2014 was a year that witnessed quite a number of women oriented films and one thing was made clear; the rules of the game have been changed – producers no longer need just an A list Star flaunting his six pack abs and flexing his muscles to lure audiences. Big films like Humshakals, Action Jackson stirred up a hornet’s nest for its producers, while a film like Queen, banking heavily on Kangana Ranaut’s shoulder and made on a modest budget without much fanfare, brought a Return of Investment of 450%  to its producers. Could the writing on the wall be clearer?

Here’s a lowdown on the major female centric films of 2014 that raised quite a few eyebrows!

Highway: Imtiaz Ali’s film on an urbane girl whose paradoxical independence gets exposed when she is kidnapped by a Haryanvi Goon was the first major film of this genre that released in 2014. It was received well by critics and audience alike and Alia Bhatt was no longer just an eye candy – she stamped her authority in the acting department with this film.

Who would have thought that a film with hardly any buzz prior to release and with no big names, would make an astounding collection in the range of 61 Crore. Kangana Ranaut carried this heartwarming tale entirely on her shoulders and charmed us all with her on screen histrionics, thereby becoming a strong contender for the best actress award in all the upcoming hot shot award seasons.

Mary Kom:
Mary Kom was one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year. The film received mixed reactions from critics but the word of mouth from the Aam Junta was mostly positive. It collected around 64 Crores at the box office, and was declared a Hit. You like the film or you pan the film, one thing was unanimous across all quarters – Priyanka Chopra had NAILED it!

Ragini MMS 2:
Made on a shoestring budget, this Sunny Leone starrer horror flick laughed all its way to the bank. Hurricane Sunny had hit the box office. Suddenly Baby Doll, despite its atrocious lyrics was heard playing everywhere. Critics panned the film, calling it a mere sexual indulgence. But Sunny Leone’s Oomph Factor was more than enough to rake in the audiences.  Ekta Kapur, quite expectedly, had the last laugh.

The film marked the debut of Pakistani Heartthrob Fawad Khan. But it was the leading lady Sonam Kapoor who was given far more screen time. Surprisingly she didn’t disappoint. This movie gave us a flavour of Sonam Kapoor – the actor, a far cry from the fashionista image she is known for. The Film collected around 25 Crores. 

This comeback vehicle of Rani Mukherjee packed a solid punch. Rani was fearless, intense and meant business in the role of a fiery woman cop seeking nothing but justice. The film, which deals with a serious and sensitive issue of women trafficking, received rave reviews from major critics but received quite a lukewarm response from the audience. Owing to the finesse through which it tackled the subject, Mardaani was made tax free in states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Dedh Ishqiya:
The sequel to the 2010 sleeper hit Ishqiya, it had the deadly duo of Madhuri Dixit and Huma Qureshi to spice up the proceedings. Owing to its sharp and witty dialogues, tight screenplay and strong performances – the film received many four star reviews but on the business front it was strictly average.

There were many other films like Bobby Jasoos (Vidya Balan), Revolver Rani (Kangana Ranaut) and Gulaab Gang (Juhi, Madhuri) that also released this year. However, they tanked at the Box office and couldn’t leave a long lasting impact. The trend that started with the likes of No One Killed Jessica and Kahaani has been meticulously carried forward as is evident with the box office success of women centric films of 2014. It will be interesting to see what 2015 has in store for this genre!
By Anubhav Shrivastava

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