Regional Indian cinema explores woman-centric content

A glimpse of women beyond Bollywood

Cinema

March 6, 2020

/ By / Kolkata

Indian cinema explores woman

Regional Indian movies are coming up with films rich in content

While Bollywood has been producing a lot of woman-centric films in the last few years like Dangal, Pink and the recent Thappad, regional cinemas are not far behind. Indian movies in various languages have also been portraying feminist characters and sometimes they are even more sensitive than Bollywood.

Even though the word cinema has become quite synonymous with Bollywood in India, the regional movies are not far behind and sometimes even surpass the Hindi films. The content-driven movies from the regional languages like Assamese, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi or Telugu are progressive and can compete head on with Bollywood flicks. Not only are the films rich in content but some of their movies have strong characterisation of women. With International Women’s Day on March 8, here are a few gems from the collection of regional movies in India that celebrate women:

Rajkahini (2015)

The Bengali movie, directed by Srijit Mukherjee has an ensemble cast of eleven female characters in a brothel at the borders of India-Bangladesh and how they are affected by the partition of Bengal in 1947. The film portrays women putting a brave front to fight against eviction from their homeland even though they are humiliated and threatened. The movie also presents the juxtaposition between the people in power and the common people fighting to keep their home. Critically acclaimed, the movie was adapted in Hindi as Begum Jaan (2017).

Ramante Edenthottam (2017)

Ramante Edanthottam

This Malayalam film captures the complexities of marital life and how women are relegated to few accepted positions and considered to be ignorant of the manners of the world. It portrays the male chauvinism present in the households and how the protagonist Malini breaks free from them. The movie has a mature take on romance and relationships without dramatising it.

Sinjar (2018)

This Jasari-language (a colloquial language used in Lakshadweep islands) movie, is a woman-centric movie about peace. With the 2014 Sinjar massacre in Iraq as background, the movie tells the story of two women who escape from terrorists but come home to their conservative society that is even worse and treats them cruelly for being sexually exploited. The movie shows that how an international act of violence affects and changes the lives of the people.

Crisscross (2018)

Crisscross

Directed by Birsa Dasgupta, this Bengali movie presented the lives of five women from various walks of life in a metropolitan city which run criss-cross and intersect with each other. From a single mother to a single-earner aspiring actress, from an independent business-woman and an independent photojournalist to a timid housewife, the movie brings to forefront the challenges each of these ladies face in their life.

Nude (2018)

Directed by Ravi Jadhav, this Marathi movie tries to portray the patriarchal mindset of how a woman’s integrity is judged by how she presents her body to the world. The film focusses on the tale of a mother who works as a nude model for income. The movie through its journey portrays that it is also a respectable profession and presents the double standards of the society.

Nathicharami (2018)

Nathicharami

This five national award winner Kannada movie questions patriarchy as it explores women’s sexual desires with a young widow as the protagonist. It also brings out the way some relationships are taken for granted and how society conditions the people to do the same. It also shows that how women who express their views or speak their mind are judged.

Uyare (2019)

In his directorial debut, Manu Ashokan deals with the life of an aviation student who dreams of becoming a pilot but becomes a victim of acid attack. This Malayalam film goes on to show that how she builds up herself and her lost confidence by letting go the turbulent past. The movie doesn’t become just her journey to justice, but it is more about the character’s journey towards saving and helping herself.

Hellaro (2019)

A Gujarati period film, Hellaro (The Outburst) revolves around a group of women living in Kutch region of the state in 1970s. It focusses on the lives of rural women in a shackled society were patriarchy even forbids them from dancing and the joy it provides. But every night, the men of the village perform garba (folk-dance of west-Indian state Gujarat) to appease the goddess for rainfall while the women stay at home. The movie highlights the issue that how men worship the goddess but disrespect and bind the women in their lives.

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