It’s International Women’s Day today, and what better way to celebrate it in Bollywood than by talking about the different hats the leading ladies are wearing. There was a time in the Hindi film industry when the female leads were either eye candies, a damsel in distress or a woman who has only been wronged her entire life and is waiting for a saviour.
That has changed now – thank God. While there has been a lot of progress on the silver screen – women getting much chunkier roles and even spearheading content-driven films – the same has been happening behind the cameras too. A lot of leading Bollywood actress are now producers also.
Over the years, many leading ladies launched their own production house and have given us one amazing story after another that touches your heart and even leaves you with goosebumps. Today, as we celebrate women worldwide, we bring you the Bollywood actresses who turned producers and have left a lasting impression.
Twinkle Khanna – Pad Man
In 2011, Twinkle Khanna turned producer for the first time by becoming one of the key members of the production house. After producing films with hubby Akshay Kumar through this venture, the actress launched her own production company, Mrs Funnybones Movies, in December 2016.
This production house is behind one of the biggest Bollywood hits of 2018, Pad Man. The film, which spoke about a woman’s menstrual cycle and the hygiene required for it, won the 2018 National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues. That’s a really big and strong topic to speak about on the silver screen, given that periods are still considered taboo in major parts of India and even across the globe.
Anushka Sharma – NH10, Bulbbul
Anushka Sharma and her brother Karnesh Sharma launched their production house, Clean Slate Filmz, in October 2013 and since then have wowed us. The film backed by them was NH 10, and it gave us Anushka Sharma in a never seen before avatar. As Meera, she stood up against oppression and tried to prevent an honour killing from happening. In the bargain, she ends up losing her partner and even suffers violence herself.
Some of the other eye-opening, goosebump giving and hearth wrenching content from this production house include Bollywood films like Bulbbul, Phillauri, Pari and the web series, Paatal Lok. In a recent interview, Sharma had opened up about not wanting women to be depicted regressively in films. She said, “By being clear about how we will depict women in cinema, we can alter the mindset of people, and shatter age-old beliefs and customs. My film choices and productions are a testimony to the fact that I’m committed to sparking a conversation in society about equality, self-respect and empowerment.”
Priyanka Chopra – The Sky Is Pink, The White Tiger
In 2015, Priyanka Chopra founded her own production house, Purple Pebble Pictures. The company that aims at producing small budget films and promote new talent has backed films in different cinemas like Bam Bam Bol Raha Hai Kashi (Bhojpuri), Ventillator (Marathi), Sarvann (Punjabi), Bhoga Khirikee (Assamese), Pahuna: The Little Visitors (Nepali), The Sky Is Pink (Hindi), The White Tiger (English) and more.
Her most hard-hitting film, with a woman in the centre that gained much love from all, was the 2019 release The Sky Is Pink. Starring Priyanka Chopra in the lead, it followed a father as they try to cope with the illness of their daughter and never give up even during the toughest of situations.
Deepika Padukone –Chhapaak
Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone turned producer by launching her own company, Ka Productions, in 2018. Under this banner, she produced the spine chilling account of a real-life acid attack survivor, Laxmi Agarwal, titled Chhapaak.
Released in 2020, the film saw Deepika essay the role of the acid attack survivor. The film garnered praises from critics and was declared tax-free in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Alia Bhatt – Darlings
At the start of this month, Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt shared the news that she has launched her own production house, Eternal Sunshine Productions. Under this banner, the actress’ first project is Darlings – a unique story of a quirky mother-daughter duo navigating through crazy circumstances as they try to find their place in the world.
The dark comedy, which is set in Mumbai against the backdrop of a lower-middle-class neighbourhood, was announced with the warning, “Disrespecting women can be very injurious to your health.”
Richa Chadha – Girls Will Be Girls
Bollywood actress Richa Chadha recently launched her film production house, Pushing Buttons Studio, with fiancé Ali Fazal. As per reports, their first production is a film that will be talking about taboos around sexuality. The film is reportedly titled ‘Girls Will Be Girls,’ and follows sixteen-year-old Mira, whose sexy, rebellious coming-of-age is hindered by her mother, who never got to do the same.
Some other Bollywood actress who donned the producers’ hat includes Juhi Chawla (Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, Chalte Chalte, Asoka), Dia Mirza (Love Breakups Zindagi, Bobby Jasoos, Mind the Malhotras), Raveena Tandon (Stumped, Pehchaan: The Face of Truth), Hema Malini (TV shows like Nooput, Women of India and Matti Ki Banno) and many more.
Happy Women’s Day!