Happy Birthday Sanjay Leela Bhansali: 8 times the director presented strong female characters in his films

As we celebrate Sanjay Leela Bhansali's birthday, let's delve into the diverse female characters depicted in his films, each characterized by their fierce strength, resilience, and unwavering independence.

Updated on Feb 24, 2024  |  04:42 AM IST |  70.2K
Happy Birthday Sanjay Leela Bhansali: 5 times the director presented strong female characters in his films
Picture Courtesy - IMDb

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a stalwart in Bollywood, marks another year of life today. Known for his distinctive storytelling, Bhansali has a knack for portraying strong and empowered female characters in his films. From Paro to Mastani, his leading ladies embody fierceness and independence. Bhansali's female characters are architects of their own destinies, making choices that shape their lives, for better or for worse. As we celebrate his birthday, let's take a moment to reminisce about the unforgettable empowered characters he has brought to the forefront.

1. Paro (Devdas)

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Paro, portrayed by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, deeply enamored with Devdas, played by Shah Rukh Khan, displayed remarkable strength and self-respect when faced with humiliation and rejection from him. Despite her intense love, she made the courageous decision to prioritize her dignity and rejected him.

2. Rani Padmavati (Padmaavat)

Deepika Padukone

In what can only be described as one of Deepika Padukone's most stellar performances, her portrayal of Rani Padmavati in the film Padmaavat showcases the unwavering resilience of the queen amidst adversity. Despite facing dire circumstances, the legendary queen defies stereotypes and confronts societal norms head-on, drawing strength from her beauty, intelligence, and bravery.

3. Kashibai (Bajirao Mastani)

Priyanka Chopra

In Bajirao Mastani, Priyanka Chopra's portrayal of Kashibai, Bajirao's first wife, showcases a character who steadfastly holds her ground. Kashibai is depicted as multi-dimensional, initially introduced as a devoted wife but later revealing her own independent voice and agency.


4. Michelle (Black)

Rani Mukerji

In Black, Rani Mukerji's portrayal of Michelle, despite her profound sensory limitations, stands out as a character who never seeks pity from the audience. Bhansali depicts her as a remarkably self-sufficient woman, demonstrating strength that surpasses her circumstances.

5. Mastani (Bajirao Mastani)

Deepika Padukone

Deepika has showcased versatility in playing distinct roles within Sanjay Leela Bhansali's cinematic universe. Her portrayal of Mastani in Bajirao Mastani is another testament to her talent. Mastani, a warrior princess, defies social norms by falling in love with the married Peshwa Bajirao. Despite facing societal opposition, she remains unwavering in her love and proves her mettle on the battlefield.

6. Gangu (Gangubai Kathiawadi)

Alia Bhatt

Gangu begins as a damsel in distress but undergoes a remarkable transformation, seizing control of her life in every possible way. In the film Gangubai Kathiawadi, she becomes a champion for marginalized women, advocating for their rights and empowerment.

7. Mehrunisa (Padmaavat)

Aditi Rao Hydari

Aditi Rao Hydari's portrayal of Mehrunisa is a testament to strength and integrity. She fearlessly advocates for what is right, even when it means challenging her own husband, Khilji, and enduring his wrath.

8. Nandini (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam)

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Before Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Bollywood rarely showcased a character like Nandini - someone who lived life on her own terms rather than conforming to others' expectations. Nandini's journey is marked by her willingness to take risks and trust in herself to make life-altering decisions. Despite her deep affection for Sameer, she ultimately chooses Vanraj, asserting her agency and prioritizing her own desires.

In an industry often saturated with stereotypical portrayals of women, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's perspective stands out as refreshing. Unlike many modern filmmakers, he eschews clichés and offers nuanced depictions of female characters in his films. Pinkvilla extends warm wishes to him on his birthday.

ALSO READ: 10 criminally underrated Bollywood comedy movies: Welcome to Sajjanpur, Lootcase and more

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Sanchi Gupta is your ultimate Bollywood buff. She traded in her finance and HR degree for the glitz and



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