Women Power in Kollywood


On the occasion of International Women Day (March 8), Kollywood has little to celebrate or cheer.
Last week Sneha’s Bhavani touted as a women’s day special, where she plays a tough cop who cleans up the society of scums of earth (read male politicians), could not make it to the theatres!
When was the last time you saw a film in Tamil which had a powerful women character as heroine?
There was hardly any women presence in critically acclaimed films of 2011 like Payanam and Yudham Sei. The biggest hit of the year so far Siruthai portrayed its heroine as a dumb doll ready to shake a leg and show mid-riff.
Gautham Vasudev Menon who had always portrayed his women characters in his films with dignity, grace and style was accused by various groups of “showing women in bad light” in his latest Nadunisi Naaygal.
Hindu Makkal Katchi, a fringe organisation claimed that “certain scenes are sexually explicit in NN which also portrayed women badly”. Remember the same Gautham Menon had brilliantly depicted his woman character Jessy played by Trisha in the 2010 hit Vinnai Thandi Varuvayaa!
Says a leading actress: “Where are the powerful Kollywood women characters? Last year I would say only Jessy (Trisha) of Vinnai Thandi Varuvayaa and Chandrika (Nayanthara) of Boss Engira Baskaran, were independent, effective and honest portrayal of women on the screen.
Even Mani sir (Mani Ratnam) the man who has always portrayed women on screen the best in Indian cinema faltered big time with his Ragini (Aishwarya Rai) character in Raavanan†.
Powerful and lifelike portrayal of women is rare in Tamil cinema.
The five best portrayal of women characters in leading roles for the decade (2000- 2010) are: Priyamani as the fiery and fiercely independent Muthuazhagu for Paruthi Veeran for which she got the National Award, Jyothika as Archana the deaf-mute girl in Mozhi, Trisha as the Syrian Christian Malayalee girl Jessy who is going through an emotional minefield in Vinnai Thandi Varuvayaa, Parvathy as Mari the village girl who is in love with her cousin in Poo and Sneha in Pirivom Santhipom.
Today powerful women roles are no longer being written in Kollywood. An industry which has spawned the largest number of women directors in India, is running after larger than life hero characters. Most of the women directors who made significant films are either out of work or planning to make films with superstars!

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