What do you link girl power to? Spice girls? feminists? Strong minded women. Bold, audacious women who can speak up to others. Women who fight back. I was thinking about the films I grew up with. Bollywood movies. Last year, it was 100 years of Indian Cinema, did you know that? Great news isn’t it?!
My mother, amajee, is what I call her, which means mum, mummy in Bengali. She had a video cassette which had clips of songs from bollywood films, she liked, including bits of tom and jerry (which my sister accidentally recorded over) and interviews of famous stars like Helen, a famous and talented cabaret dancer, a smooth criminal. Sizzling, sexy, stylish and very professional. Helen used to do all the hit icon songs in all the bollywood films. Never did she look dirty, dishonest, cheap and someone you wouldn’t look up to. Ah can’t think of the word. Some of her outfits were exposing, yet she always had her skin covered. Helen was good at her work. The image that always pops into my head is the song from the film “Caravan” where she wears a red dress. A very romantic and stunning song.
Also there was clips from other female stars, singers. Lata Mangeshkar. Her career began in 1942 and I believe she is still singing to date. Lata has dedicated her life to music. Another successful woman.
So films in India, do they depict the strong minded, girl power in films? Well, I had a deep sit down and think. Here are some of the titles, which I came up with. Films, which have influenced me in my life. Some which are classics, and I watched as child, but never really understanding until now. A full bloomed woman. As my list goes on, you may notice, there are not many. Unfortunately, that is true. Bolly wood films always focus on how strong men are. The list for brilliant ‘man power’ hero’s can go one forever. For women, it is quite difficult. I am sure I have missed a few titles. Forgive me for that. There are some great actresses, that come to mind, that I know are known for their versatile acting, such as, Rehka, Shabana Azmi, Nargis, Minakshi, Vidya Balan, Madhuri Dixhit, Smita Patel, Priyanka Chopra, Tabu. Here goes my list: Enjoy x
- Mother India – This film makes me cry, every time I watch it. The classic romantic scenes always make me blush. In this film, it shows Nargis, a suffering wife when her husband has an accident and has both of his hands decapitated. He abandones her and dies. Nargis has to fight for her children, her right, her village. Even fights off pervy men, who are old enough to be her grand father. A hard working mother. An inspirational film. See link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAqTT4y2YZA – In this clip, it shows Nargis asking for help, to save her children as they are starving..
- Roja – A story about a woman called Roja, who fights for the release of her husband, who gets kidnapped by terrorists and manages to get him back. See link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arEur8gF6ik
- Lajja – This film has many individual stories. All the women ( Manisha Korala, Madhuri Dixhit, Rehka, Mahima Chowdary,) fight for their rights. See link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJP2zCcFx54 – this scene Mahima kicks ass! Go Girl! Sorry no subtitles!
- Laadla – This film, may surprise you. I felt, this film was moving. Okay, main focus goes to the main actor. It was Sri Devi’s career minded role, that got me. She is a very strong minded business woman, who was very career minded and always wants to be first in everything. Nothing wrong with that. Not everyone are evil, though Sri Devi, does come across as an evil b*tch. Hard core bossy boots. Very bold.
- Neel Kamal – Waheda Rehman stars in this spooky reincarnation film. This film is about a kind woman who is very spiritual. She suffers and forgives all who makes her suffer.
- Satte Pe Satta – Hema Malini – is the eldest sister in law, in this film. She transforms a bunch of farm boys from cave men to gentlemen. (Her brother in laws). It’s a comedy, but shows dedication and a lot of coaching.
- Shor – Tomboy Jaya Bhaduri, fights to make money.
- Fashion – The dark side to Fashion Courture, and life of modelling. It is all about career girls getting to the top of your game, crumbling down and then bouncing back. Stars Priyanka Chopra, Kangana. Good film. Can’t wait for it’s sequel.
- Damini – Minakshi, fights for an orphan who was raped.
- No one killed Jessica – A story about a sister fighting a murder case of her sister. Stars Vidya Balan and Rani Mukerjee.
- Khoon Bari Maang – I truly love this movie. This movie is about revenge. Rehka, returning from the dead to get her sweet revenge on her evil husband, who destroyed her life.
- Asrani – This film stars Smita Patel, I thought it was Shabana Asmi, but I was wrong. This film is about a woman who has a husband. While she is pregnant, her husband is two timing her behind her back with her sister. A really horrible story. I think it is this film, where it shows, Smita, goes into women campaigns. Support abused women, something like that.
- Anjaam – Madhuri Dixhit has to be brave and fight against a man who is obsessed about her. She has to overcome her fear and face him.
Amar Prem – Shamila Tagore is thrown out of her home, and she goes to live in a house of women, where the women are prostitutes. Shamila’s character does not sell herself, as she has a talent. She can sing. She sings and brings money in that way. In her eyes, she sees herself as a normal person. People from her home town, ignore her, and believe she is dead. Sad story.
English Vinglish – Sri Devi’s come back movie. This film portrays a story of an indian woman who cannot speak or read English. As she spends her time bringing her children up and supporting her husband. She feels lost and alone. Spending time alone at home. The children don’t support her and speak very rudely, not respect. She is saved, as she has to go to USA, Manhatten to be exact. Here, she starts a short English class, makes new friends with people like herself who can’t speak English very well. A great confidence boost movie.