Like every year, this year also saw some great women oriented shows and series that tackle issues from gender based violence, sexuality, consent, life-changing and affirming journeys and various themes deeply related to women. Globally with the success of many pop culture series exhibited from a feminist perspective, from “Wednesday” to “House of Dragons“, alas! we do a little less to brag about when it comes to Indian feminist shows crafted from a gender lens or even have a woman-centric approach, this year.
So without further ado, let’s dive into this year’s great plots that had women at the top.
1. Delhi Crime (Season 2)
Release Date: 26 August 2022
Director: Richie Mehta
“Delhi Crime” is a crime thriller drama based on true crime events that surfaced in the capital city in the recent past. The plot revolves around two women police officers, strong and seemingly calm DCP Vartika Chaturvedi played by Shefali Shah and wrestling professional and personal life, Neeti Singh played by Rasika Dugal. The first season revolved around unravelling the case of the Nirbaya gang rape. In the second DCP Chaturvedi is tasked to find a criminal gang called “Chaddi Baniyan gang” working with the same modus operandi that a similar gang in the 90s had. The gang is now active again and is killing elderly people now and then leaving the police and the whole city in grim desperation.
As DCP Chaturvedi’s strong character with calm composure moves forward to solve the crime she is faced with some prejudicial characters who view society from a bird’s eye privileged view. She has to finally take a stand and face up to even the higher authority to make sure her ideals remain unchanged. This makes us feel proud and empowered to see how a woman officer of such high rank also faces limitations that are sometimes sexist in nature and sometimes indirectly target her because of gender. A powerful theme to examine is the way she deals with her professional life and personal life which seems a little off when it comes to being there for her daughter. Although this doesn’t come easy to Neeti who has to time again to prove that her career is as important as her husband’s.
It is remarkable that we see powerful women from a farsighted lens as we believe that they might have it easy and sorted. Well, watching this series makes you think twice as even the mighty women have things to sort out that seem common in nature.
A great plot with strong primary women characters that take the action forward and a grim insight into the crimes that happen in our city, Delhi.
2. Masaba Masaba (Season 2)
Release Date: July 29, 2022
Director: Sonam Nair
This biographical mother and daughter drama played by Neena Gupta and Masaba Gupta herself has a lot to offer. The second season of “Masaba Masaba” doesn’t disappoint us as the warmth, and fun remains the same. With Neena Gupta’s great performance and her daughter catching up and giving us a talented acting performance, this mother-daughter duo have their journeys together and individually as well. Both struggle for love, career, friendship and much more. It tells us that there can be a friendly bond between mother and daughter and that bond can also be based on the feminine connection.
Both mother and daughter have struggles and a niche to carve, while Masaba trying to navigate her life, love, career and friendship in 2020s in the backdrop of her mother‘s struggles of acceptance and rejection she faced at a young age.
The best part to watch out for is the screenplay, where the reel life of Masaba intertwines with her real life.
3. She (Season 2)
Release Date: 17 June 2022
Director: Arif Ali and Avinash Das
She is straightforward, she is confused, she is firm and at times reticent. She takes bold decisions, good and bad decisions, she doesn’t take no for an answer but she is also scared sometimes. The myriad layers of Bhumi who is the leading lady of the series played by Aaditi Pohankar show us how female characters can lead the journey even with their idiosyncratic personalities in quite a human way.
Bhumi falls in love with a crime lord while working in the police department. She has to decide now whose side she is going to take.
In the first season of “She“, you see her as an uncomplicated girl from a chawl in Mumbai trying to navigate her mundane life where she has a young sister who is difficult to communicate with and an ailing mother to look after. With season 2, we are bestowed with her courage to change the course of her future as well as many other people including the crime lord she wants to capture.
She deals with her newly found sexuality which she gives importance to and we are quite happy about that!
Release Date: 14 January 2022
Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah & Mozez Singh
The Shefali Shah starter series has a goal with a big plot. The show takes a dig at the big corporations and pharmaceutical companies that use common people for drug testing and tries to expose medical scams.
The goal is to bring the sinister connection between government officials, private hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies that frequently take advantage of people in human trials for new medications.
This journey of Dr Gauri Nath (Shefali Shah) and a cardiac specialist Dr Saira Sabharwal played by Kirti Kulhari, who is at first thrilled to join the hospital where Dr Gauri Nath is her senior, becomes intense and exhausting for the two female characters who have to battle this corruption. These characters have a lot to learn, and a lot to struggle with while coming face to face with the tainted authorities.
We love a strong duo of women characters who showcase strengths and weaknesses with pride.
5. Hush Hush
Release Date: 22 September 2022
Director: Tanuja Chandra
With Juhi Chawala’s comeback in “Hush Hush“, we all watched the show with complete hush hush! Stunning performances by Juhi Chawla, Ayesha Jhulka, Karishma Tanna, Kritika Kamra, Shahana Goswami and Soha Ali Khan, all women characters in lead, we wanted to watch more of at the end of the last episode.
All friends and no foes but there is a secret between these calm and healed friends. The show is a constant back and forth between women who know it all and don’t want to be lectured about their lives and men openly expressing them which goes back to deeply seated patriarchal culture.
Although the show reminds you of HBO’s Big Little Lies, there is still a lot to see when it comes to “Hush Hush”.
6. The Fame Game
Release Date: 25 February 2022
Director: Bejoy Nambiar and Karishma Kohli
“The Fame Game” earlier titled Finding Anamika is a family thriller drama starring Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Kapoor, Manav Kaul, Suhasini Mulay, Lakshvir Saran and Muskkaan Jaferi in lead roles. The plot revolves around Anamika who is a Bollywood actor who goes missing. A very old theme of struggles of becoming a Bollywood star mixed with the mystery of Anamika played by Madhuri herself going missing after an award function.
The tropes of love, betrayal, financial issues and celebrity culture are what mainly this series caters to, though, the fact that the mystery of Anamika going missing is tasked upon a female police officer Shobha (Rajshri Deshpande) who has a very troubled path of navigating a male-dominated police force.
Shobha is not interested in tinsel town but along the way of solving the disappearance case of Anamika, she concedes to liking her persona to a point where she starts to justify Anamika’s rich and unbothered lifestyle and choices.
This bond of women empathising towards other women is what makes this a good read rather a good watch for a feminist in you.
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive or representative list. Suggestions to add to the list are welcome in the comments section