Touted as Raveena Tandon’s comeback film, Maatr was yet another film that chose women empowerment as its theme, but sadly failed in its execution. The problem with most scripts and directors these days is that there is basic lack of understanding and in-depth analysis of the subject they wish to explore (in this case it was about sexual assault) or bring to the silver screens.
Maatr, like most of the recently released women-centric films, turned out to be a clichéd and melodramatic revenge drama. And after watching the film, a realization sets in. The realization of how filmmakers have really misunderstood the concept of women empowerment, or in other words feminism. For most filmmakers, empowerment only happens when a woman is wronged in the eyes of the world and she returns as a bloodthirsty being, who in the process of seeking revenge suddenly garners this capability of murdering the wrongdoers because the system is flawed. But then we also need to understand that we’re talking about films and not real-life and maybe this kind of treatment may be important for some form of catharsis for the audience.
But coming to the point, Maatr isn’t the only film that is based on a woman’s life who fights for justice and ends up taking matters into her own hands due to the flawed system and prevalent corruption. There have been many others which have actually hit the nail without delving into melodrama and the usual cliches. And we’ve also come to the conclusion that revenge dramas may as well be Indian cinema’s all-time favourite theme. Take a look at a few.
Khoon Bhari Maang
Rekha returns to haunt her ex-husband Kabir Bedi, who marries her only to drown her with the help of her best friend so as to acquire her wealth. This revenge drama was a remake of an Australian mini-series Return to Eden and was a commercial and critical success.
In Kahaani, Vidya Balan definitely impressed us all as a widowed wife who becomes unconscious after seeing her husband’s corpse and then suffers a miscarriage. The story revolves around how she ultimately seeks revenge for the death of her husband and her child.
A commentary on social and gender justice, Prakash Jha’s Mrityudand was about three brave women who struggle against the domineering men in their lives and the oppressive system they represent.
Based on a true story, this film was about a woman who faces sexual abuse and discrimination in society. Then a turn of events leads her into becoming one of the most feared gang leaders of the country.
NH10 had its own flaws but it was still one of the better films that portrayed the atrocities usually leveled against people (honour killing, and more) living in far-flung villages in Haryana. In this film, a young couple’s (Anushka Sharma and Neil Bhoopalam) road trip goes awry and the man gets killed. Anushka escapes, only to return to the village to avenge her lover’s death.