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5 Bollywood Movies that Move the Indian Feminist Movement Forward

5 Bollywood Movies that Move the Indian Feminist Movement Forward

Priyanka Chopra, one of the most popular Bollywood actresses, once said that “films are a reflection of society and society is a reflection of films.” It is well known that India can do better when it comes to the treatment of women. They are oppressed, dehumanized and treated as second class citizens in many parts of India. Bollywood followed suit. Bollywood has been notorious for the ill-treatment of actresses. This includes a large gender wage pay gap, objectification in songs, less substantial roles in movies, etc. However, times have finally been changing. After the #MeToo movement and actresses finally speaking out on the discrimination, significant change is being seen in the movies. I’ve listed 5 (out of many) movies that have taken the feminist movement in Bollywood forward:

1. RAAZI

When people think of spies, they normally think of a man. This true story is about a young, naive girl who becomes a spy for India by marrying into a family of Pakistani army officials. This movie pushed many boundaries by allowing a female to take on a role that is more commonly thought of as “masculine”. The icing on the cake is that this film was one of the most successful in terms of profit. This means that the Indian population is growing to accept the fact that women don’t have to conform to stereotypes placed on them.

Where to stream it: Amazon Prime

Via Rotten Tomatoes 

2. PADMAVAAT

The actress Deepika Padukone states that she finds the journey of her character, a queen that goes to extreme lengths to protect her land, is relevant today because in this era, women are finally standing up for their rights with dignity. This movie was controversial on whether it was progressive or regressive for feminism. However, it was the most expensive movie made, had only Padukone on the poster, and made her the highest paid actor in the business. It was also the most profitable movie of the year, earning a grand total of $11.60 million. Despite having two very successful male actors in the movie, Padukone still got paid the most, showing that the gender pay gap has the potential to be diminished.

Where to stream it: Amazon Prime

Via Indian Express

3. QUEEN

Queen is known to be the trailblazer of female-led films. It came at a time where “women-oriented” movies were known for not making profits. The movie shows the journey of a sheltered girl who morphs into an independent fierce woman. It attempted to normalize many taboos Indian girls have to face and highlighted that women can move forward in their lives without men. This was the first of many films that had a female lead that saw ample success and opened doors for other such movies to be made.

Where to stream it: Netflix

Via Indian Express

4. PINK

Despite having a population of 1.3 billion, sex is a topic that India typically shy away from. Unfortunately, that also means consent is a topic that is not discussed. This movie brought the concept of sexual consent and the systematically patriarchal judicial system to mass audiences. This movie follows three women who attempt to challenge the pre-existing laws that perpetuate the rape culture in India. What added to the impact of this film is that Amitabh Bachan, India’s most celebrated and respected actor, also acted in this movie. His support not only brought in larger audiences but also promoted the idea that the feminist movement also needs men like him.Where to stream it: Netflix

Via Times of India

5. THAPPAD

Thappad, which means “slap”, is about a seemingly happy married couple until the husband slaps his wife, Amrita during a party in a fit of rage. Feeling disrespected and violated, Amrita demands a divorce. The movie takes us on a roller coaster ride as Amrita navigates cititism, misogyny, and gaslighting at every step.The movie aims to show that a patriarchal mindset is so deep rooted within Indian society that we often overlook clear acts of injustice and oppression. 

Via First Post

These movies are many more go to show that the feminist movement is taking Bollywood by storm. In need of some girl power in your life? Stream these movies ASAP, collegiettes!

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Shabrina Parikh
Shabrina Parikh

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