From Deepika Padukone to Anushka Sharma, and from Priyanka Chopra to Dia Mirza, here are some of the women producers who are changing the content game in Bollywood
Deepika Padukone and Anushka Sharma, All images courtesy: mid-day archives
Bollywood has come a long way when it comes to women-centric films. While we did had iconic films like Mother India and Arth in the older days, the modern generation has produced a lot more content concentrating on women. From Kahaani to Raazi, and from Neerja to Chhapaak, we see Bollywood shifting its dynamics to focus on women as their highlighting point. Apart from films, we have a long list of women producers who have been successful in Bollywood be it Zoya Akhtar, Farah Khan or Meghna Gulzar.
Over the years, Bollywood has been witnessing a noticeable change - male domination is slowly being edged out - from movies and scripts to women getting into direction and production. Recent years have seen a host of women getting into production to create meaningful films with nimble, well-plotted scripts - there is indeed a new wave of content in Indian cinema. Women are changing the narrative and showcasing stories from a neutral perspective. From commercial cinema to parallel cinema, women are producing films in all genres.
On the occasion of International Women's Day, here are some women who promise to be pave-changers as producers.
Deepika debuted as a producer in 2020 as she released the first film under her banner KA Entertainment titled Chhapaak. A real-life story about an acid-attack survivor, the film created quite a stir amongst industry-folk, audiences, and critics alike. Deepika's vision as a producer is to back films that need a platform and have an important story to tell. She portrayed the lead character of Malti in Chhapaak, possibly one of the most difficult roles of her career in Bollywood. The film directed by Meghna Gulzar received widespread critical and commercial success.
Her next project is '83 which stars her husband Ranveer Singh. '83 is based on the Indian Cricket Team's victory in the 1983 World Cup. Ranveer Singh plays the lead character of Kapil Dev, who was the captain of the World Cup-winning team, while Deepika plays the role of his wife. The sports biopic will release on April 10.
Unlike most of the other filmmakers who believe in cashing-in the glory of their previous success or attempting the same genre of masala potboilers, Sharma began her producer journey with a film titled Phillauri. It was a love story of a woman who's separated from her beloved and becomes a ghost after committing suicide. The finale of the film may have received mixed reactions, but there lay the film's biggest strength and the most endearing quality. This was followed by a couple of beautiful films like NH-10 and Pari.
Priyanka Chopra entered into the production world in 2015, backing Marathi, Punjabi, Sikkimese films through her production house Purple Pebble Pictures. As a producer, she has backed movies such as Ventilator, Pahuna: The Little Visitors and her last offering The Sky Is Pink.
Undoubtedly the first from the fabled Bhatt camp to break out solo, the actress-turned-producer-turned-director has managed to create a niche for herself. Her movies tend to question social mores while hinging on sexual liberation. But given the box-office returns of the film, nobody's complaining — especially not Pooja.
This industry maven has come a long way from churning out blockbuster TV soap operas. As of today, she produces marquee films that feature A-listers as well as upcoming talents. From period dramas to thrillers to sex comedies, she takes on all genres.
Along with her husband, director-editor Shirish Kunder, the choreographer-turned-director- turned-actor formed a production house called Three's Company — naming it in congruence with their triplets. The Main Hoon Na director has some big movies to her fame which includes Om Shanti Om and Happy New Year.
One of the co-founders of Red Chillies Entertainment, her name has been attached to some of the biggest hits of Bollywood — be it Ra.One or Chennai Express or Happy New Year. So far, the producer-designer has maintained an enviable track record.
Deepshikha has been a true inspiration for many women out there. From donning the hat of a mother and an entrepreneur, she has now taken up the role of a producer taking forward her father's production house Pooja Entertainment. Being Vashu Bhagnani's daughter and Jackky Bhagnani's sister, production is in Deepshikha's genes and she had to turn to it sooner or later. Having recently helmed the successful Saif Ali Khan-starrer Jawaani Jaaneman, she has a great line-up of upcoming films including Coolie No. 1 (Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan) and Bell Bottom (Akshay Kumar) in the near future.
Dia has shown her talent and versatility across the different roles she has played in her life, be it as an actor, a producer or a philanthropist. As the founder of her new production house One India Stories LLP, Dia aims to share meaningful narratives across different platforms and mediums. She is known to be experimental and is currently in conversation with many scriptwriters and filmmakers for compelling stories.
Reema Kagti's directorial career has been inspiring for everyone and when she partnered with Zoya Akhtar to start their production house Tiger Baby Films, one could expect nothing but the best, and that's what they have delivered! Be it the path-breaking series Made in Heaven, which revealed uncovered truths about the wedding business or Gully Boy, India's entry to the Oscars, Reema has been the mind behind some of the most iconic characters in Bollywood.
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