International Women’s Day is almost upon us. Keeping in mind that International Women’s Day is just around the corner, we have compiled the list of the Top 5 women-centric films that have celebrated women and have talked about issues pertaining to women. Each year the United Nations in their efforts of bringing equality among genders, and celebrating the achievements of women, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8.
But before we get started, let’s look at the origin of International Women’s Day, its significance, and the theme for International Women’s Day 2021.
International Women’s Day Origin
Although International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world, it wasn’t always that the day was “international”. The first time women were appreciated and celebrated on a large scale was during National Women’s Day which was observed in the United States on 28 February 1907. The day marked the 50th anniversary of the repressed protest by New York’s female garment and textile workers who were massively misrepresented. In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly recognized 8th March as International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day 2021 Theme
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Women’s Theme is unlike any other year. The 2021’s theme for the day is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” According to the United Nations, the day “celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The day is a great opportunity to reflect on the plans and programs made to support, nourish and celebrate the misrepresented and unrepresented women across the world. These ordinary women have played unordinary roles in the history of their countries and the communities where they live.
According to the United Nations, over 2.7 billion women around the world have not been able to access the same choice of jobs as men due to legal restrictions. Even worse, only 25% of women are parliamentarians as of 2019. Even in 2020, when a human has stepped on the moon, made his mark on Mars, one in 3 women in the world experiences gender-based violence.
To battle the issue, the world needs to accept women as an equal part of society, equip them with the same resources as men, and then watch them thrive.
Today we have compiled the list of 5 wonderful films that have proactively celebrated women, reflected the issues that are swept under the rug, and put women front-and-center of wonderful stories.
International Women’s Day: Top 5 women-centric films of Bollywood
Based on the life and times of bandit Phoolan Devi, who led a gang of the scruffy angry gang of bandits in the ravines of India, Bandit Queen was India’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 67th Oscars. Directed by Shekhar Kapoor, the stomach-churning film retold the account of lower-caste Phoolan Devi who went all out and defied the norms of the regressive Indian society.
Directed by Ketan Mehta, Mirch Masala told the story of Sonbai (played by Smitha Patil), an ordinary woman, who stood on her two feet and said no to the powerful subedar of her village played by Naseeruddin Shah. The film also featured another influential figure in the character of Deepti Naval who played the wife of a village mukhiya. She revolted against her the atrocities her husband pulled when she wanted to educate their daughter. The film was an impressive wake-up call to women across the country and a catalyst in women’s empowerment. Smitha Patil’s performance was on Forbes list of “25 Greatest Acting Performances in Indian Cinema”.
The 1957-epic-Indian-drama was directed by Mehboob Khan and starred Nargis, Sunil Dutt, and a plethora of great actors. The film narrated the story of a village woman who lived in a poverty-struck Indian village. Watch as Radha (Naris) showed the strength of womanhood as she raised her sons in the absence of her husband against a money-lender in her village, among other issues. The title ‘Mother India’ played as a metaphor that represented India after Independence. The film was the first Indian film to ever be nominated for the Academy Award for the Best International Feature Film.
Directed by Vikas Bahl and starring Kangana Ranaut, Queen is a part coming-of-age story, part romantic-comedy film. The only difference between Queen and the plethora of romantic-comedy films is that the film chose to focus on romance with self, rather than a person or thing. Starring Kangana Ranaut who played the character of Rani, the film told the story of Rani getting heartbroken when her boyfriend breaks off the wedding a day before the d-day. The small-town girl then decides to stand for herself and decides to go on a honeymoon all alone. During her journey across Europe, she makes new friends, discovers the life she had lived blinded by the dependence she had over her boyfriend, and takes control of her life.
When next-door housewife Shashi Godbole (Sridevi) gets sarcastically dismissed and insulted by her husband and children for not knowing English, she turns things around and learns the language. Gauri Shinde’s simple story of a homemaker looked down upon her family struck chords with women across India. The film was also a tight slap to patriarchal husbands that inhabit the nation who insult their wives for their shortcomings, instead of helping them achieve their true potential.