Haseena over Raees: When actresses played malevolent, feared gangsters with elan

Shraddha Kapoor-starrer Haseena is not the first Bollywood film revolving around a female gangster. Here's a look at some of the popular flicks

Bollywood’s obsession with gangsters is not new. There have been numerous films which have portrayed the gangsters in a larger-than-life manner. Whether it is a good thing or not, the debate rages on. Recently, Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees which revolves around the life of a bootlegger-turned don has taken the box office by storm. Get ready for another gangster flick as Shraddha Kapoor will essay the role of Haseena Parkar in the upcoming flick Haseena: The Queen of Mumbai. 

Those of you who don’t know, Haseena Parkar was underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s sister and she passed away in 2014. She handled his operations in Mumbai, allegedly running extortion and hawala rackets on her brother’s behalf. Now, the world of mafia has not been a domain of men alone. There have been female gangsters who were feared for their ruthlessness. Even Bollywood did not stay behind in glorifying them. Here are five such iconic films:

Bandit Queen: When we talk about films on female gangsters, this Shekhar Kapur’s directorial venture strikes our mind instantly. The biographical film on notorious bandit Phoolan Devi won accolades worldwide. Born in a low caste family in Uttar Pradesh, Phoolan Devi was subjected to sexual abuse by upper caste men after her husband was shot dead. She gathered a gang of trusted men and went on a revenge spree. The film won the National Award in several categories and Seema Biswas’s portrayal of the bandit was applauded. Manoj Bajpayee, Nirmal Pandey, and Raghuvir Yadav also played pivotal roles in the flick.

Godmother: Shabana Azmi is a versatile actor beyond doubt. She won accolades with her performance as Rambhi in 1999 film Godmother. Inspired by the life of yesteryear Gujarat don Santokben Jadeja, the film witnessed Azmi as the badass don who was feared by everyone. She won the National Award for her role in the film. You just cannot miss this film for sure.

Supriya Pathak: If you thought Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela was only about Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, you are mistaken. A desi adaptation of William Shakespeare’s love tragedy Romeo and Juliet, the film had none other than Supriya Pathak playing local don Dhankaur, who instilled fear among the people. The scene in which she cuts her on-screen daughter Leela (Deepika)’s finger is indeed chilling.

Kangana Ranaut: When you have a seasoned actor like Kangana Ranaut playing a rustic bandit, the film is going to be a firecracker. The National Award winner played a badass dacoit Alka Singh in 2014 thriller Revolver Rani. Although the film tanked at the box office, but Kangana’s performance as a gun-toting ‘Rani’ should not go unnoticed.

Neha Dhupia: The 2010 satire Phas Gaye Re Obama won accolades the world over for its cheeky take on global recession. The Subhash Kapoor directorial had Sanjay Mishra, Rajat Kapoor, Manu Rishi and Amole Gupte in leading roles. However, one actor who stole the limelight was Neha Dhupia who donned the role of a gangster Munni. Known for portraying glamorous roles, Neha left the audience awestruck with her performance.

So, being bad is not just a male bastion.

Also read:  The Raees effect: Why is Bollywood so obsessed with glorifying gangsters?