2018 was the year girl power ruled the box office
Padmavat, Pari, Raazi, Veere Di Wedding... women dominated many of the hits in 2018.
At times when I saw women whooping it up in Hollywood films, I felt they were copying us.
Watching the eight stunning actresses of Ocean's 8, I felt a deep and prideful sense of déjà vu.
This could be our Veere Di Wedding (VDW) girl gang divided by half. Firstly our veeres are no less glamorous, articulate and self-assured than the Ocean's 8 girl gang. Secondly, they seem to address exactly the same issues of body-shaming, cat fights and pay parity.
Business as usual. But wait. The similarities are even more uncanny. During VDW, Kareena Kapoor Khan become a mother to the youngest superstar of India, Taimur Ali Khan.
Anne Hathaway, who played one of the veeres in Ocean's 8, also became a mother during her film's shooting. She has spoken about how she was body-shamed for her additional weight after motherhood until she reached the sets of her girl-gang film, where her co-stars came forward to make her feel complete and fulfilled by complimenting her on her glowing looks.
So guys, forget about cat fights. These veeres from Bollywood and Hollywood stand by one another. The whole mythology of women actors fighting their way through the shooting falls apart when we see the genuine bonhomie among the female actors of Ocean's 8 and 'Ocean's 4' (VDW).
I saw the Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who plays one of the leads in Ocean's 8, telling one of her interviewers that the whole theory of women not getting along on the sets of a film was started by male journalists. It is meant to be some kind of a male turn-on to imagine female co-stars fighting.
Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Swara Bhaskar and Shikha Talsania genuinely hit the 'ok' button in their togetherness. And that comes as a surprise to all those who were waiting to see fireworks among the actresses. Says Sonam, "Sorry to disappoint those who think we were slapping and scratching one another's faces. We really got along like a house on fire."
We really can't be blamed for thinking actresses can't get along when working together. Aeons ago, when Sharmila Tagore and Mala Sinha shared screen space in a 1960s film called Humsaya, there were stories of one actress slapping the other. Decades later, Sharmila was embroiled in another cold war with Raakhee Gulzar on the sets of Yash Chopra's Daag.
Decades thereafter, it was Kareena Kapoor, eventually destined to be Sharmila Tagore's daughter-in-law, who got into a squabble with Bipasha Basu on the sets of Aitraaz. Kareena ended up calling Bipasha a kali billi (black cat). Talk about a 'cat fight'.
Seeing Kareena bond so effortlessly with her co-stars in Veere Di Wedding, I was reminded of her 'kali billi' catfight.
Yes, Kareena and the heroines have matured. Though I am not sure about Indian cinema.
2018 is an ideal year to be a female hero. First came Rani Mukherjee in Hichki, breaking all the myths about films that spotlight female heroes, especially those with disabilities.
Then came Alia Bhatt as a patriotic spy who creates havoc in her Pakistani in-laws' home in Raazi to become the first female hero in five years with a Rs 100-crore box office earning.
The trio of girl-power hits was completed with Veere Di Wedding. And just when you think it can't get any better for women in Bollywood, there came Kajol in Eela Helicopter. Though it didn't do well, it reminded us that Kajol remains a woman in a cabinet of men in the cinematic parliament.
Deepika Padukone commands a higher fee than her husband Ranveer Singh. And the show will continue in 2019, when Kangana Ranaut, who virtually sacked the director and appointed herself in his place in Manikarnika, shows us what women can do when given positions of power.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)