On the occasion of International Women’s Day ’17, we tip our hats off to ladies who have wowed us with memorable parables – their lives.
Though last year witnessed several highs when it came to feminism and gender equality finally getting pride of place, it goes without saying that women in India are still fighting the tide – in most facets of life.
Despite the odds stacked up against them, there were several who defied expectations — even possibly their own — and came out flying high.
Be it societal norms, patriarchy or beating the system, these fabulous ladies, who hail from all walks of life, not only broke convention by making statements, but also inspired many to follow in their wake — one progressive footstep at a time.
This Women’s Day, we arc the spotlight onto their lives, and how they have bounced back with brazen spirit and sheer chutzpah.
Much has been written and discussed about the traumatic experience south Indian actress Bhavana went through recently, that had everyone from co-star Prithviraj Sukumaran vowing not to do misogynistic films again — to colleagues like Varalaxmi Sarathkumar speak out about exploitation in the film industry (and even start an anti-harassment campaign #SaveShakti today).
But far from being deterred, the 30-year-old rose past all the ‘breaking headlines’ and stated with characteristic gumption that she would get back to work in no time. “Life has knocked me down a few times; it showed me things I never wanted to see. I experienced sadness and failures. But one thing is for sure — I always get up!” she posted recently.
Priyanka Chopra, actress
It seems like it’s going to be just a matter of time before Pee Cee wins an Oscar — not just presenting the awards! The Jharkhand native won Miss World title 17 years ago — but even that career-defining honour seems like just another accomplishment on Priyanka’s ever-burgeoning CV.
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the Baywatch star, as mother Madhu Chopra reveals, “When she won the Miss World pageant, she had not yet gained all that confidence. She had to battle a lot of personal issues, including low self-esteem. She also lacked confidence as she had embarked on a journey without taking any charted lessons. It was only after years of grooming that she was able to stand straight and tall, style herself and dress in accordance to the occasion. Strength was induced within her only because she kept her eyes, mind and ears all wide open — and kept learning at every occasion. But it wasn’t a cake walk for Priyanka.”
The proud mom adds, “Priyanka is doing a lot for the girl child; she has gifted sewing machines through her foundation to the girls in order to enable them to be able to survive on their own. She wants girls everywhere to stand on their own and not depend on anyone for their living.”
Kangana Ranaut, actress
Queen K, Miss No-Nonsense, star of Koffee with Kanga… erm, Karan. The list of monikers Kangana keeps adding to her repertoire seems never-ending, and we love her for it! Self-made as they come, the 29-year-old has battled fire with flame all her life – nothing more epitomised by her recent altercation with Karan Johar on his chat show.
Accusing the director of nepotism and being ‘movie mafia’, Kangana spelt out what many in Bollywood would never dare to say. But then again, that’s nothing new for the outspoken maverick who’s always stood her ground when it comes to opposing men – even certified film royalty like Hrithik Roshan could not make this outsider cow down!
Garnering a vociferous fan base (as Shekhar Suman found out recently) despite going against every rule in the ‘traditional heroine’ playbook, Kangana is fast becoming the quintessential ambassador for women to not just be the leading lady of their films — but also their own lives.