In today’s times when cinema has become business in a market, until women-centric movies don’t work at the box office, their retune is unlikely
These days actress Priyanka Chopra is excited about her woman-oriented movie “Saat khoon maaf”. As is evident, she is the sole heroine for seven men. Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj left no stone unturned for making the movie the way he wanted to, but alas, he didn’t get the kind of returns he was expecting. He was aware of the bitter truth that merely Priyanka’s presence in the movie wasn’t enough. That was the reason he wanted to cast seven well-known faces as her seven husbands so that the star value of the movie becomes an added attraction. He spoke to everyone from Ajay Devgn to Shahid Kapoor, but no one was ready to work in this woman-oriented movie. In the end, he could only get Naseeruddin Shah and John Abraham by way of big names. Trend expert Komal Nahta says, “The way some actors have started to rule over the films and have made it a monopoly, the market for women-centric roles has become bad. That is why only a handful of such movies are being made. And the ones that are being made are being avoided by heroes because they feel such movies will have a negative impact on their image.” Taran Adarsh from Trend Guide comments: “Big heroes are the most insecure. They always want the meatier role for themselves. They can’t accept if a woman’s role is more significant than theirs. They even do guest appearances in such movies on their own terms.” If we go a little into flashback mode, Dharmendra, Amitabh and Rajesh Khanna would work in such movies without a worry. Dharmendra worked in women-centric movies such as Bimal Roy’s “Bandini”, Rishi da’s “Anupama”, O P Ralhan’s “Phool aur pathhar” The best part is that through these movies an interesting facet of a sensitive hero were revealed. Similarly, it is hard to ignore Rajesh Khanna in “Amar prem” and Amitabh in “Mili”. It was never a problem for them to be working in women-centric movies. The only thing they took seriously was their roles. They would worry little about what is the heroine’s role, what will the footage she will get and so on. Having worked in several woman-oriented movies, veteran actress Asha Parekh says, “They we would all be worried about only getting a perfect result. Once we liked the role, no one worried about who was overshadowing whom. Everyone would concentrate only on their performance. But heroes nowadays like to take total control over the movie. That is leading to all the problems.” Kareena Kapoor agrees, but also feels that such movies do not have the need for big heroes. “Such things don’t matter for good movies. For instance, in my movies such as ‘Chameli’ and “Jab we met’, the role of the hero wasn’t a bad one. In my last movie ‘We are family’, you will appreciate Arjun Rampal’s acting, too.” Known for his roles in women-oriented movies, Jackie Shroff says, “It’s not important that every movie has the hero as the best. As an actor I only look at my role. Several times while working with the likes of Dimple and Madhuri or other actresses I appreciate, I haven’t worried about the role, either.”
But the other facet of this is that any big hero avoids working in such movies. In the immortal “Mother India”, it was lovely to watch Rajkumar, Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar together but these were the first few movies of their careers. Later even these actors avoided working in women-centric movies. Now heroines too don’t want to share the limelight with big actors in such movies and want to work with smaller ones. Actress Vidya Balan says, “I won’t leave a movie or a role for no other reason if mine is a powerful one.” After “No one killed Jessica”, she is working in Milan Luthria’s woman-oriented “Dirty picture”, which is based on the life of south Indian siren Silk Smitha. Obviously, Vidya will have to go for a bold look in the movie. She says, “This movie is a challenge for me and I am already excited about the shooting. I totally trust Milan ji’s capabilities and I know that he won’t make it a bold movie despite a bold subject.” She has a bold role in Sujoy Ghosh’s next. Vidya laughs, “Why do you keep mentioning boldness. Everything will be decided according to the script. But I just have to do them. I have my fans in mind and I will not let these movies become vulgar.”
Actress Kangna is also moving towards women-centric films. In her next movie, the name has changed from “Manu weds Tanu” to “Tanu weds Manu”. One of the main reasons is that Kangna plays the firebrand Tanu. So considering Kangna’s current popularity, not only has her role been given more importance, the title has also been altered. An excited Kangna says, “I am in no hurry. I will prove my mettle. Sooner or later, roles will be written keeping me in mind and I will play the lead. I am very happy with my role in “Tanu weds Manu”. Such roles open the doors of new opportunities for you.”
But the market still doesn’t accept women-centric movies. Trade critic Amod Mehra says, “Hero-oriented movies have their own charm. A superstar hero’s movie gets sold as soon as it is made but a big heroines movie is sold on certain conditions. One of the main reason is that today’s heroines lack that spark that can make them carry an entire movie on their shoulders. Forget the era of Nargis and Meena Kumari, when roles were written keeping them in mind.” Today, a totally woman-centric movie “United 6” is not getting a buyer. The movie is being released with great difficulty. Until women-oriented movies don’t make the cash registers ringing at the box office, makers will not become serious about them. The ball is now in the audience’s court. They will have to compose the new writing on the wall.