5 must watch FEMALE PROTAGONIST SHOWS on OTT platforms
“And I believe that good journalism, good television, can make our world a better place.”
Who knew that these pearls of wisdom that were once quoted by the acclaimed journalist, Christiane Amanpour would be lived by so vividly in today’s Netflix-driven era? Hello, lovelies! As we are currently reliving the horrors of a global health crisis (2020 repeat!), most of us are cozied up in our abodes trying to protect ourselves and our loved ones from catching this pernicious, but a fast-spreading virus.
Inevitably, all of us have heartily embraced the idea of watching interesting series on several digital platforms, either with our families or by ourselves. And, we are not complaining! With the world becoming a smaller place, thanks to the newfound virtual reality, the content brought to us by television shows and movies have drastically improved, becoming more relevant to the current times. Speaking of this, feminist fervour is catching on.
OUR TOP 5 PICKS THAT SCREAM OF WOMEN POWER
Gone are the days where women were shown to bawl and cry inconsolably onscreen, whose sole aim in life was to take care of their husbands, have a submissive dynamic with their strong, and conniving mothers’ in-law and rear children whist their lives were uprooted by an antagonist. Would you feel placated if such regressive content was being displayed? Sure, some of our soap operas may portray glints of it; but the reality is far from it. Urban, educated women, today, are more vocal and capable to fend for themselves successfully, while handling all domains of their lives with élan.
Appreciably, some of these “content-driven” shows manage to strike a deep chord amongst all of us. How many of you lassies, have felt stimulated or empowered after binge-watching a splendid piece with mind-blowing performances? Did you resonate with any character; feeling one with their nuances? Even though you may not be aware, these depictions do influence us in some ways.
So, if your work-from-home schedules permit and you want to seep into a new visual rollercoaster ride, dispose yourself to our top recommendations. You’ll come out on the other side with a refined perspective, we promise!
1. THE BOLD TYPE: Set in the city of dreams, aka, New York, this young millennial drama takes us along the glamorous lives of three best friends, who are inseparable. Working with one of the top magazines in the country, Scarlet, Jane is a talented writer who has all the makings of shining in the literary world, while the badass Sutton Brady paves her way as a gifted assistant turned fashion stylist. And, not to forget, the extremely sassy and witty Social Media Director and a newly discovered LGBTQIA+ powerhouse woman, Kat Edison, who uses her position to influence innumerable lives. Revolving around the trials and tribulations of their personal and professional lives, we all have certain aspects of these three wonder women in us, even if they aren’t apparent at present.
Furthermore, they are unabashed and unapologetic about themselves and go after what they want. From reporting ground-breaking fashion, lifestyle and political stories to raising the style echelons on her own merit, to always attempting to change the world via virtual reality, these women in their mid-20’s are here to hustle. Backed by super bosses and colleagues, they have created a wonderful family and a fancy wardrobe (hello, fashion closet) for themselves. Moreover, they depict various shades on intimate relationships beautifully, thereby, exploring love and heartbreak in varying intensities. This show has been lauded for normalizing diversity in the workplace and being fearless in shattering several stereotypes and dealing with hard-hitting topics and atrocities that women face in the 21st century. The Bold Type truly lives up to its title, doesn’t it?
2. EMILY IN PARIS: This show traverses through an exciting year of a 20 something social media maven, who goes from the casual Chicago life to the etiquette-driven high society French culture when she moves to Paris. Proving to be just what an esteemed Parisian marketing consultancy called ‘Savoir’ needs, she brings the more realistic, American viewpoint to the table. From being dissed by her boss and colleagues who find it difficult to change their old school ways, to being a much-riveted part of the team, she wins over one and all through her innate hard work and persistence.
And, doesn’t she just look amazing strutting around the most romantic city in the world in her Chanel jacket and Christian Louboutin booties, amongst other haute couture clothing. Truly an influencer of sorts, she knows how to take on diverse challenges in a completely new country heads on. Staying realistic to a young adult’s trajectory, she too tries out several relationships to find love and satisfy her needs (don’t blame the racing hormones, now!). Breaking up with her long-time partner, who tries to emotionally coax her into coming back, she knows she deserves better! Creating revolutionary and unconventional campaigns such as “Vagina is not male”, she single-handedly knows how to hit all the right spots and meet the right people, while being the assertive star that she is. Brave and unforgettable, she makes her presence known wherever she goes, while being far from perfect.
3. BOMBAY BEGUMS: Showing a true narrative of our present culture, with its varied grey shades, what happens if you put five stalwarts in a single frame? Resulting in power-packed performances, these ‘flawed’ women struggle and strive to gain success, with the idea of happiness differing for them all. While Pooja Bhatt’s character, Rani, may ride the top guns, by being the CEO of a significant bank, her personal life is not as awesome. Struggling to find love and acceptance from her husband and step-children, she undergoes several internal changes by herself, while trying to win over the latter. She makes us wonder if money, status and power are enough to lead a content life. On the other spectrum of this economic ladder, we encounter the experiences of Lily (Amruta Subhash), who is forced to earn her living as a bar dancer and sex worker. She goes against respectable societal standards just to provide a better future for her son. Trying to shackle stereotypes, she tries to be vociferous about her dreams even when the society does not objectify her.
Adding to this growing pentagon, Fatima played by Shahana Goswami, tries to find a balance between her rewarding promotion at work, pregnancy, and identities as a wife, mother and person filled with aspirations. The quintessential (or not) small-town girl Ayesha (Plabita Borthakur), trying to make it big in the city; faces her own challenges whilst trying to find her voice and channel her desires, all in the face of injustices meted out to her.
Lastly, coming to a full circle (metaphorically, of course), Rani’s step-daughter is Shia (Aadhya Anand) is trying to accept her mother’s death while navigating her teenage turbulence. Being at odds with her stepmother, withdrawing from her classmates, battling body image issues and understanding her first love; she expresses herself through art. What happens when all five lives are intertwined together? Resulting in a gripping plot, the lesson exuded is that empowerment is a continuous process of learning and growth.
4. FOUR MORE SHOTS PLEASE:This two-season old, Sex and the City inspired wonder depicts the story of four best friends, who come with their set of quirks and personalities. While Maanvi Gugroo is marvellously cast as the rich, sheltered Gujarati lassie, Siddhi Patel, we see her transforming throughout both seasons. With a childlike candour that is at odds with her mother, she loses her virginity, rediscovers herself and finds her life’s purpose in making others merry. What a surge in her character graph! Ambitious journalist, Damini, played by the headstrong Sayani Gupta, strives to strike a balance between her professional and love life. Fiery and fearless, she authors a controversial book.
We find an assertive lawyer in a single mother, Kriti Kulhari, who fights against gender disparities in the corporate world and seeks to be discerned as the badass lawyer she truly is. Exploring her love life, she gets involved with a married man, leading to her brief downfall. Lastly, we have the Punjab-clad, gym instructor Umang (Bani J), who shackles stereotypes and braves against her village when she falls in love with an acclaimed actress and supports her during her low phase. Alas, she learns to stand up for herself. Always there for each other, these besties, grow and evolve together, while downing ‘four more shots’ at their favourite bar.
5. QUEEN’S GAMBIT: Heralded by the uber-talented Anya-Taylor Joy, this seven-episode series follows the life of Beth Harmon, who transforms from a young orphan to a chess prodigy, in a time when it was a male-dominated sport. Set in the 1960’s, this game of strategy and calculative analysis was not considered to be a woman’s cup of tea. Single-handedly, she defeats the so-called stars of the male clan, and cements her position in the chess world, starting from the tender age of eleven. Touted as a genius who breaks several records, she is undeniably confident and self-assured. Not intimidated of being “a girl among all those men”, she believes in her power to defeat them all. Even though her love interests are engaging, they don’t cloud her judgments, making her an epitome of objectivity. What we absolutely love about the show is that it eludes its feminist propaganda, in strong, yet subtle ways.
Isn’t it time that we stop equating courageous, fiery women as damsels in distress. Let’s move over to adapt to just the opposite attitude! Doesn’t Katy Perry’s super hit song, Roar portray this sentiment melodiously?
“Now I’m floating like a butterfly,
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes / I went from zero, to my own hero.”
To sign off, we’d love to know your take on the female uplifting aspects of these shows. Additionally, feel free to even suggest a few of your top picks in the comments below! Cheers to always promoting a lifelong sisterhood!