Have you recently watched Thappad, a Bhushan Kumar and Anubhav Sinha masterpiece, and are feeling moved? Movies like Thappad which create a cathartic space for the Indian audience are always welcomed by communities suppressed for centuries and open-minded people.
What’s praise-worthy is Bollywood’s attempt at making stories like these reach the masses. Against each hundred of sexist Bollywood movies is one story that stands against it.
We have been conditioned to watch a male protagonist, a hero; when it comes to a female lead, the director risks the rank of his movie. This is because it will take time for a century-old Bollywood to re-condition and get things right.
There are some movies that have tried to put things in perspective and straighten the lens of society. Some have left a mark and we’ll revisit them. While most of these movies discover different dimensions of women empowerment, there are a couple of them which seek to gain acceptance of being queer.
Inspiring movies like Thappad have set a benchmark for Bollywood for bringing untold stories on the tabletop for the public.
You must watch these similar movies like Thappad which are not typical bollywood films
Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu starrer Pink sought to educate the Indian audience about ‘consent’. It’s a thriller with powerful dialogues that make you rethink if there is any difference between humans and animals. It’s famous dialogue still echoes in my ears, “No means no.”
A Deepika Padukone production and starrer, Chhapaak is a real story based on an acid attack victim who refuses to keep quite about this. The story unfolds and more than sympathizing, the viewers are encouraged to empathize.
This movie is a slap for all those people who discriminate on the basis of religion, despite India being constitutionally secular. With dialogues which will move you, break your biases and sensitize you, the movie also pushes you to make India, India again.
Sridevi’s art-piece that traces the journey of an Indian mother learning English to gain her family’s respect has taught the youth so much. Our mothers sacrifice their whole lives for us, and we don’t even treat them with dignity. Most of the women out their are robbed of their identities because of societal pressures and roles. This movie makes you feel sorry for all the times you have mistreated your mother or wife.
Not as big a commercial success, Panga stars Kangana Ranaut as a mother and a Kabaddi player. A middle class family and their story reveals to us, with a mix of laughter and tears, the struggles and sacrifice of a woman. What’s different is, the characters are way better than families in reality. They are supportive and stand by each other every time.
A Netflix movie that builds up to something shares the story of Nanki’s boyfriend being accused of rape during the #MeToo wave and how things are dealt with. It is a regular movie, but maybe not so regular a thriller.
This feminist statement stars Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar who have justified the roles of sharpshooters Chandro and Prakashi Tomar. The film hits a bullseye with a compelling story and dialogues.
8. Article 15
Ayushmann’s this work has received critical appraisal because it deals with a taboo topic for Bollywood- discrimination on the basis of caste. An individual who has never acknowledged his privilege will resonate with the protagonist on a journey to discover truth.
Sridevi’s last work left us with so much to wonder about. The movie is an apt representation of how women are made into the vulnerable sex and taken advantage of. But not every time.
Mom is a must watch for you if you are looking for more women centric movies like thappad.
Kangana Ranaut’s Queen won the box office and critics together, which is rare. A story of a woman who goes on her honeymoon alone, and comes back having found herself is a lesson in disguise for all the women out there craving some soul-searching and an independent identity.
This mystery-thriller featuring Vidya Balan revolves around a pregnant woman, exploring themes of feminism and motherhood. This brilliantly written, directed and acted film won 5 Filmfare awards too!
A story of two women that received a sound critical response, the movie also shows how women are degraded by the way they are treated.
My all-time favorite is Manoj Bajpayee’s Aligarh which has a great story based on a very important topic (acceptance of the queer community) backed by beautifully written and narrated dialogues and poetry.
14. The Sky is Pink
A 2019 drama film, The Sky is Pink revolved around Aisha and her family. When you are watching this film, pay special attention to Priyanka Chopra’s character. Farhan Akhtar’s character too, has been thankfully not a sexist one.
15. Dear Zindagi
A movie on mental health and well-being is less heard of in Bollywood. This light storied movie revolves around a girl who tries to overcome her past and be happy as a result.
Rani Mukherjee in the uniform plays the part of a bold woman, standing up against the wrongs done on other women. If you are in the mood for some action, tune into this!
A commercial blockbuster and heart-winning for the critics, Dangal is a movie everyone loved. The film portrays the benefits of empowering your young daughters and how direly this change is required, especially in rural India.
18. Chak De India!
Another sports-based movie reminds us that women are no less than men are.It’s a movie that has stayed with us in times we needed motivation and felt let down by society.
A movie featuring 4 girls and their respective journeys gives us different meanings or angles to look at feminism.
A movie that didn’t shy away from telling the Indian audience that women have desires too received critical acclaim. This is a must-watch for people to understand the importance of the feminist movement.
Actually, the list is a little too long (not endless) when it comes to these movies. But for now, these are some must-watch movies to help you gain better perspectives.
If we missed out on your favorite Indian progressive movies like Thappad, let us know in the comments below!
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