How women in the Hindi cinema evolved from being Eye Candy to…

Thank god, we are past the old times when women were used as eye candies, only to play love interests or widows or dancers or mothers. In those times of Hindi cinema, women were nothing but just side characters wearing makeup and clothes to entice the hero and audience with their dance moves or drama. The movies portrayed angry and fierce men who would cross mountains to get their vengeance for the woman who in the movie was for grabbing eyes and balls.

It is so upsetting to watch movies with such shallow female characters who come on screen just for a song or lover spat. For eg: I was watching Shaan (1980), a movie about thieves who turn vengeful after their brother is killed by Shakaal. The movie has promising names like Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Parveen Bobby, Shatrughan Sinha, Rakhee and Bindiya Goswami. The movie was too much about the heroes trying to be macho men while women were mere damsels in distress with no purpose than crying, dancing and romancing. FYI, under Ramesh sippy’s direction, this movie flopped.

Now, let’s talk about today’s era movies. Yesterday, I saw Bachchan Paandey (2022), starring Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Arshad Warsi and Jacqueline Fernandez. The movie was about a merciless gangster who wants to imbibe fear in everyone while Myra, a noob director, tries hard to get her biopic on him made. The movie was too much about Bachchan Paandey (Akshay’s character) and Myra (Kriti’s character) but they forgot to emphasise VishuKant (Arshad’s character).

The movie was shot beautifully but coming to women characters in the movie, they were strong, bold and most importantly, needed in the movie. They were not unwanted, they were definitely a pillar that weighed the movie.

Let’s talk about the south Indian movie industry, they are still living in the past. They make angry macho films with women acting as the eye candy for romance, dance or dramatic roles. The best examples are Pushpa, RRR, Maharshi and more.

Sanjay Dutt recently claimed, “Bollywood no longer creates masculine movies like Sholey or Zanjeer; we need to do what the South Indian industry is doing,” while promoting KGF 2. Let me tell you something: Sanju baba got the greatest affection from movies like Munnabhai MBBS 1 and 2, which were not action films.

Coming back to recent times, one thing that boggles my mind is how some actresses merely act in the movie for dance numbers that give them the fame and attention they seek from the audience. The best example is Katrina Kaif. I love her personality and her beauty but she is the one making sure the practice of 80’s cinemas is alive. Now, some of the coming generations of actresses are following her lead.

All I am saying is, Dancing is an art and we love it along with the music. But, they represent a society and a world that most people believe is true. For eg: When in a movie hero teases or catcalls or slaps a girl, we as an audience think if he can do it, so can we. We believe that it is cool and full of swag. So, as an actor/actress, it is their responsibility to take full credit and not show something just for the heck of free PR or chills.

We must as an audience must support women-centric movies like Sherni, that bring out today’s women and empowerment. Gone are the days when hero-centric movies were “IT”. Gone are the days when for a hero’s stardom, we used to go to the cinemas, not it’s about the story. And I am really glad, that today’s generation is loving content rather than just masala movie with no backbone.

But still, movies like Kabir Singh, Sanju, Badrinath ki Dulhania, Dabangg and thousands more are loved by audiences to an extent to which I question ‘What the Hell were we thinking’, watching them so much that some are hit while some are superhit. These are today’s movies and if I really wanted to watch a movie about women’s harassment or mistreatment, I would have watched old movies like Albela (Oh beta Ji song movie), Woh Kaun Thi (Lag jaa gale song movie), and more instead.

What are your views, do comment. Thank you.

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