Bollywood beauties are having the time of their life after Vidya Balan kicked off a renewed trend with The Dirty Picture and Kahaani. There was Kareena Kapoor’s Heroine which released last fortnight and English Vinglish with Sridevi which just came into theatres last week followed by Rani Mukherjee’s Aiyya and Priety Zinta’s Ishq in Paris.
Keeping pace with its larger counterpart, Sandalwood is not far behind as more female-oriented movies have been releasing and tasting success. The long list of female-oriented films include Shakti (Malashree), Dandupalya (Pooja Gandhi), Charulatha (Priyamani), Chennamma IPS (Ayesha), and Priya Hassan’s Jambada Hudugi and Bindaas Hudugi which released recently. Other films which are now in the making are Ragini IPS with Ragini, Mahanadhi starring Sanjjan-aa, Kodi Rama-krishna’s untitled project with Ramya, Priya Hassan’s Smuggler and a few more. With heroes always taking the centre stage, this new trend seems to be a welcome change in Sandalwood. According K Manju, a Kannada filmmaker, heroines are as valuable as heroes today. He says,“Heroine-centric films are not new to the industry. We had Vijayashanthi in Telugu and Malashree in Kannada who can still pull in a decent crowd with their films. It depends on the calibre and acting skills of heroines. For example, Ragini is playing a tough cop in my next film, Ragini IPS and she is doing a fabulous job with the role. Even heroine-centric films give us the same business as heroes though both have a different market.”
The filmmaker is planning on another heroine centric film with Pooja Gandhi. “I am happy to encourage our Kannada heroines who are daring to go solo. It is not how much we invest on a heroine or the hero, it is all about the story which makes business. I have invested about `2 crores for Ragini IPS as the film required that kind of budget,” he states.
Priya Hassan, who has played the protagonist in films like Jamada Hudugi, Bindaas Hudugi and now Smuggler, has also produced films.
She says, “It is not that people go to theatres only to watch heroes. We also hear people whistling when the heroine makes an entrance on screen. I have been the producer of my own films and I know how much goes into filmmaking.
"I have not compromised on anything because my films are mainly heroine-centric. For my current film, Smuggler, I have signed well-known artists from the Southern industry to whom, I have to pay their current market price. In such a scenario, my budget becomes equally big,” explains Priya, asserting that cinema making is a business and mainly depends on the subject.
“Today we see certain films made with a minimum budget and earning profit too. On the other side, many big budget films fail to even get their investment back . It is not about the budget or whether the hero or heroine plays the lead role. If we have a good story, people will come and watch. There are many good films being made, giving way for actresses to perform, and these are substantial roles which are capable of challenging the male dominion,” she adds.