5 Bollywood portrayals of ‘Women empowering Women’ characters, we absolutely love! 

How many times have we heard the phrase, “A woman is a woman’s biggest enemy”? So often that now it’s not just a mere assumption, but has become a rigid opinion –not only for men but women too. Even films and television shows have showcased many such female characters and their toxic relationships with each other –from workplace competition, family dramas, to love triangles. Be it envy, hatred or jealousy, we have seen women characters putting each other down in several daily soaps and films. 

However, many a times Hindi films got the female equation right and portrayed some commendable female characters that we would like to see more and more. Be it Avni, Sakshi, Kalindi and Meera from Veere Di Wedding, Dolly and Kajal from Dolly Kitty Aur Who Chamakte Sitare, Andrea, Minal and Falak from Pink or Rani and Vijayalakshmi from Queen, all these characters have got each other’s back and have set the true example of ‘women empowering women’. 

Let’s celebrate the spirit of women’s day a tad bit early and take a look at five such beautiful female relationships in Hindi films that we absolutely love!  

Amrita, Sunita, Swati and Shivani from Thappad

If you have watched this brilliant film helmed by Anubhav Sinha, you know it doesn’t talk about domestic violence but rather speaks about the oppression that has been normalised by people. It talks about an individual losing his/her individuality in a relationship. It talks about one person feeling superior in a relationship and the other letting it happen consciously or unconsciously. Thappad talks about the importance of speaking up and standing for oneself. 

Amrita (played by Taapsee Pannu) is so lost in her world, that she is unable to see all the unfair things that happen to her in her relationship with Vikram (Amrita’s husband played by Pavail Gulati), until one day he slaps her in the heat of the moment. 

Her struggle afterwards is real, where she finds comfort in Sunita (Amrita’s maid played by Geetika Vidya), Swati (Amrita’s to be sister-in-law played by Naila Grewal), and Shivani (Amrita’s neighbour, played by Dia Mirza). All these three women in small scenes and frames show their support to Amrita and give her the strength to fight her own battle; while Shivani gives Amrita a warm hug, Swati speaks for her in an argument with her fiancé Arjun.Sunita’s empathy portrays her support.  

Amrita too stands up for women through Anubhav and MrunmayeeLagoo’s powerful writing, before her life turns upside down. For instance, when Shivani drives her new car, Vikramasks Amrita, “Did Shivani buy a new car again! What does she do?” to which Amrita replies “Mehnat (hardwork)”. 

Shruti and Jhilmil from Barfi

This one might seem a bit off track, but the one scene towards the end wins it all. Without much further ado, let me tell you why we picked this bitter-sweet relationship between Shruti(Ileana D'Cruz) and Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra). 

Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) looks for Jhilmil in her special care home with Shruti, while Jhilmil hides from them. After trying his best to find her, Barfi walks away with Shruti. This is when Jhilmilrealises she wants to go with Barfi, and starts calling him. Given that he is dumb and mute, Barfi couldn’t hear Jhilmil, however Shruti did listen to her. Shruti takes a few seconds and then stops and intimates Barfi about the same. And after that, we all know what happens; Jhilmil and Barfi find their love in each other and Shruti walks away. If it wasn’t for Shruti’s selfless decision of letting Barfi go, he and Jhilmil would never have been united. This scene is probably one of the best of AnuragBasu’s directions, and Shruti is one of the strongest characters whobreak the stereotypical definition of women relationships. 

Shashi and Radha from English Vinglish

How can we celebrate women in Bollywood and not talk about the legendary late actor Sridevi’s English Vinglish? Shashi (portrayed by Sridevi) is a homemaker and caterer, who is often laughed at and looked down by her family because of her lack of English speaking skills. While visiting her sister in New York City, she comes across several situations which push her to learn English. Shashi enrolls herself in class and in her journey throughout she is supported by her niece Radha. Radha’s love, respect and support for Shashi help her move forward and give her wings to fly high. This film is a tale of women empowerment and Shashi and Radha’s relationship is one of the purest female bonds one might witness onscreen. 

Veronica and Meera from Cocktail

Meera (Diana Penty), a newly married dulhan, who is stranded by her husband in a completely new country, finds a friend in Veronica (Deepika Padukone), a complete stranger. Veronica takes Meera home and supports her no matter what until a typical Bollywood love-triangle starts and a boy (Gautam played by Saif Ali Khan) pops up in their relationship. Veronica dates Gautam at first but eventually Meera and Gautam fall in love. This love khichdi upsets Veronica and she asks Meera to leave the house. Putting her friendship first, Meera walks away from Gautam. But eventually Veronica realises her mistake and gets Meera and Gautam back. What we love here is the bond these two girls share. Both of them prioritise their love for each other. Even though their relationship went through a rough patch, the example of female friendship they set here is really satisfying to watch.   

Preety and Komal from Chak De! India

This relationship starts as a competition at first but ends up giving one goosebumps later. In the story, both Komal Chautala (played by Chitrashi Rawat) and Preety Sabharwal (Sagarika Ghatge) are fighting each other to become the best despite of being in the same team (Indian Women's National Hockey Team). They don’t have anything against each other but they do have their own reasons to be the best. Their equation takes a turn when Komal lets Preety shine in the world cup by passing an important goal to her, for the team as well as for Preety. This scene is hands down the most inspiring scene from the movie; you might even get tears of joy! And not just these two women from the film, but the entire hockey team sets an example of ‘women empowering women’.  – Srivalli