female character archetypes
Gender and Movies

The female character archetypes I would love to see in movies!

Compassionate, gentle, and kind-hearted- most female characters in our movies have either or all of these qualities. They are mostly shown as these perfect goddesses who can bear any pain and forgive any miscreant. Most female characters are shown as these holy beings who are submissive, naïve, and perfect caregivers. Things have changed a lot in the last few years with women taking the center stage. We have had movies where the female characters have broken these stereotypes. But yet, there seems to be a gap, an ambiguity in the representation of female characters in our films.

Also Read: 6 classic female villains in Bollywood

Women are flawed and messed up as any other gender and it is high time we start showing them as such. They can get as dark and psychotic as Adv. Mukundan Unni and can have the strength to fight their bad guys just like Pathaan! They can also go on road trips like the men in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Dil Chahta Hai and re-explore their friendships. Here are four archetypes that I would love (I hope you do too) to see more for female characters in the coming years:

Women in grey

women in grey in Indian movies
Left-Simi (Tabu) Andhadhun Right-Tara(Sobhita) from Made in Heaven

A couple of years ago the idea of women playing darker characters or even action roles would have seemed so unconvincing, given that we have placed them on this pedestal where they are perfect and godly. But a human mind has its way of working, and like for any gender, even a woman’s mind can take the darker route. I think it would be exciting to see women using their feminine wiles, charmingly and unapologetically, to get what they want. Imagine a female Mukundan Unni! How cool would that be! But that’s the extreme case. We have had a couple of female characters whom we can call “morally” grey per se. Sehmat from Raazi and Vidya Bagchi from Kahaani would be the perfect examples to cite. Then there is Tara Khanna from Made in Heaven, Simi from Andhadhun, and Beena Tripathy from Mirzapur- the ultimate grey-shaded female characters filled with greed and vengeance.

Women in action

women in action in Indian movies
Left- Jaya (Darshana) from JJJJH Right-Rubina (Deepika) from Pathaan

Damsels in distress is a trope that our movies are slowly getting over. While in school, I had a friend who said that action roles (even in professions in real life) do not suit women. I don’t know if he still thinks the same, but our movies sure have started to give more strength to their female characters. Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey, that released, last year had action scenes performed by the leading lady as one of its highlights. SRK’s comeback was Pathaan’s USP but Deepika’s action sequences added extra charm to the film.

Also Read: Why Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey is the most entertaining film on domestic abuse

Beautiful female friendships

Sex Education Season 2 Bus scene

Two women can never be friends- a stereotype we all have grown up hearing. While several movies boasted of the unbreakable male friendship, they reduced female friendship to jealousy and hidden hatred. Women can be the best buddies who will always have each other’s back. The iconic bus stop scene from the Netflix series Sex Education Season 2 was a moment of victory for female friendships. In this scene, the girls come together to give each other hope and support, something they could not find anywhere else. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see more such inspiring female friendships?

Mothers who have a life outside of their children

Sobhana from Varane Avashyamund

The devoted mothers who give up everything for their kids and live submissively till their death- this has been the common idea of an Indian mothers. Thanks to characters like Neena from Varane Avashyamund, this trope is slowly breaking. In recent years, we have seen a lot of such mothers who are living their own lives, seeking happiness without giving up on their maternal responsibilities. It’s high time we normalize mothers who have a life outside of their children and families.

Which archetype do you want to see women in?

Image Courtesy: YouTube

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