With Tanu Weds Manu Returns all set to cross over to the Rs 100 crore club, it reiterates the fact that the audience is in search of good content, more than anything else these days. It is definitely heartening to notice that the mature audience is not hung up on testosterone-driven, larger-than-life heroes to draw them to the theatres. They are now ready to spend the ticket money on a ‘good’ film, never mind if the protagonists have two diverse roles played by the immensely talented Kangana Ranaut, or Deepika Padukone playing a harassed daughter in a typical Bengali household in Piku.
This comes as refreshing news for the industry, which, reeling from the losses, was beginning to run shy of investing money in anything that deviated from the typical masala film format; this mostly had the hero (starring one of the Khans or any other hero with enough muscles to show) single-handedly beating up the goons when he wasn’t too busy stalking the heroine. A woman-oriented film was automatically considered doomed at the box office, even at the conception stage, and naturally, not many would want to invest in such subjects. Surprising, considering a few decades ago, Nargis Dutt-starrer Mother India was one of the highest grossing films at the box office. Somehow, by the time we reached early 2010, the producers had more or less started outright rejecting any story that had a woman playing a strong character, calling it a risky proposition.
But, thankfully, TWMR and Piku seem to have yet again brought back those golden days when women were treated as more than mere sex objects and with the kind of respect that they rightfully deserved. These success stories are likely to inspire other filmmakers to invest in not only woman-oriented strong subjects, but also other content-driven non-star cast films. Only the growth of all kinds of cinema, big and small, will eventually lead to the overall growth of the industry. Also, we hope that this will bring about the much-needed change in this male dominated industry, which still doles out step-motherly treatment to the actresses, in terms of payments and choice of roles.