Planet Bollywood
Defying Stereotypes!
- Planet Bollywood Special Correspondant           Let us know what you think about this article

Over the recent decade Bollywood is celebrating coming of age, women-lead driven films with aplomb and how!

With these films, women have not simply played to the tunes of the patriarchal society but stood their own ground and have found support with audiences across the country, going by the official numbers.

While critically acclaimed films like “The Dirty Picture”,“Kahaani” and “Ishkqya” (Vidya Balan’s most iconic films) found commercial acceptance and paved the way for women-centric films, several other strong female protagonist films have etched onto audiences memory – The Kangana Ranaut starrer Queen, directed by Vikas Bahl was a coming-of-age film, that defied all trends and norms in Bollywood and went on to do stellar business at the box office, despite not having a popular male actor headline it. In fact the film was re-released in theatres on popular demand.

Says Girish Wankhede, Head Marketing, PVR Pictures, “Now in the new era, films like QUEEN show that actresses can drive a film if backed by great production house, good marketing and strong content”.

Says a trade source, “When money ruled the marquee with big stars opting for blockbusters, some remarkably content-driven women-centric movies made a big splash in Bollywood. Unlike the over-hyped star-studded films tailor-made to pull more audience to theatres, these films balanced their 'masala' quotient with good content and through smart and innovative marketing and PR,reached their target audiences and saw great commercial success. The promotions of these films had to be out of the box and played a key role in giving these films the push they required, changing the landscape of cinema”. With films like Mary Kom starring Priyanka Chopra in and as Mary Kom, Bollywood stood up to showcase the achievements of women through its films. The movie went on to enter the highly coveted 100-crore club and paved the way for other sports biopics lead by male protagonists like Azhar,biopic on MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev. Rani Mukherjee starrer Mardaani and Highway starring Alia Bhatt too , went on to do encouraging business at the box office , giving an average return of 59 per cent to their producers.

By contrast, the 24 Bollywood films (with costs above Rs 10 crore each)that released last year, including the eight woman-centric ones, gave an average RoI of a mere 3.16 per cent. This implies the tinsel town's overall financial performance would have been in a bad shape if it was not for the success of the woman-oriented blockbusters.Official sources reveal that producers spent a total of Rs 185 crore on making eight female-centric movies between January and September 2014. These movies earned close to Rs 294 crore (box-office collections, satellite and music rights) - an RoI of 59 per cent.

The year 2015 too seems to be looking up for these dynamite films with the recent success of NH10 that marked Anushka Sharma’s foray into production – Made on a humble budget, the edge of the seat, gripping, thriller broke stereotypes and recovered costs over its opening weekend.

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