We’re fortunately in an age where a Bollywood heroine is not just a damsel in distress waiting for her savior to show up. No, now we’ve got Mastani who dares to publically profess her love for an unattainable man, we’ve got Queen who ventures into the big bad world leaving an oppressive boyfriend behind and we’ve got Ayesha, a self-made woman who creates her own empire despite a dysfunctional family. But, not just in their films, actresses like Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut and Priyanka Chopra have gone ahead and broken multiple stereotypes before and during their career. Here’s our tribute to the divas who dared to go against rigid societal norms.
The thing that stood out about Deepika from the get go was that she was turning over a brand new career leaf. After being a national level badminton player, she had the guts to quit her father’s profession and pursue her passion. To say she’s been good at it would be an understatement.
Deepika has portrayed several strong women in her films such as Piku, Bajirao Mastani and Ramleela.
In 2015, she came clean about her battle against depression and even launched a mental health awareness project – The Live Love Laugh Foundation.
She became the face of Vogue’s #MyChoice campaign and was part of a controversial video about feminism and women empowerment.
She has never been hush-hush about her relationships like most of her contemporaries. She has an open break up with Ranbir and is quite verbal about her relationship with Ranveer as well.
As of 2017, Deepika has also traversed the road to Hollywood and has worked alongside Vin Diesel in XXX: The Return of Xander Cage. She has also made enchanting appearances at Hollywood talk shows and award nights.
Kangana, another starlet who had no connections in B-town, had a tough entry into Bollywood. After getting a thumb’s down from her conservative parents, she left home and took a crack at modeling in Delhi. She delved into theatre and soon enrolled herself into an acting course. Financial crunch had her surviving only on bread for a while.
When she got her first break into acting with Gangster, she did not speak a word of English. She was openly mocked about the way she spoke and her ‘unladylike’ demeanor. Not one to give up, Kangana taught herself and grew from strength to strength.
Today, Kangana is the outspoken Datto, the empowered Rani and the spoilt Tanu. She’s a 3 time national award winner and is counted alongside Bollywood A-listers.
On the personal front, Kangana never shied away from speaking up about her failed relationships be it Hrithik Roshan or Adhyayan Suman.
She has inspired thousands of women who think they aren’t good enough and continues to do great things in life.
One of the most ambitious women in our country presently, Priyanka is the pride of Bollywood and the entire country.
Her career in the Indian film industry started after she bagged the Miss World 2000 pageant, before which she had never thought of becoming an actress.
She began her career with The Hero and went on to make strong statements with films like Aitraaz, 7 Khoon Maaf, Mary Kom, Barfi!, Bajirao Mastani and DilDhadakne Do. All her roles are a true testament to the diversity that her talent possesses.
Apart from a brilliant actress, Priyanka Chopra is also a philanthropist who has spoken up about several issues like gender equality, child welfare and the environment. Her organization ‘The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education’ is dedicated towards uplifting underprivileged children. She has worked with UNICEF for several years and was recently named the global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador after being the National Ambassador since 2010.
Priyanka has also forayed into Hollywood and how! Ever since she set foot in Hollywood through her television series Quantico, she’s been unstoppable. She has gone on camera to mention that she took up Quantico to break the stereotype that Bollywood celebrities can only do Hollywood cameos as ‘exotic guests’. In the show, she plays an FBI agent who is an American of Indian descent. She is now working on the much awaited film Baywatch which has her playing the main villain.
Priyanka is moving ahead at lightning speed with two People’s Choice Awards and multiple chat show appearances already in her kitty. We’re just waiting and watching Priyanka conquer the world, and we couldn’t be prouder.
Be it Dev D, Margarita with a Straw, Shaitaan or The Girl in Yellow Boots, Kalki has always slayed with her roles. Through her bold film choices, she has thrashed gender roles set by our society but that’s not all she did.
She expressed her views about sexual assault on women through a video titled ‘It’s Your Fault’ created by Youtube channel All India Bakchod in 2012. In 2016, she appeared in an eye opening and empowering video called The Printing Machine, produced in tandem with Youtube channel Blush. In this video she recites a poignant poem that she wrote about the loopholes in Indian media coverage of crimes against women. This powerful video is a must watch.
For her fine acting chops, she has won several National awards and recognition at film festivals such as the Toronto Film Festival, Venice International Film Festival and Tallin Black Nights Film Festival.
She has achieved all this with no prior ‘Godfathers’ in Bollywood. Now that’s something to applaud.
On the personal front, she never remained mum about her divorce with the Bollywood biggie director Anurag Kashyap. She boldly mentioned that she’s not dead to him and will always be there for him.
Such is the strength of Kalki, who has never shied away from speaking against what she opposes and promoting the idea of empowered, unafraid women.
This Women’s Day, we salute our women, who could have easily settled for a life of comfort and ignorance to the world’s issues, but instead, did the exact opposite.