Watch stories that celebrate women in all their complexity, glory and power

The era of stereotypical, one-dimensional female protagonists is now being phased out by stories that highlight the depth, expanse, and diversity of women's experiences.

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By Bollyy
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The era of stereotypical, one-dimensional female protagonists is now being phased out by stories that highlight the depth, expanse, and diversity of women's experiences. There is now a deluge of content on the small screen which revolves around complex, powerful women. This International Women's Day, watch female characters who are not afraid to make mistakes and are able to steer their lives and choices with complete agency. 'Agnipankh,' 'Gudiya Ki Shaadi,' 'Ok Tata Bye Bye,' 'Aarya,' and 'Masaba Masaba,' offer a unique insight into women's multifaceted lives and the challenges they have to navigate.
 
 An overview :
Agnipankh
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Written by playwright Prabhakar Laxman Mayekar, and first performed in the 1980s, this Zee Theatre teleplay is named after a Greek mythical bird rising from the ashes. Much like the phoenix, a fiercely self-willed matriarch Durgeshwari or ‘Baisaab’ is trying to rise about the impending end of the feudal system in the fifties post India's independence. While she fights to keep her family and her 'zamindari' or feudal estate together, she also has to battle the turbulent winds of social change. Along the way, she has to cope with her loveless marriage, her rebellious children and the rapidly evolving power dynamics in the country.   
Baisaab, played by well-known actor Mita Vashisht, is a force of nature but when confronted by reality, will she yield and become more amenable to change? Directed by Ganesh Yadav, the historical teleplay also stars Dinkar Gawande, Gulki Joshi, Prabhat Sharma, Satyajeet Dubey, Sheetal Singh, and Somesh Agarwal.
Watch this story on 8th March at Tata Play Theatre. 
 
Gudiya Ki Shaadi
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This Zee Theatre teleplay penned by writer, director, and actor Samta Sagar explores the social obsession with marriage, unrealistic beauty standards, and the pressure they inflict on young women like Gudiya, the central protagonist. Not only is Gudiya judged for her skin colour but hell breaks loose when she accidentally shaves off her eyebrows on the eve of her wedding. Gudiya deals with colorism, harsh criticism, and negativity to keep her self-worth intact with humour and unwavering confidence. Watch what happens when her groom Muddu and his family stop the wedding. Does Gudiya accept their verdict or does she change the perception that a girl's eligibility is defined by her beauty?
This sharp-witted comedy of errors is filmed by Sourabh Shrivastava, directed for the stage by Samta Sagar, and stars Shweta Basu Prasad, Virendra Saxena, Samta Sagar herself, Ishtiyaq Khan, Saroj Sharma, Neha Saraf, Vikram Kochhar and Anveshi Jain.
 'Gudiya Ki Shaadi' will be aired on 9th March at Tata Play Theatre.
 
Ok Tata Bye Bye
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Writer, director, and actor Purva Naresh adroitly explores notions of morality, female agency, and freedom in this thought-provoking Zee Theatre teleplay. When filmmakers Pooja and Mitch arrive at a village near a highway to document a sex worker's life, their worldview, personal value system, and relationship undergo an upheaval. A confrontation between Pooja and a sex worker rips the veil off hypocritical notions about the meaning of female empowerment. The encounter leads to life-altering revelations that force Pooja to examine her own prejudices more closely.
Penned and directed for stage Purva Naresh, the teleplay is filmed by Ishan Trivedi. It stars Geetika Tyagi, Jim Sarbh, Prerna Chawla and Sarika Singh.
Watch 'Ok Tata Bye Bye' on Airtel Spotlight, Dish TV Rangmanch Active, and D2H Rangmanch Active.
 
 Aarya
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Based on the Dutch drama series 'Penoza', 'Aarya' offers audiences a female protagonist unlike any other. Stricken by tragedy when her husband is shot dead, she goes from being a wife and a mother to a warrior. She goes to extreme lengths to protect her children and not only takes on the members of her own family to avenge her husband but also becomes the mastermind of a vast and unruly criminal empire. The series established Sushmita Sen as a performer who could pull off a larger-than-life character and break new ground for female actors in the OTT space. For three seasons, the show kept audiences on the edge of their seats as Sen in the titular role took life and death decisions with extreme poise and compelling histrionics.
Co-created by Ram Madhvani and Sandeep Modi, who also directed the series, 'Aarya' can be watched on Disney+ Hotstar. It also stars Sohaila Kapur, Chandrachur Singh, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Sikander Kher, Vikas Kumar, and Vishwajeet Pradhan among others.
 
Masaba Masaba
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Word has it that it was Masaba Gupta's vibrant Instagram posts that led to the ideation of the superhit Netflix series 'Masaba Masaba' and her full-fledged debut as an actor. The series not only fictionalises her personal life, her relationship with her mother Neena Gupta but also the highs and lows of her successful career as a clutter-breaking designer. Masaba and Neena play uproarious versions of themselves in this entertaining joyride. The most interesting bit about the two seasons is the focus on the personal evolution of the protagonist and the journey to become her most authentic self despite many missteps. The story is told from a woman's perspective by a woman director and makes the audience see the world via a female gaze. This is a far cry from conventional heroines on the small screen who are restricted by patriarchal rules, not of their own making. Directed by Sonam Nair, the show also stars Neil Bhoopalam, Satyadeep Mishra, and Suchitra Pillai and is available on Netflix.
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