Not a saint, nor a sinner…


The Hindi film heroine could just be having the last laugh after all. Sure, she must look flawless but she is also allowed a great many shades that not long ago would have marked her out clearly as a vamp, a slut, a freak. She does not necessarily fake coyness, is an equal participant in life and love and is no emotional fool either.

Gal with gumption

“Haan dil ki sunli maine, haan rahe chunli maine… pehli baar,” croons the free-spirited ship dancer Farah Ali (Anushka Sharma) energetically in Dil Dhadakne Do, before she smuggles her new love interest Kabir Mehra (Ranveer Singh) into her room.

A ‘pehli baar’ love scene that’s got punch and energy and warmth… By the end of the film she also ends up teaching her lover to take the plunge (literally!) and follow his dreams. Wow.

Flawed yet fab!

As the foul-mouthed, bickering shrew in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Tanu (Kangana Ranaut) leaves, hooks up again with her ex-boyfriend, greets family friends in her hometown draped in just a towel, uses her wiles to win her husband back from the brink of his second marriage, is a far inferior creature to her doppelganger Kusum – and yet it is this gorgeously flawed woman that we feel for her and laugh with and love; thank you Aanand L Rai!

On her own terms

Neither vamp, and definitely not virgin either, the Hindi film heroine is emerging as an entity with needs and quirks, a flesh and blood being who simply cannot be categorised as ‘Devi’ or ‘Slut’ so easily anymore.

For instance, which pigeonhole could Vijaya Laxmi (Lisa Hayden) in Queen be slotted into? A bohemian single mother who lives life on her own terms, she inspires Rani Mehra (Kangana) to break free and live free.

Finding herself

Precisely the case with Laila (Kalki Koechlin), who goes ahead and smashes quite a few myths in Margarita With A Straw… and this while being largely confined to a wheelchair.

In the course of this Shonali Bose directorial, Laila discovers herself, explores a sex life with male and female lovers and basically refuses to allow her cerebral palsy-related physical difficulties to overwhelm her, as she wheels down the path to find herself.

Sexually independent

When was the last time you met a father who almost impishly introduced his 30-year-old daughter to her suitors as a “financially, emotionally and sexually independent, non-virgin woman”?

Piku, like many regular women, tries to keep many balls in the air, juggling the managing of her household and a cranky parent, and a demanding career… all this and a sex life that she tries not to neglect either. It’s a simple fact, neither to be loudly flaunted nor furtively concealed – and director Shoojit Sirar depicts it beautifully.

No more shame

In small town Varanasi, bound by tradition and misogyny, Devi Pathak (Richa Chadda) in Masaan has it a lot tougher than the metro-dwelling Piku.

Devi surfs porn on the net, gets active between the sheets with her boyfriend - which ends in a horrific manner - and later frankly says she wanted to have sex because of “jigyasa” (curiosity). At the end of it, she finds redemption. It’s time for shame to leave, for good.