Entertainment07 March 2022
On a breezy afternoon not too long ago, around 40 prolific women professionals in entertainment got together to celebrate our representation in India. In one of the conversations, veteran actor Neena Gupta remarked, “The entertainment space has evolved, alongside our evolution as a society. As women became breadwinners, led businesses & teams, and became a central figure in every aspect of life, the roles that were offered to me became central to the story. In today’s scripts, roles for women are not dependent on a man, rather stand on their own”.
With each passing year, this evolution has been evident. Fabulous or flawed, police officer or thief, the women on our screen have grown from heroines and love interests to so much more. We see determined, driven characters like Kasturi Dogra in Aranyak. The Fame Game showed us the story of a superstar and a mother who fought all odds to do what was best for her family. Purva from Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein showed us darkness and desire like never before. Bharti in Geeli Pucchi defied years of conditioning by standing up for herself. The Bombay Begums and Bulbbuls of the world gave us the strength to stand up in the face of adversity. Every single story has been real, relatable, and rousing.
I love that every day I get to see more stories that reflect the lives of incredible women— portraying all their layers, shades, and flaws. It’s safe to say there’s no going back. We are not just a part of the story, but we are the story.
More women writers, directors, producers have also acted as a powerful driving force behind this change. Behind the screen, inclusivity is critical not only in amplifying voices that are not always heard, but also because it creates opportunities for stories that might not otherwise have been told.
When asked about the change in the industry, here’s what some of Netflix’s storytellers had to say:
Madhuri Dixit Nene (The Fame Game): “There has been an evolution, and the evolution has been tremendous. Women are no longer just pretty faces or avenging angels. Today women are viewed as whole people, playing different characters from different professions - whether it’s a mathematician or a sportswoman or a housewife with unfulfilled aspirations, women are taking on different roles every day and it’s fascinating to see this change in the industry.”
Shefali Shah (Delhi Crime): “The so-called heroine was stuck in a box. That box isn’t there anymore. There’s just so much expansion and expression in what we do these days. Now there are layers and layers in every character and every character is a heroine in her own right, unlike the quintessential trophy she used to be.”
Mrunal Thakur (Dhamaka): “Actresses are now getting substantial roles and…thanks to OTT services because now there are writers and directors who are writing roles for all women and it’s absolutely incredible to see this change happening.”
Tahira Kashyap (Feels Like Ishq): “We do need more representation. And they need to be stories written by women. It’s just that there’s a certain nuance to capturing things that doesn’t come out otherwise.”
The world is watching and the Anamikas and Gangubais are here to take it by storm. Whether it’s the big screen, streaming services, television or everything in between, there is a place for every story that deserves to be told. Because har kahaani hai zaroori, her kahaani hai zaroori.