If I told you that there exists a Netflix category titled “featuring a strong female lead”, would you find anything odd with it?

Shivani Gorle, a twenty-one year old Mass Media graduate from Mumbai sure did, and decided to do something about it. She believes that female characters have come a long way over the years and what may have been considered a sad state-of-affairs for gender equality in the film industry several decades ago, has now slowly started to change. She adds, “The film industry is definitely changing its ways of depicting female characters on screen, but in many eyes that change is slow and selective; so slow that we must celebrate the mere spotting of a strong female lead.”

She quotes Oscar Wilde, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life” and says that it holds doubly true for films, whose messages influence and motivate both the makers and the viewers. She thinks that with the advent of this feminist wave, only good things are in store for the film industry.

This very idea led her to start her own social media handles on Facebook and Instagram, titled ‘Queens OnScreen‘. It is a series of vector portraits of “bold and powerful female characters from both Hindi and Hollywood films. To add a bit of quirk to the series, she [I] uses a circular format. She [I] also thought it necessary to add the character’s quote from the film, to make the message more effective.” Having absolutely no professional training in digital illustration, she uses Adobe Illustrator to create these portraits and is now trying to get a better grip over her Bamboo drawing tablet.

With her work, she hopes to drive home the message that the movies we watch today are not just for entertainment; but are also vehicles of social change. She views her audience as people from all walks of life, who can be appreciative of how films have started holding a mirror to real lives, and that they can now look up to characters that are relatable, if not harbingers of social reform per se.

*Fun Fact*: No wonder all her portraits are circular in format. Her obsession with circles is so extreme that her room has a circular bed, six circular ceiling lamps, circle-themed closets and two big hanging hula hoops. That’s something, no?!

"Lallua nahi hain hum, hockey champion." [I'm not a fool; I'm a hockey champion.] —Kumari, played by Alia Bhatt in Udta Punjab (2016)
“Lallua nahi hain hum, hockey champion.”
[I’m not a fool; I’m a hockey champion.]
—Kumari, played by Alia Bhatt in Udta Punjab (2016)
vidya balan
Dedicated to the bold, relentless and unapologetic Qandeel Baloch. “Jab zindagi ek baar mili hai… toh do baar kyun soche?” [When you’re only given life once… why think twice?] —Silk, played by Vidya Balan in The Dirty Picture (2011)

"It's not up to you to save me, Jack." —Rose, played by Kate Winslet in Titanic (1997)
“It’s not up to you to save me, Jack.”
—Rose, played by Kate Winslet in Titanic (1997)
"I'm giving you the gift of life; screaming, pooping life." —Juno, played by Ellen Page in Juno (2007)
“I’m giving you the gift of life; screaming, pooping life.”
—Juno, played by Ellen Page in Juno (2007)
"Anyone can cook Aloo Gobi, but who can bend a ball like Beckham?" —Jess, played by Parminder Nagra in Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
“Anyone can cook Aloo Gobi, but who can bend a ball like Beckham?”
—Jess, played by Parminder Nagra in Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
"Mastani apni taqdeer khud likhti hai." [Mastani writes her own destiny.] —Mastani, played by Deepika Padukone in Bajirao Mastani (2015)
“Mastani apni taqdeer khud likhti hai.” [Mastani writes her own destiny.]
—Mastani, played by Deepika Padukone in Bajirao Mastani (2015)
"Thank you for teaching me how to love myself." —Shashi, played by Sridevi in English Vinglish (2012)

“Thank you for teaching me how to love myself.”
—Shashi, played by Sridevi in English Vinglish (2012)
"Main apni favorite hoon." [I am my favourite.] —Geet, played by Kareena Kapoor in Jab We Met (2007)
“Main apni favorite hoon.”
[I am my favourite.]
—Geet, played by Kareena Kapoor in Jab We Met (2007)
"Mudblood, and proud of it." —Hermoine, played by Emma Watson in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2011)
“Mudblood, and proud of it.”
—Hermoine, played by Emma Watson in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2011)
"I just want to be perfect." —Nina, played by Natalie Portman in Black Swan (2010)
“I just want to be perfect.”
—Nina, played by Natalie Portman in Black Swan (2010)
"Main apni honeymoon pe akeli aayi hoon." [I've come alone on my honeymoon.] —Rani, played by Kangana Ranaut in Queen (2013)

“Main apni honeymoon pe akeli aayi hoon.”
[I’ve come alone on my honeymoon.]
—Rani, played by Kangana Ranaut in Queen (2013)

All images courtesy Shivani Gorle. You can follow her work on Facebook and Instagram.

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