Padmaavat , Pari, Raazi, Veere Di Wedding...women dominated many of the hits in 2018. At times when I saw women whooping it up in Hollywood films, I felt they were copying us.
Watching the eight stunning actresses of Ocean’s 8 I felt a deep and prideful sense of déjà vu. This could be our Veere Di Wedding(VDW), girl gang divided by half. Firstly our Veeres are no less glamorous, articulate and self-assured than the Ocean’s 8 girl gang. Secondly, they seem to address exactly the same issues of body-shaming, cat fights and pay parity.
Business as usual. But wait. The similarities are even more uncanny. During VDW, Kareena Kapoor Khan becomes a mother to the youngest superstar of India Taimur Ali Khan. Anne Hathaway who played one of the Verses in Ocean’s 8 also became a mother during her film’s shooting. She has spoken about how she was body-shamed for her additional weight after motherhood until she reached the sets of her girl-gang film where her co-stars came forward to make her feel complete and fulfilled by complimenting her on her glowing looks.
Decades thereafter it was Kareena Kapoor, eventually destined to be Sharmila Tagore’s daughter-in-law, who got into a squabble with Bipasha Basu on the sets of Ajnabee. Kareena ended up calling Bipasha a kali billi (black cat). Talk about a ‘cat –fight’.
Seeing Kareena bond so effortlessly with her co-stars in Veere Di Wedding I was reminded of her kali billi catfight. Yes, Kareena and the heroines have matured. I am not sure about Indian cinema.
Then came Alia Bhatt as a patriotic spy who creates havoc in her Pakistani in-laws’ home in Raazi has just become the first female hero in five years with a 100-crore box-office earning. The trio of girl-power hits was completed with.
Veere Di Wedding. And just when you think it can't get any better for women in Bollywood, there came Kajol in Helicopter Eela. Though it didn't do well, it reminded us that Kajol remains a man in a cabinet of men in the cinematic parliament.
Deepika Padukone commands a higher fee than her husband Ranveer Singh. And the show will continue in 2019 when Kangana Ranaut who virtually sacked the director and appointed herself in his place in Manikarnika, shows us what women can do when given positions of power.