Ayesha Mehra in Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)
Zoya Akhtar’s tale of a big family with big problems doesn’t give Priyanka Chopra’s character a fair shake. Ayesha eventually gets rid of her abusive husband (Rahul Bose). But why did she put up with it for so long? Why does the sitdown with her parents end with them advising her to have a baby to save her marriage? And why does she need a man? Even if it is Farhan Akhtar.
Sandhya Tiwari in Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015)
Exploring the themes of fat shaming and arranged marriage, this Yash Raj production is well made. But it would have been nice to see Bhumi Pednekar go ahead with a divorce. We didn’t think Ayushmann Khurrana’s character deserved her. Women need to stop being so forgiving on screen.
Sehmat Khan in Raazi (2018)
A true account of an Indian woman who marries into a Pakistani military family to act as a spy. This is a RAW deal, in more ways than one. The movie goes on to demand impossible things of Sehmat, turning her into a murderer, and the cause of her husband’s death. At the end, she’s pregnant and alone.
Preeti Sikka in Kabir Singh (2019)
This is the film that inspires women to stay in abusive relationships. A remake of Telugu film Arjun Reddy (2017), there’s no humiliation that Kiara Advani does not endure. She forgives abuse, gets pregnant by a man who doesn’t care for her, and goes back to him even though she’s financially stable. How is this a happy relationship?
Naina Talwar in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)
The lesson here is: If he’s not into you, move on. Sadly, that’s not what Deepika Padukone decides to do. She keeps falling for Ranbir’s character, giving in to his toxic and selfish whims and fancies. They seem to be on the way to their happily ever after. But all too soon, there’s heartbreak in store for Naina.
Claire Peterson in The Boy Next Door (2015)
You’re in trouble when the neighbour you had a one-night stand with becomes a stalker. And then joins the school where you’re a teacher. And then demands that you have a relationship with him. JLo has to kill Ryan Guzman to be free of him. Can we see Jennifer Lopez in a movie where she’s not on the prowl or getting married?
Malorie Hayes in Bird Box (2018)
Sandra Bullock is in the middle of an apocalypse scenario where people drop dead the minute they see certain unknown creatures. The movie follows her attempts to stay alive, and protect two toddlers. A touching, difficult watch, you can’t help it when your heart bleeds for Malorie.
Grace le Domas in Ready or Not (2019)
It’s her wedding day, but the in-laws already want to kill Samara Weaving. Because they’re cursed. And Adam Brody seems unable to help with the “until death do us part” bit of his vows. After a lot of shooting, and a few murders, Grace makes it to dawn. What’s next after surviving this family drama? Only therapy.
Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame (2019)
You don’t take the only significant woman superhero in the Avengers and kill them off. Especially when you’re planning to kill off another key member (Iron Man) a couple of minutes later. But the fight between Black Widow and Hawkeye about who’s going to offer their soul to complete their mission, is heartbreaking. Wish she hadn’t lost.
Summer Finn in 500 Days of Summer (2009)
She broke Tom’s heart, but did she really? Zooey Deschanel told Joseph Gordon-Levitt right from the beginning that their relationship could never go anywhere. It’s not her fault he continues to pursue her. And when she finds happiness with the right person, Tom paints her a villain. We don’t buy it.
From HT Brunch, June 24, 2023
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