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Women in Bollywood: How Female Roles For Actors Have Changed

Films, Bollywood and cinema have always been an integral part of the Indian lifestyle. The role of female protagonists in Indian cinema has evolved with the times and today a typical Bollywood flick would have you meet leads who break taboos and play parts that today’s audience can relate to.

Both Bollywood and regional Indian cinema, has been to some extent, male-centric. Male actors have more often than not, held the responsibility of the entire movie on their shoulders with the female actors providing a refreshing break with a sultry song and dance sequence or merely playing the supporting actor in the production.

Cheeni Kum Poster

The 1950’s, 60’s and early 70’s saw heroines being cast in roles that were of the “Sati Savitri” mould. They played society’s perception of what women should be like, ideally good wives and mothers.

Lead actresses shied away from these roles and those who did ended up playing the “bad” role of the other woman, i.e.: a raunchy secretary or a women with loose morals who had no inhibitions in shedding off her clothes and morals.

It was, however, always the “good” woman who triumphed sending out an unconscious message to the impressionable society on how women should behave. Movies such as “Mother India”, “Madhumathi” and “Kagaaz ka Phool” illustrate this point.

While the late 70’s 80’s and 90’s saw actresses breaking away from this mould and taking on more daring roles, they unfortunately fell into another bracket. Playing the damsel in distress became the trend with heroines performing dance sequences around trees with the heroes and dress up as glamour dolls.

While this trend brought about the “feel good” factor that Hindi movies are famous for, it reduced the role of the female protagonist from an actor to that of a heroine.  Nevertheless, these films brought about a change to Bollywood movies, transforming them from solemn films to entertaining movies.

The 21st century saw Bollywood movies undergo a new transformation. The new breeds of actresses were ready to pave their own paths in cinema like never before. They understood that being an actress was just a job and the characters they played did not define them as individuals.

This realization gave film-makers the chance to experiment with roles and subjects they did not dare to venture into before. Even the actresses of previous generations were inspired to take on new roles.

Take for example, Tabu in the Amitabh Bachan starrer “Cheeni Kum”, plays the role of a 34-year old woman in love with a man 30 years her senior in an unconventional love story.

Konkona Sen Sharma
In another movie, “Page 3” set against the glamorous backdrop of media and celebrity life, Konkona Sen Sharma plays a journalist reporting on the glitzy world of celebrities only to get disillusioned by it in the end. These movies touch on topics that are relevant to today’s audience.

The role of women in Bollywood has undergone an awe-inspiring journey over the past five decades. Women have evolved in their roles and have seen several transformations from playing the ideal wife/mother to glamour doll to a serious actress.

They have continued to break conventions and set the bar higher for their male counterparts. Most importantly, they continue to make cinema that touch their audiences, both in India and worldwide.


Image source BollywoodBuzz

Survival Tips For Sleep-Deprived Working Moms

It is a wonderful journey for a woman, growing into a capable individual with a steady career, and making the transition from a daughter to wife and then to mother.

Whether you are caring for a newborn or a grown-up teen, your day as a working mother is bound to be packed with tasks and responsibilities, often leaving you with little or no time to get your precious eight hours of sleep.

Sleep deprived mom

The multitasking supermom very often becomes a perpetually stressed, sleep deprived creature who is, according to recent studies, more prone to depression, heart disease and other stress-related maladies.

If reading the above has you grumbling, “The story of my life,” here are some pointers that can help ease the problem. Sleep deprivation is a common issue for the working mother.

However, a careful observation of routine, resources and requirements can certainly be made, to find out its causes and manage time to minimize them.

  • Don’t hesitate to seek out and accept help

Working mothers need to realise that it is sometimes all right to let others pitch in with a few small things which would save a lot of time and energy. For example, if a close friend or relative is going to the supermarket, you can request them to bring in some groceries for you as well while you grab some quick shuteye.

You can do the same for them on your next trip to the store. Doting grandparents will be happy to have children over for the weekend, which would leave you with plenty of time to relax and catch up on sleep.

  • Scheduling your routine

Encourage your children to follow a routine, especially during weekdays. If they are done with homework, feeding and other tasks by a reasonable hour, you can safely retire to your room and unwind.

Late night TV watching and eating out are best left for the weekends as these activities interfere with sound sleep. If you have a small baby who needs to be attended to at night, get your husband to take turns or split responsibilities.

  • Create a relaxing environment

After a stressful day, it helps to come back to a room that is welcoming and soothing to the senses. Use dim lighting and aromatherapy lamps to create an ambience that will help you forget the day’s worries and lull you to sleep. Some essential oils like Lavender are believed to induce sleep, even in insomniacs.

  • Learn to let go

Sure there are a million things to be done but some of them can certainly wait. Don’t take it upon yourself to accomplish everything in a single day and be ruthless enough to say “No” and reject things that are not essential.

Sometimes you just can’t have those relatives over; the visit can happen later. This also applies at work. Draw a line and say no to over-commitment and additional workload. Promise to end your day at a particular hour and save the non-urgent tasks for weekends or holidays.

  • Sort, delegate, divide, rotate, synchronize, reject

Take an overview of the things you do throughout the day and mark out the most essential ones that take top priority. You will find many activities you do apart from these (both at work and at home), that take up your precious minutes of sleep.

At work, try to delegate more of smaller tasks to your juniors if hurrying around after every little job is keeping you at the workplace longer than necessary. At home, divide some of the chores that get done much faster if each member does a bit. In cases where domestic help is not available, each person can clean his/her own dishes.

Likewise, each family member can fold their own clothes from the laundry basket; even kids above a certain age may participate and actually benefit from such early introduction of basic self-dependence.

Your husband and you can take turns to attend to the studies and homework of children. You can even do their revisions with them while you cook. Getting pre-washed and cut vegetables is yet another timesaver, which you can further improve by finding quick recipes.

These are but a few of the many ways that aid the survival of a working mother. Take a little while to analyze your situation and creatively apply these tips and more to your day.

You will most definitely be able to get the very essential sleep that you were deprived of, which in turn shall bring a marked rise in the general efficiency and balance in your life.


Adoption For Single Women In India

By Pallavi Bhattacharya

Imagine a scenario in which a single woman in her thirties is being pressurized to tie the knot with any man who wants to marry her as ‘her biological clock is ticking away’. The worst ever decision she can make is by giving in to a pressure like this.

A woman doesn’t have to be married to enjoy the pleasure of motherhood. Nor are we advising her to have a child out of wedlock if she isn’t comfortable with the idea. Impregnation through artificial insemination is also not yet legal for single women in India.

A single woman in India doesn’t necessarily have to give birth to a child to become a mother. She can become a mother through adoption. An adopted child as actress Sushmita Sen puts it is ‘born from the heart’.

According to Sushmita that is what makes her adopted daughter extra-special as she wasn’t ‘born from the tummy’ as it is for most mothers. Indeed her daughter was different. She was after all born out of pure love.

How do you ascertain that you will make a good adoptive mother? First of all you need to understand your motives for adoption.

Do you want to adopt because you want to nurture your motherly instincts? You want that special experience of loving and being loved by a child? Then that is a good reason for adopting.

Do you want to adopt a child because you think he/ she will be a quick-fix for your loneliness and ‘instant cure’ for your depression? That’s a bad reason to adopt. You need to be emotionally stable to raise a child single-handed.

Mothering is after-all a life-long commitment. If you adopt a child when you are in a distraught state of mind, it may be worse both for you and the child. You may soon discover that you can’t manage the responsibility of raising a child. Nor is he/ she the answer to your loneliness.

Do you want a child so that you will have someone to carry on your family name and inherit your fortune? Or maybe you’ve been conditioned into believing that you need to adopt a male child as he needs to light your funeral pyre to ‘guarantee you salvation’?

Perhaps you’re worried that nobody will be there to look after with you when you are old, therefore you feel the need to adopt with the hope that the child will grow up to be your caretaker. These are also not good enough reasons for wanting to adopt.

Have you yearned for a baby and found out that you can’t have one? Maybe your husband divorced you because of that. Now you want a child at any cost. You should be adopting a child only after you have calmly accepted your infertility.

Do you want to adopt because your child has died and your marriage may also have broken up as a result? Wait till you come to terms with your tragedy before you adopt.

If the adoption agency finds out that you are still deeply grieving the death of your child and may compare your adopted child to your late child, they may turn down your adoption plea. You need to have a calm and composed mind to be found eligible for adoption.

Do you want to adopt a kid because you want to prove to society that you are a philanthropist? If you want to adopt to make a statement it is not a good reason for adopting.

Most importantly you need to adopt for the sake of the child than for yourself. Adoption agencies won’t let you adopt unless they are convinced that you are capable of giving the child a loving home.

Please remember that a baby is not an accessory or a doll to dress up. Babies may be up all night, they may fall ill, they need nurturing. Do you have the patience, tolerance and maturity to raise a child?

Ascertain objectively if you are suited to parenting. Do you like spending time with children? Do you get along well with your nieces and nephews? If you’ve had experience in volunteering with children then you may be able to make the transition to parenthood more smoothly. If you haven’t been exposed to children, do interact with them before adopting one.

Can you truly love and bond with a kid who is not biologically related to you? Your adopted child may look very different from you and may also have a radically different personality.

If you are fixated on adopting a fair baby who hasn’t been born out of wedlock, rethink adopting. Looks and the social background of your adopted child just shouldn’t matter to you.

Can you afford a child? Do you earn enough and have a decent bank balance to support a child? You are after all the sole-breadwinner. Are you willing to cut down on your shopping sprees to spend on quality education for your child instead?

In addition to money, you need to be able to devote quality time to your child. Will you be okay with cutting down on partying and socialising to bond with your child instead?

Does your family support your decision to adopt? If your family is vehemently against adoption, raising the child may not be too easy for you. After all when you are out working, if no family member wants to look after the child, what are you to do about it? All crèches aren’t reliable. A home and family are always far better places for a child to grow up than a crèche or just with a nanny.

If you are forty or older it is best to adopt an older child than an infant. If you are young you may comfortably adopt a baby.

  • A single woman’s right to adopt:

According to the CARA (Central Adoption Resource Agency) website, “A single parent has equal legal status to adopt a child and to deny him/her on the ground of his/her single status is not only a violation of his/her legal right but also her constitutional right guaranteed under Art.14 and 15.

Whosoever is deprived of the right to adopt only on the ground of single status may bring the matter to the attention of CARA in writing.” The single woman may be unmarried, divorced or widowed.

Adoption agencies are however extra-cautious while granting adoption to single women than to couples. This is because they feel that it’s easier for two parents than for one to raise a child.

After all many babies are put up for adoption because the mother was single and unable to care of him/ her well. Therefore they don’t want the child to be put back in a similar condition.

Says Jaissita Panigrahi, Managing Trustee of Bal Vikas Shishu Welfare Trust of India, “We do look for a father figure in the life of the child when granting adoption to a single woman. The father figure may be the father, brother, brother-in-law or a good friend of the single woman. He should be willing to act as a godfather to the child.”

In Mumbai, the court requires an undertaking from a close relative, most often a male, supporting the single mother’s adoption plan, offering future security for the child in case of her demise, and assuring that a male presence will be provided to the child.

If either of your parents is opposed to you adopting a child, adoption agencies may turn down your plea for adoption. This is because they want to make sure that the child is accepted by the family he/ she is going to.

Those who have watched the Oscar winning film, Juno, will agree that it’s not necessarily true that two parents are always better than one for raising an adopted child.

In the film Vanessa makes a far better parent for the child than raising him with her unfaithful husband who even shirks the responsibility of fatherhood. Vanessa not only can financially support the child single-handedly but also gives him all the love, care and affection he needs.


Image source

Nightwear For Women In India: Fashion Tips For The Bedroom

Do you find yourself going to bed in the same old pajamas or baggy night shirt every day? Do you end up wearing the clothes that you deem unsuitable for wearing outside, when you go to sleep?

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, here’s the truth – nightwear is no longer only about comfort and making use of old clothes!

Nightwear for Women in IndiaNightwear is another dimension of fashion that has caught up rapidly in the last few years. Women in India now have a wide range of options to choose nightwear from, both in designs as well as fabrics.

Earlier if you told yourself that the over sized T-shirt was the most comfortable thing you could sleep in, now it’s time you also looked at what makes you feel good.

The feel good factor that comes with the right choice of nightwear is incredible after a long, tiring day.

Nightgowns can be worn by women of any age. They come in a range of fabrics like silk and cotton and can be fitted or loose.

This is a classic choice for women across age groups, and you can pick out some lovely pastel gowns to make you feel like a princess while going to bed.

A peignoir is a night gown which is sheer and made of chiffon or some other translucent fabric. These come with embroidery on the hemline and cup. Depending on your mood, go in for a long flowing one or a short one.

Pajamas are the classic nightwear and come in so many different variants – pull up, long johns, and teddy sets etc. which come in cotton. Silk pajamas are also a great option.

Night shirts which are comfortable, mostly slightly over sized, are great in cotton. Chemise and lingerie are extremely well crafted and come in so many different colours and types now. These are almost like a second skin and need to be well fitted.

Plus Size nightwear, especially for pregnant women is specially crafted to suit specific needs. There are tops with adjustable spaghetti straps and the pajamas have a drawstring waist to provide extra comfort.

Choosing the right type of nightwear depends on the season and climactic conditions, as well as your body type. The choice of fabric is very important. Cotton is an all time favourite and can be worn any time of the year.

During winters, flannels or synthetic can be worn for warmth. Try on sleep wear before you buy, because the last thing you want is your sleep disturbed because of uncomfortable clothes. So go ahead and pick out some beautiful night clothes for that happy night’s sleep.