Going from being damsels in distress to strong female protagonists who are breaking stereotypes, the roles written for Indian women onscreen have changed. And we have streaming platforms to thank for that. With female filmmakers, writers, producers, and actors taking the lead, the narrative is changing, and female characters are now being portrayed in a new light.
Role of OTT platforms
With the rise of streaming services, audiences today have the opportunity to enjoy compelling and diverse stories. OTTs have made way for female storytellers to rise up and tell diverse stories about women, on issues that are related to women, or have women as central characters.
We’ve seen this with Netflix’s series Aranyak, where Raveena Tandon played the character of a determined and driven woman both in her professional and personal life, Anchal Singh’s portrayal of Purva in Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein that reverses the gender dynamic, and Madhuri Dixit showing that a woman can have it all: be a mother, a talented actor, and a daughter in The Fame Game.
Rewriting the script
We’re in a golden age of entertainment in India where creators and emerging talent are creating content that is diverse, authentic, local, relatable, and ground-breaking. Indian stories are screened on a global level and that’s another advantage of OTT platforms. Writers who tell stories from a unique vantage point and stay away from trends get the recognition they deserve, and know that every story can find its audience, without limitations on format or duration. Writers are taking big, creative swings and now they have ample opportunities to narrate a story about anything.
This has inspired more women storytellers to come forward, and tell stories that spark conversations about the evolving role of women, not just in entertainment but in the world around us. In 2021, Netflix alone worked with 23 women writers including Gazal Dhaliwal (Mismatched S2, Feels Like Ishq), Alankrita Srivastava (Bombay Begums), Kanika Dhillon (Haseen Dillruba), Nupur Pai (Little Things S4).
Streaming platforms have been championing the female-forward narrative in India. OTT platforms provide the opportunity to bridge cultures and people through authentic and relatable stories – a lady in Mumbai can be inspired by a story about a woman in Rome or a lady living in Kota can be inspired by a lady from Chennai.
There are a lot of inspiring and talented women and this is their time to be discovered and shine, and OTT has opened up avenues to make this happen.