No longer the pure virginal woman saving herself for marriage
The quintessential Indian heroine, be it the lead in films or protagonists in books, once corresponded to the idea of an demure damsel who holds her ‘morals’ dear – the never-been-kissed girl who can do it all for her one true love, saves her ‘virginity’ for marriage, frequents the neighbourhood temple and aspires to be domesticated. Amrita Rao in Vivah, Madhuri Dixit in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun or Aishwarya Rai in Hum Dil Chuke Sanam…the list is too long. The turn of the century saw a slight departure from this trend with the introduction of the modern heroine, albeit cosmetically. It is only recently that portrayal of female characters in cinema and literature on the home turf has undergone a paradigm shift to lend them a more humane dimension, taking them down from the holier-than-thou pedestal and treating them as flawed human beings like you and me.