New Delhi, June 6 -- With movies such as Margarita With A Straw, Piku, Tanu Weds Manu Returns and NH10 doing healthy business and winning critical acclaim, it won't be wrong to say that the first half of the year belonged to the ladies of Bollywood.
But does the success of women-centric films also signal a changing mindset of the audience?
"Yes!" says filmmaker Aanand L Rai, whose movie Tanu Weds Manu Returns won both applauds and made '100 crore at the box office. "The credit goes to the audience. They have opened up to a bigger horizon," says Rai.
With female actors pulling off strong characters in the lead, the filmmakers are also experimenting with new scripts and taking advantage of the mature sensibilities of the cinema-going crowd.
"As filmmakers, it's our job to make various kinds of cinema and we have been successful in presenting some women-centric films," says filmmaker Shoojit Sircar, whose film Piku saw Deepika Padukone playing a woman who handles her work and home single-handedly.
Experts say that the reason why these films are doing well is because the audience is open to new content now. "You don't need to have just a hero to make a movie successful these days. The content is the hero," says trade analyst Amod Mehra.
The heroines are also enjoying the change. "We need to stop stereotyping women. She should be there to forward the plot and not just as a doll or an item," says actor Kalki Koechlin.
And this trend seems to be here to stay with more such films in the anvil. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will be seen as the protagonist in Sanjay Gupta's next, Priyanka Chopra is set to play a cop in the sequel to Gangaajal and Sonam Kapoor will be seen in a biopic on martyr flight attendant Neerja Bhanot.
"There is a demand for these kind of films from the urban middle classes, and women centric cinema is here to stay," says film critic Komal Nahata.