Alpha women take Bollywood centre-stage

November 2nd, 2008 - 6:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Kareena KapoorNew Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) Bollywood girls are no more the damsels in distress. Saucy ladies are staring down film posters during the all-important festive season and are attracting audiences in droves even as their male counterparts are barely visible or heard of. While Kareena Kapoor is the star attraction, splashed across all publicity materials for just released multi-starrer “Golmaal Returns”, the other big film on the marquees is Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut starrer “Fashion” and the male presence is as good as nonexistent in it.

These ladies swear, slap, snore and swig several drinks and are heroes of many Bollywood offerings. And they have achieved this fest not merely by virtue of their willingness to bare all. Clearly with closer-to-life protagonists emerging as leads in Hindi films, the urban woman has arrived on silver screen and how.

If “Fashion” is the story of three women trying to make their individual mark and stay ahead in a competitive and cut-throat work environment, then Mallika Sherawat doesn’t blink about wearing her innerwear as outerwear or arm wrestling in “Ugly Aur Pagli”. In “Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na”, audiences hoot for ‘Meow’ who abuses and scratches her opponent’s cheek, while her pal lectures sweetly on the virtues of non-violence.

In “Via Darjeeling” Sandhya Mridul is shown openly drinking with her mixed-group cronies while Sonali Kulkarni is portrayed, as a two-timer. Hit film “Cheeni Kum” has Tabu essaying the role of a confident, professional woman who holidays in London and falls in love with a man 30 years older to her and marries him.

Konkona Sen Sharma in “Life In A …Metro” may be on wrong side of 30, but she is not ready to marry by her mother’s choice, Raima Sen saves her husband from goons with her martial arts moves in “Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.”, and Shilpa Shetty gives no explanation for her unattached status when she dies of AIDS in “Phir Milenge“.

Already on the small screen, the dominance of women is complete. Even in the archaic soap operas, the model Indian daughters-in-law are invariably successful businesswomen. More importantly, dime-a-dozen reality shows are presenting a picture of women that has never been seen before. Girls indulging in flirting and backstabbing sessions have become routine.

In Colors’ reality show “Khatron ke Khiladi”, the reigning Bollywood star Akshay Kumar was overshadowed by daring women who say a prayer before going on to break many a “Fear Factor” record.

In MTV’s “Splitsvilla”, girls showed exactly what it takes to be the empowered new alpha woman as they compete for the attention of two boys even as their eyes are fixed on the big prize of landing a glam job. In Channel V’s modelling show, “Get Gorgeous 5”, and several others it was not uncommon to hear girls say that the sexiest part of their body is their tongue, get into a mud fight or dedicate a poem to themselves.

And finally one look at the advertising world and there is no doubt that the alpha woman is here to stay. From tiny girls trying to save for fulfilling their elder’s dreams to young ladies calling the bluff of a smart Alec, it is girls having all the fun all the way.

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