Cinema@100: From Mother India to Munni

By HT

It's the classic chicken or the egg debate. When it comes to portrayal of women on screen, do commercial films merely reflect prevailing attitudes or do they shape and contribute to those attitudes as well? Though the debate has gained currency in recent times, there are no easy answers.

For years, heroines twiddled their thumbs playing ‘love interests’, while heroes fought the system and beat up the bad guys. Not much has changed if you look at films such as Dabangg or Rowdy Rathore. But films such as Kahaani prove that movies with female leads can work at the box office.

“Audiences have always been ready for female-centric content if it is a great film,” said Sudhir Mishra, director of Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi and Chameli, at a panel discussion on portrayal of women in cinema. “It is the value system of the producers and distributors tha