Deepika, Alia, Shrad­dha, Anushka — the top fe­male ac­tors of Bol­ly­wood have tit­u­lar roles in their up­com­ing films

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Prashant Singh

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

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