The first quarter of 2017 ended with the action thriller, 'Naam Shabana', with kudos to Taapsee Pannu, and marked a short period in which so many films had women at the centre, and they acquitted themselves well.
The second quarter opens with four small films, of which the understated slice-of-life film 'Mukti Bhawan' stands out. Next, Vidya Balan does the power packed 'Begum Jaan', in the Independence era drama, in which she plays a brothel madam, who has to fight off those who want to divide her home. In the following week, Raveena Tandon returns in a lead role after a long time in a film called 'Maatr'; she looks as glamorous as she did in her heyday. The same week, Sonakshi Sinha plays a journalist in 'Noor'.
Even though her action film 'Akira' did not work too well at the box-office, Sonakshi has wisely made the decision to do only films that have her in substantial roles, following the lead of Kangana Ranaut, who also won’t pick a film in which she is just for decoration.
Halting the march of the female brigade is 'Baahubali 2—The Conclusion', and then it’s business as usual with films like 'Meri Pyraai Bindu' (with which a new, trim Parineeti Chopra makes a comeback opposite Ayushmann Khurrana), 'Hindi Medium', 'Half Girlfriend', 'Kalakaandi', 'Sarkar 3', 'Raabta' and the much-awaited Salman Khan starrer 'Tubelight'.
It’s not in Hindi, but there is Baywatch releasing in this period too, in which Priyanka Chopra makes her big Bollywood debut.
The interesting thing is that today’s Hindi film leading ladies are more interested in pushing the envelope because they know that in regular mainstream films, they haven’t much to do except be the leading man’s sexy love interest and gyrate to an item number or two. Anushka Sharma could do films like 'NH 10' and 'Phillauri' because she produced them herself. Priyanka Chopra is producing films in regional languages, and Kangana Ranaut wants to direct. These talented young women might just herald the change they want to see in Hindi cinema and command more respect and money. It’s about time too!