The BOLD and BEAUTIFUL Bandits of Bollywood
Bollywood occasionally explores the consequences of the famous phrase, ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scored.’
Though its women-centric films are terribly limited, the wronged woman avenging her offenders is a favourite theme of most filmmakers.
As bandits, vigilantes or dons, we look at the extreme face of feminism on silver screen.
Madhuri Dixit, Gulab Gang
Never to shy away from assertive characters, Madhuri Dixit returns to big screen as the leading member of Gulab Gang in her upcoming film of the same name.
Soumik Sen’s directorial debut is inspired by a group of feminists who dress up in pink and stand up against the injustices in society with their collective might.
Image: Madhuri Dixit in Gulab Gang
Neha Dhupia, Phas Gaya Re Obama
Subhash Kapoor’s Phas Gaya Re Obama is essentially a satire on recession and how it affects every strata of the social structure.
Here, Neha Dhupia’s Munni Gangster, a mafia woman who hates men but dresses like a Gabbar fangirl, gives the boys a run for their money with her antagonistic ways.
Image: Neha Dhupia in Phas Gaya Re Obama
Eesha Kopikkar, Shabri
The long-in-the-making Shabri provides Eesha Kopikkar all the opportunity to showcase her talent as a slum dwelling worker-turned-assassin.
Following her brother’s killing and frequent attempts to molest her, Eesha’s Shabri takes to the gun in the most gratuitous manner.
Image: Eesha Kopikkar in Shabri
Seema Biswas, Bandit Queen
Shekhar Kapur’s critically-acclaimed Bandit Queen chronicles the life of Phoolan Devi with disturbing accuracy.
Seema Biswas conveys the transition from a constantly brutalised victim to a feared outlaw with hard-hitting grit.
Image: Seema Biswas in Bandit Queen
Shabana Azmi, Godmother
The lines between right and wrong are blurred as Shabana Azmi’s Rambhi transforms from a supportive wife to an avenging gangster running her deceased husband’s murky empire.
Regarded as one of her finest works in recent times, it takes a talent and aura of Azmi’s stature to deliver the nuances of her complex Rambhi.
Image: Shabana Azmi in Godmother
Though it’s nowhere near her best, Sridevi is suitably wrathful as the leather clad dacoit aka Sherni seeking vengeance for her family’s massacre in Harmesh Malhotra’s OTT drama.
The two previously worked on the super hit, Nagina.
Image: Sridevi in Sherni
Dimple Kapadia, Zakhmi Aurat
During the crazy 1980s phase, when women-centric meant revenge against wolfish men at any cost, Dimple Kapadia signed films like Zakhmi Aurat, Zakhmi Sher and Aaj Ki Aurat.
But its Dimple’s castration technique as an act of retribution from a cop who’s gang raped that grabbed maximum eyeballs.
Image: Dimple Kapadia in Zakhmi Aurat
Jaya Prada, Zakhmi Zameen
While the Zakhmi films never quite got around to becoming a franchise, Jaya Prada too made a valiant attempt at settling scores as a bandit woman following her husband’s bump off in Zakhmi Zameen.
What’s interesting is just how closely her head gear resembles Rekha’s from Madame X.
Image: Jaya Prada in Zakhmi Zameen
Zeenat Aman, Daku Hasina
Few may recall the absurd tone of the Zeenat Aman starrer, Daku Hasina, wherein her leggy village girl joins forces with the notorious bandit, played by Rajinikanth, after she fails to achieve justice for her parents’ murder.
Needless to say, Daku Hasina failed to resurrect Zee’s, by then, dwindling career.
Image: Zeenat Aman in Daku Hasina
Hema Malini, Ramkali/Raakhee, Taaqat
Even the most demure beauties could not resist the allure of the horse-riding, gun-toting daku.
Both Hema Malini and her Trishul co-star Rakhee take turns to exact justice by taking law in their own hands as Ramkali (in Ramkali) and Devi (in Taaqat) in the most obscure films of their career.
Image: Movie poster of Ram