The Millennial Woman in Bollywood: A New 'Brand'?

Autor Maithili Rao
en Limba Engleză Hardback – 11 oct 2023
With the turn of the century, slowly a change began to come over the women in mainstream Bollywood films. The female lead shed-off her cardboard role of the beloved and gained complexity that reconciled career, ambition, and personal fulfillment, along with an assertion of the right to be feminine. The present work studies this shift and traces the emergence of a new Bollywood brand - the millennial woman - that took its cue from a new globalized India where the educated working woman became more self-assertive and unapologetic about her life choices. Rao argues that contemporary popular cinema has sensed a change in the zeitgeist and worked it into trusted formulaic stories in small safe doses so that the audience continue to take home a feel-good factor without feeling threatened by it. While the success of early films like 'Chandni Bar' (2001), 'Page 3' (2005), and 'Fashion' (2008) with female protagonists emboldened filmmakers and their financiers to venture into a territory previously considered box office poison, the reinvention of the classics by a band of subversive and irreverent filmmakers such as Anurag Kashyap and Tigmanshu Dhulia gave a hospitable home to the new woman in 'Dev D' (2009) and 'Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster' (2011). The feisty, independent, and sometimes confused young woman who is comfortable with her sexuality has made her way (and comfortably settled) into the modern romance-comedy as well. With films like 'Kahaani' (2012), 'Queen' (2014), and 'Mary Kom' (2014), that had women protagonists driving the plot, the reins have been handed over to the female lead.
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ISBN-13: 9780190130473
ISBN-10: 0190130474
Pagini: 304
Dimensiuni: 145 x 224 x 24 mm
Greutate: 0.41 kg
Editura: OUP INDIA
Colecția OUP India
Locul publicării:Delhi, India


Maithili Rao and I have been confreres for four decades as friends, freelance journalists and later, authors. Her perspective is marked by her framing and positioning of cinema within a wide and in-depth socio-political and cultural context. THE MILLENNIAL WOMAN is no exception. This book repeatedly underscores the truth that Indian cinema and all those who create cinema, do not function or exist in a socio-political vacuum. Her language is fluid like the fresh waters of a running stream. This book is therefore, not only informative but also, extremely enriching and will travel miles as a frame of reference for future academics and researchers across time and place." Dr. Shoma A. Chatterji, Journalist and Author
Popular cinema has transformed enormously in the past decade especially when it comes to the portrayal of women, and the 'millennial woman' has come into her own. In this book, a veteran film critic, with the past of Bollywood at her fingertips, makes an assessment of what this means politically especially with conservative forces also strengthening. Just as Hollywood is taken to represent the liberal heart of the US, this book makes a convincing case for Bollywood as India's liberal conscience today, particularly when it comes to gender issues. It is well-informed and timely." MK Raghavendra, Film scholar and author
Maithili Rao does it again! After the thoroughly engaging 'Smita Patil: A Brief Incandescence', this is yet another insightful look into the representation of women in media and films. The book is topical, observant and rich in its material. Rao situates her work in the socio-political and cultural ethos of India in the last two decades. Her exploration of stars and films would appeal to film scholars as well as general readers. If you are interested in globalisation and post-feminism in Hindi cinema, 'The Millennial Woman' is an essential text for you." Professor Ayesha Iqbal Vishwaroopa, Department of Film studies and popular culture, IIT Madras

Notă biografică

Maithili Rao, Freelance Film Critic, Writer, Journalist,

A freelance film critic who has written for many national and international publications. She was a lecturer of English before drifting into writing on cinema.