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Angry Indian Goddesses

Independent. Powerful. Mysterious. Romantic. Enamoured. Angry. Courageous.

Pan Nalin’s Angry Indian Goddesses is being heralded as ‘India’s first female buddy movie,’ which is a welcome change for Hindi cinema. But it’s also an overtly feminist film that balances its serious themes with witty dialogues and powerful performances.

Poster for the female buddy film Angry Indian GoddessesNalin introduces us to an ensemble of friends who are routinely the subject of sexist micro-aggressions at work and in life. There’s Joanna (Amrit Maghera) an Anglo-Indian who’s struggling to make a name for herself in Bollywood; Pam (Pavleen Gujral) a housewife who has business ambitions but is thwarted by her husband; Mad (Anushka Manchanda), a singer whose albums aren’t getting picked up; Freida (Sarah-Jane Dias) a photographer struggling to balance her art with a commercial job; Laxmi (Rajshri Deshpande) a maid who’s taking her harassers to task; and Nargis (Tannishtha Chatterjee), an activist who’s got a personal beef with Suranjana (Sandhya Mridul), a businesswoman who’s building a factory in a disputed area. Nalin makes sure that each woman in the film gets her own story arc that’s refreshingly real and honest. 

This is one rare film that passes the Bechdel test with flying colours, because there are frank discussions of sexuality, suicide, workplace drama, sex, and having it all. The fine ensemble cast brings everything to their roles and emerge with the audience’s sympathies.

When the film shifts gears in its final act, we begin to understand the significance of the film’s title as the women seek to avenge the wrongs against them. It’s difficult to talk about without spoiling it, but the film finds its angry groove in the finale, which earns the audience’s respect. 

It sometimes feels as if Nalin packed in all the issues he could, in case another film this witty and powerful would never get made again. It’s a must-watch film that will spark a vital dialogue around women’s issues.

– Rumnique Nannar, BollySpice

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