WEEKEND WATCH: Jalsa, Aranyak… 7 Women-led crime thrillers to revisit!

This weekend, revisit these nail-biting, crime thrillers where women are in charge

Be it a drama like Jalsa, period dramas like Bridgerton or spy capers like Killing Eve, women-led stories are dominating streaming platforms. At a time when women-led narratives are topping popularity charts on OTT platforms, we recommend 5 stirring thrillers where fearless sheroes face inner and outer demons to change the world for the better.

Jalsa: Jalsa is about two powerful women who despite being on the opposite ends of societal privilege, are bound together by their love for their children and their mutual dependence. Then a hit-and-run accident threatens to not just break their equation but strip them off their humanity. How the two protagonists find their way back to themselves and each other makes up for the rest of the story. The twists and turns go beyond the plot to explore the inner compulsions of the women as they both teeter on a moral precipice. Directed by Suresh Triveni and produced by T-Series and Abundantia Entertainment, the film stars Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah in lead roles.

200 Halla Ho: How much more suffering must women on the margins endure before the law and order system takes note of their oppression? Directed by Sarthak Dasgupta and Alok Batra, 200 Halla Ho is a film based on one such story where a heedless mobster and serial rapist, is confronted by 200 women who decisively put an end to his oppression in an open court. At the heart of this film is a Dalit girl who refuses to accept not just the systemic oppression that generations of women like her have been subjected to but also the passive complicity of the legal system.  Produced by Yoodlee Films, it stars Amol Palekar, Rinku Rajguru, Barun Sobti, Sahil Khattar, Saloni Batra, Upendra Limaye, Indraneil Sengupta and Flora Saini.

Ajji: At a time when gender crimes have almost become normative, one woman refuses to forget or forgive the violation of her granddaughter. Devashish Makhija’s ‘Ajji’ is a revenge story like no other where the avenger is not a muscle-flexing leading man but  a grandmother who with a quiet and steely resolve plots to put an end to the depravity of a child rapist. Sushama Deshpande as Ajji redefines heroism and bravery in a milieu where women and girls are considered to be disposable and law and order machinery serves the privileged. The Yoodlee production also stars Sadiya Siddiqui, Vikas Kumar, Smita Tambe, Sharvani Suryavanshi and Abhishek Banerjee.

NH10: NH10 is a searing revenge drama where a woman who has been pushed too far, decides to confront not just the killers of her husband but patriarchy that thrives on cruelty and silence. This is however not just a vigilante film but a comment on a society where women can either become complicit in oppressing other women or are violently oppressed themselves. The action thriller film was directed by Navdeep Singh, written by Sudip Sharma and stars Anushka Sharma in possibly the most powerful role of her career. Neil Bhoopalam, Darshan Kumar, and Deepti Naval also play pivotal roles. NH10 was jointly produced by Clean Slate Filmz, Phantom Films and Eros International.

Mardaani 2: Modelled on cinematic male cops who use expletives, crackling one-liners and fists to fight crime and are virtually indestructible, Rani Mukerji’s Shivani Shivaji Roy avatar is out and about in this sequel to nab a serial rapist and murderer. A cat and mouse game ensues with many false leads and red herrings till she corners him and ends his crime streak.  Directed by Gopi Puthran, the film was backed by Yash Raj Films and was a cathartic response to the unaddressed problem of spiralling gender crimes in society where women are considered too weak to fight back.

Aarya: Sushmita Sen stars in and as Arya, a woman made to choose a path when cornered and has no option left to save her family. Directed by Ram Madhvani the series garnered high praise for the strong performances.

Aranyak: This Raveena Tandon-led Netflix series showcased her as the tough cop out to solve a mystery of a serial killer at large in a small town.  Created by Charudutt Acharya and Rohan Sippy, the edgy thriller has been directed by Vinay Waikul and also stars Parambrata Chatterjee, Ashutosh Rana and Indraneil Sengupta.

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