CultureCinema 7 Feminist Films You Cannot Miss To Watch, Released In 2022

7 Feminist Films You Cannot Miss To Watch, Released In 2022

With a set of films worth a political debate, here is a list of few Indian films with a feminist approach that you can’t miss before the year ends.

Every year, a wide number of films with female protagonists and their journeys with diverse pathways are released, and the audience looks forward to such films with better representation and proper sensibility as the year passes.

With a set of films worth a political debate, here is a list of few Indian films with a feminist approach that you can’t miss before the year ends.

1. Gangubai Kathiawadi

Release Date: 25 February, 2022

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Language: Hindi

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi is a fierce, feminist biopic of Gangubai, a sex worker who reigned Kamathipura, Bombay’s red-light district, in the 1950s and 1960s.

Gangubai who is called as ‘Ganga’ elopes from Kathiawar with her husband to become a film star in Bombay, but he sells her to a brothel in Kamathipura. The story shows her journey of fighting back, later she becomes a brothel madam and rises to the one fighting for the rights of sex workers and thus transforms into the matriarch of Kamathipura.

Source: Gangubai Kathiawadi Film

In a social environment that is aggressively heading towards sexual and moral conservatism, this film has crucial political debates to put forward. The film is a great feminist attempt that discusses consent, female-to-female intimacy, feminine unity, and the effectiveness of sisterhood throughout.

The film fearlessly tackles several chances, including having a heroine-led film in a conservative Bollywood industry and distributing theatrically internationally rather via OTT during the release.

2. Ammu

Release Date: 19 October, 2022

Director: Charukesh Sekar

Language: Telugu

To bag the important films that got released in the year 2022, Ammu undoubtedly is one of the year’s most significant films on the list. It takes a very pertinent problem that has long been a matter of conversation and gives it a really fascinating twist with the manner it decides to conclude the film. Ammu is a woman’s desperate measure to remove her physically abusive and authoritative husband from his police duty.

Also Read: Differentiating Between Women-Centric Films And Feminist Films

Ammu played by Aishwarya Lekshmi marries Ravindranath, a police officer, played by Naveen Chandra. Ravindranath physically and emotionally assaults Ammu over the course of several days. The film clearly showcases the domestic violence faced by women in the society.  Instead of playing out like a stereotypical domestic abuse awareness film, Ammu tackles on important issues that must be considered when a woman is involved in a marriage.

Source: Amazon

The story moves forward when she meets a thief named Prabhu and devises a plot to escape from her husband. What is the plan? What made her seek Prabhu’s assistance? Did she succeed? To know the surprising ending hit the watch button!

3. Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey

Release date: 28 October, 2022

Director: Vipin Das

Language: Malayalam

The film ‘Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey‘ displays certain sharp truths, beliefs, and opinions that are still ingrained in the societal weave and continually constrained by the country’s so-called cultural standards. Jaya, a young woman, marries. Her objective is to complete her degree, but her husband mockingly insists that she take Public Service Commission tests.

Jaya struggles to strike a balance between managing her in-laws and achieving her ambition. Though the film is made as comedy oriented, the concept is exceptionally clear as well. It talks about domestic violence and calls out anyone who thinks it’s normal.

Source: YouTube

Until recently, the slap was the most commonly used weapon in Malayalam cinema and men who slap women are frequently shown in films as doing the right thing. Slaps have nearly vanished from our cinemas as the times have changed. A perfect example is this film, where the one who slaps pays the price.

Also Read: 10 Feminist Films Of 2019 And The Hope For Better Films In 2020

When husband physically abuses Jaya and when her parents and others ask her to ‘adjust’, Jaya realizing the hard truth that no one will come to her aid, decides to take action rather than wait for Rajesh to become a better husband. How Jaya manages to put an end to her miseries can be seen in the film.

Despite being laced with some knock humour, Jaya, Jaya, Jaya Jaya Hey efficiently conveys all it wants to say in an effective style, and it does so where it is intended.

4. Darlings

Release date: 5 August, 2022

Director: Jasmeet K. Reen 

Language: Hindi

Zooming into the patriarchy and domestic violence in the context of the lower middle class’s social-psychological environment, set in Mumbai, where the rich and poor coexist and perseverance reigns supreme, two women – mother and daughter – discover their own heaven in hell, that’s the journey of the film ‘Darlings’.

With a quirky take on domestic violence, the film strongly speaks of the fact that when it comes to abuse there are no greys and points out why women stay in abusive relationships in the name of love. The film calls out the abuse happening inside the four walls, with the character Badru, her lover-turned-husband Hamza, and their marital woes.

Source: Netflix

The film reflects the characters’ everyday circumstances in a seemingly ‘typical‘ middle-class Indian family via various instances of abuse, violence, reconciliation, and optimism. 

5. Boudi Canteen

Release date: September 29, 2022

Director: Parambrata Chatterjee

Language: Bengali

In one line, it’s a ‘food for thought’ film, as the plot revolves around a married cook, and the film’s message is that a passionate woman can be successful doing whatever she wants, and that we cannot judge her worth by comparing her to a man.

While the plot primarily focuses on the married cook’s existential quest, the film is a heart-warming family drama with a feminist twist as the main character redefines her identity from a home-maker to a passionate business woman and chef.

Source: Boudi Canteen Film

Depicting the social fights of the women trying to alter her life in a way she wants it to be, it’s an open talk about chasing dreams and not being held back by the patriarchal hands of society.

6. Asanghadithar (Freedom fight)

Release date: 11 February, 2022

Director: Kunjila Mascillamani

Language: Malayalam

Available on: Sony Liv

The anthology film – Freedom Fight, ‘Asanghadithar’ which translates to ‘The Unorganized‘, is as cutting as a scalpel, posing issues to society. Directed by Kunjila Mascillamani, in the film , actor Srinda plays a textile shop salesgirl who, like other working women in the neighbourhood, struggles with the thought of working in toilet-less shops.

Source: YouTube

In freely confronting a woman’s everyday ordeals, the film is refreshingly unfettered. It functions as a ‘best of‘ collection of numerous gender-based concerns without feeling forced. Though one might be blown away by the amount of laughter that peppers the real dialogues without being obtrusive, the film is pointed sharply showing the real issues to the society.

Kunjila knows just where to put what and with a topic that usually people don’t discuss openly on screen and in real life, this film opens the space to talk about the issue with a strong steady voice through the film.

7. A Thursday

Release date: 17 February, 2022

Director: Behzad Khambata

Language: Hindi

On a disastrous Thursday in the city of Mumbai, Naina, a nursery school teacher, kidnaps 16 children with an unimaginable list of demands.

The film also portrayed several strong women characters including the house worker who attempts to strike back against Nain, Catherine; the cop who opts to work despite being heavily pregnant, putting off her doctor’s visit.

Source: A Thursday Film

The film shows how the protagonist’s pursuit of justice takes an undesirable twist. The film takes a closer look at the stigmatization of mental health in the society and also perfectly depicts the uproar that irresponsible media can cause and its widespread influence on individuals.

Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive or representative list. Suggestions to add to the list are welcome in the comments section.

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