With the release of impressive films that gained our attention in the year 2022, this year had a weight of expectations from the audience right from the year started. Looking backwards, the Indian films that came with a strong feministic attitude were less in number, in a way the critically acclaimed films noticed the faults were on the high weight scale among the audience. Why many feminist films worth debating have not been released in theatres is a big question to be asked.
Keeping that in mind, dwelling deeper into the films that got released this year, here are eight films that are worth putting on the list of experiences you do not want to miss!
1. The Great Indian Kitchen
Release date: February 3, 2023
Director: R. Kannan
The Great Indian Kitchen, is undoubtedly a necessary and faithful remake of the Malayalam original, to show how patriarchy is still poisoning society. In the duo’s first encounter, the man asks her do you ‘like,’ cooking and the woman responds: I ‘know,’ cooking. The slight difference between the question and the answer speaks volumes about the whole film. Crushing all the pointers the patriarchal world puts forward, the film shows how problematic society can be if patriarchy prevails.
The role of food and the misogyny attached to it is addressed well with on point acting skills of actors predominantly Aishwarya Rajesh and Krishna. Like the original, this one focuses on the mundane to elicit remarkable feelings; the view of leftover vegetable scraps clogging the kitchen sink, or the shot of the overflowing water tap, may not be physically appealing, but it effectively conveys the situation at many households that we don’t see.
Release date: June 2, 2023
Director: Rajesh K.Raman
Yes, the film is not at its best! But why is it on the list? The core subject that the film deals with; “women’s desires.” Elaborating it, the film talks about Neeraja, a widow and her sexual needs without any commitment strings attached to it. The need to address and understand this realm of a human need without a taboo tag on it, in society is a tough shot, but worthy since we, as a society are moving forward and not stuck in the past.
Neeraja is a much softer and stretched version of the Kannada film “Nathicharami,” which won five national awards at the 66th National Film Awards. The film, very soon after its release gained mixed reviews, and criticism, as it can be an indigestive topic for many.
3. Dhak Dhak
Release date: October 13, 2023
Director: Tarun Dudeja
This is a story of four women who embark on a bike trip from Delhi to Leh, “Dhak Dhak,” closes with a wonderful note that encapsulates all that the film stands for: “Sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.”
What makes the film even more interesting is how these four women from diverse backgrounds unite on common ground to achieve their dreams. In the journey, they find themselves and overcome hurdle after hurdle to reach the highest peak ‘Khardung La.’ Starring Ratna Pathak Shah, Dia Mirza, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanjana Sanghi, the film is a must-watch catering to travel film lovers.
4. Miss Shetty Mr Poli Shetty
Release date: October 5, 2023
Director: Mahesh Babu Gochigolla
Originally released in Telugu, this film is a necessary and entertaining one at the same time. There are things that many people do not know and do not want to learn or unlearn, one such topic is artificial insemination and the film deals with the same but in a very soft way, trying to make it interesting. It is the story of an ambitious chef named Anvitha and her desire to be a mother through artificial insemination.
Along with this subject, the film shows the rom-com side of the story where the sperm donor Anvitha chooses, Mr Polishetty falls in love with her with little to zero understanding of the process. Not to forget the misogynist comments that come as ‘fun’ are pushing the film backwards but in a way make the audience question or learn more about the different options to have a child. In a society that is still debating on topics like surrogacy and the glorification of motherhood, it is a good attempt to place in a mood of comedy.
5. Vindhya Victim Verdict V3
Release date: January 6, 2023
Director: P. Amudhavanan
In a social environment that somehow propagates violence, this film is another reminder of the portrayal of many aspects of sexual violence that a girl goes through. The involvement of media, the family trauma, the excruciating mental and physical pain that comes with it, the casteist aspects, the film attempts to talk about all these.
Though the film is not the best of all, cinema; being the reflection of the society, the film is a necessary one to keep telling everyone the horrors behind the violence, especially against women and the need to constantly fight against it, collectively as a society.
Release date: August 12, 2023
Director: R. Balki
Starring Abhishek Bachchan, Saiyami Kher and Shabana Azmi as leads, Ghoomer (translated to Spinner) is telling the story of a young batting sensation Anina who suffers a right-hand injury on the eve of her international debut where an unsuccessful cricketer comes into her life and gives her fresh hope, If watching this film gives an adrenaline rush to many dreamers to put a step forward and empower them, especially women to express themselves against all the odds, here is the place to be.
7. Mahanagari Theke dure
Release date: May 19, 2023
Director: Sweta Basu
Inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s short story “Streer Potro,” “Mahanagari Theke Dure,” is about human emotions that are overlooked in the busy society where Shimul eventually chooses to leave her family behind to “Mahanagari theke dure,” which is her destiny. The film has Lily Chakraborty, Bhaskar Banerjee, Tushar Bhattacharya, and Barun Chakraborty on board to name a few.
Even in the hustle and bustle of the city, where human values are sometimes disregarded, Bindu’s narrative makes Shimul pause. Individuals like Bindu are still as important characters to showcase how they are relevant in society now as they were during Rabindranath Tagore’s lifetime. The film later explores how Bindu believes that no one will be able to aid her since society makes rules for females, which leads to male superiority over women hundreds of years ago and still now.
Release date: May 12, 2023
Director: Aritra Mukherjee
With Ritabhari Chakraborty and Abir Chatterjee as leads, the film deals with the unacceptable beauty standards in the fashion industry as well as in the minds of the people. In a society that believes a person who is on the heavier side cannot be remotely related to fashion, the character Phullora Bhaduri, a tailor by profession rewrites the notions and starts writing about designs that suit all body types under an alternative name.
Fighting against the snide remarks and body shaming in society, will be come out to the world with her identity and reclaim the beauty standards? The film unfolds the answer as you watch it.
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive or representative list. Suggestions to add to the list are welcome in the comments section