Year 2020 has already seen three female-centric releases in the form of Chhapaak, Panga and Thappad. While none of the three films managed to set the house on fire, it is expected that the months to come would turn out to be better.
After all, there is an audience out there for such films, as seen in last five years when numerous actresses have delivered many hits on their own. Let's take a look.
Raazi: Rs 124 crore
This was meant to be a small and intimate offbeat film that would work with the niche audience. However, it turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of the year when it opened well and then went on to grow from strength to strength. One of the most accomplished performances by Alia Bhatt ensured that Raazi emerged as a major blockbuster and set records.
Manikarnika - The Queen of Jhansi: Rs 92.1 crore
This film could well have turned out to be a Rs 100 crore-club grosser, but it fell a little short. Designed as a magnum opus no less, Manikarnika - The Queen of Jhansi was in news due to controversies regarding sharing of director’s credits. Eventually, Kangana Ranaut impressed the audience with her work as an actor as well as a director.
Veere Di Wedding: Rs 83 crore
An adult entertainer, Veere Di Wedding was promoted 'not as a chic flick'. With Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonam Kapoor leading the show, they brought their experience into play and brought the house down with their entertaining act. The film did see some polarised views from a section of audience, who found it to be a bit risqué. However, others loved it all.
Piku: Rs 80 crore
Though Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan added gravitas to the film, Piku would go down as a film with one of the most realistic acts by Deepika Padukone. As a young woman with a mind of her own and someone who knew what she was up to, Padukone was truly endearing in this Shoojit Sircar-directed film which brought a new kind of narrative for the audience.
Dear Zindagi: Rs 68 crore
Alia Bhatt showed pretty early in her career that she was an actress of substance and in Dear Zindagi, she demonstrated that quite well. In a supporting role, Shah Rukh Khan was quite delightful. There were other male leads as well in small parts. However, primarily it was Bhatt who made sure that the audience stood up and noticed the kind of sensitivity that was on display.
Neerja: Rs 75.6 crore
Sonam Kapoor played air hostess Neerja Bhanot in this thrilling biopic that had the right mix of drama and emotions. She made sure that the film would go down as one of her most accomplished and memorable performances till date. The film was made on a controlled budget, but went on to earn quite some moolah at the box office.
Pink: Rs 65.3 crore
Though Amitabh Bachchan featured in a pivotal part in Pink, it is remembered most for Taapsee Pannu's bravura performance as the central protagonist. She was supported well by Kirti Kulhari and Andrea Tariang who were equally impressive in the part of girls who were molested by a group of youngsters but were instead accused of being prostitutes.
Secret Superstar: Rs 63.5 crore
Though Zaira Wasim has taken premature retirement from the world of films, she had started her Bollywood career with a bang as a 'secret superstar' in the namesake film. Aamir Khan produced the film and also acted in there, in a capacity similar to that of Taare Zameen Par. The film came right in front of Golmaal Again but managed to do decent business eventually.
Mardaani 2: Rs 47.5 crore
Rani Mukherji has been quietly building her own brand as the only female cop in Bollywood's cop universe which is otherwise dominated by Ajay Devgn (Singham), Ranveer Singh (Simmba) and now Akshay Kumar (Sooryavanshi). After Mardaani, she made sure that Mardaani 2 was a notch higher and though it missed entering the Rs 50 crore-club, Mardaani 3 will be much bigger.
Hichki: Rs 46 crore
Mukherji has yet another film in the top-10 female-centric films of the last five years and that is Hichki. In a film that was remarkably different from her Mardaani franchise, it featured the actress suffering from the Tourette syndrome. The film was an endearing drama with several light-hearted moments and went on to be a decent earner at the box office.(Joginder Tuteja is a trade expert and film critic. Views are personal)