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The Women in Bollywood Quiz: Obligatory Love Interest or Women of Substance?

From Neha to Aaliya, a decade of Bollywood's leading ladies

You remember which song she danced to, but do you remember the heroine’s occupation in these Bollywood movies?

We love them movies, we really do! But one of the things that makes us more than a little sad is how poorly defined the women characters are in many of our favourite movies. This entire week, we’ve been looking at women in STEM and ruing the fact that there aren’t enough role models for little girls who want to be scientists and engineers. And even if science is a far reach, we just wish that more films had women do more interesting stuff.

As a thought experiment, we looked at the highest grossing Bollywood movie of every year from 2001 to find out what the heroine ‘did’ (in terms of a job) in that film. In some years, where the film was historical, or didn’t have a clearly defined female protagonist, we looked at the Filmfare Best Film as a measure of mass popularity. And while there were a lot of obligatory dancers, criminal masterminds and plain love interests, there were also a couple of interesting characters. Unfortunately, in very few stories did the heroine’s job really impact the storyline.

And once again, this is not to say that every woman MUST have a job. We know plenty of mothers, part-time entrepreneurs, dilettantes and travellers who lead perfectly fulfilling lives. But we do believe that every woman MUST be defined by more than just who she is in love with. How many of the protagonists in our films can say that?

Do remember to share the results on Facebook & Twitter, and try our other quizzes here

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