(This was first published in Firstpost.com)
We were greeted with a myriad of female characters this year in Hindi cinema. On one hand we had the vibrant Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, and on the other hand we hand Deepika Padukone playing Mastani in Bajirao Mastani as well as the fiesty Tara in Tamasha. Here's a look at some of our favourite female characters from 2015:
Tanu (Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu Returns
The eccentric and dramatic Tanu was Kangana and Kangana was Tanu, in Tanu Weds Manu Returns this year. Her back is seen, a long jacket wrapped around her slim frame; she's roaming the streets of Kanpur, in the dead of night, a glass of liquor in her hand, lost in the old strains by Geeta Dutt, “Ja ja ja bewafaa…”.
Tanu is the proverbial wife who can drive a husband really mad. So mad that he actually lands up in an asylum in London. When the tragedy queen transforms to a wild and defiant ex-wife, dancing at her husband’s second wedding, the fierce rage and anguish in her hip swings and the mask of celebratory expressions make Kangana Ranaut the undisputed queen of hysterics.
In a film where it’s all crazy and complicated, director Anand Rai, along with writer, Himanshu Sharma, created characters who are madly and hopelessly in love.
Datto (Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
It was a tough choice between Tanu and Datto. Datto is an athlete who puts up such a brave fight against her village family rooted in caste beliefs. You can’t help falling for her, just like Manu (Madhavan) does.
When Datto gives a self-defiant speech in Haryanvi, fighting for herself respect while saying that she is an athlete who gets admission in a Delhi college on her own merit and can earn her own living unlike Tanu, she evokes a resounding applause. More so, Kangana sounds like a real Haryanvi. Her fiery spirit, boy cut and big teeth (kudos her stylist) prove to be tough competition for Tanu’s mad moods, pretty bangles, jhumkas and seductive curls.
Laila (Kalki Koechlin from Margarita With a Straw)
Margarita is an intoxicating cocktail made of tequila with orange and lemon flavor. It can be served in any traditional Margarita glass or a wine glass. But when served with special straw to a charming and naughty 19 year old, Laila, it can be heady and fun but far from perfect.
Laila (Kalki Koechlin) ready to fall in love and get laid. When curious, she drags her best pal, to a college classroom and kisses him. When horny, she logs on to a porn site and pleasures herself. At a shop, she naughtily asks for a vibrator and laughs when the shopkeeper frantically talks about cellphones. On being attracted to a hot Assamese singer, she experiences her first heartbreak.
Both Laila and us don’t care within the first 15 minutes of Margarita With a Straw that she is not “normal”. Laila is not just another adolescent on the threshold of love and sex. She is a wheelchair-bound girl with cerebral palsy. Kalki brings in a lovely, fresh approach with a very endearing open-mouthed smile and a brilliant speech default delivery.
Piku (Deepika Padukone in Piku)Piku is defined by her difficult relationship with her father, in the film Piku written by one of the best writers in the industry -- Juhi Chaturvedi. Piku is a contemporary, modern, Indian daughter. She is like the hot, spicy jhaalmuri and her father, Bhaskor Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan) is double dose of mustard oil. Difficult to digest or even like initially, but by the time he has properly bulldozed his way into your life, you’ll find yourself longing for that rasping holler of “Pikuuuu!”
While Piku is aware of her father’s demanding and selfish need for her to be around forever, she resigns herself to living a single daily drama of her Baba’s major problem — that of achieving the nirvana of a perfect bowel movement. All she asks him daily is, "Hua?”
When not seen as a daughter, the sexually liberated side to her is the most striking part. She looks at sex purely as a “need”to be met by a willing friend and colleague.
Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra in Bajirao Mastani)
In Indian history, Kashibai has been known to be a remarkable and dignified first wife of Peshwa Bajirao. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s glamourised Bollywood interpretation, along with writer, Prakash Kapadia, has unwittingly endeared Kashibai to us forever.
In her perfectly Marathi accented “chaala”, her poise, her unspoken, betrayed wife act and her beautifully choreographed scene with Bajirao (Ranveer Singh) when she asks him never to see her again; Priyanka Chopra is Kashibai and Kashibai is Priyanka.