular roles. It shows a clear shift in mindset. But budgets for women-centric films are still not as much as [for] male actors’ films. There’s still some fear when it comes to banking on women,” says filmmaker Sanjay Gupta, who directed Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Jazbaa. NOTE TO READERS: Some of the coverage that appears on our pages is paid for by the concerned brands. No sponsored content does or shall appear in any part of HT without it being declared as such to our valued readers.
From far left: Actors Shradhha Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, and Alia Bhatt are all in titular roles in their next films