Stunt masters of India have worked very hard in Hindi cinema to do that perfect stunt to get a racy action movie in motion. Over years cinema has not really celebrated the lesser known mortals of Bollywood, in other words the stuntwomen of India.
Vishal Bhardwaj’s Rangoon will release on 24th February, 2017. It is for the first time that this film aims to celebrate the unknown stuntwomen of India. Playing the lead, Kangana Ranaut plays a stunt woman Jaanbaaz Miss Julia in 1930s India.
Rangoon is a Bollywood period romance drama, which apart from Kangana has Saif Ali Khan and Shahid Kapoor in lead roles. Set during World War II, it is helmed by National Award-winner Vishal Bhardwaj and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala.
The makers of the film have done serious research to get the movie happening. Research shows over 12 women played pivotal roles in doing death defying stunts in that era.
The research has thrown up names like Miss Zebuinnsa among the main faces who starred in an action film called SHE. Others included Sulochna, Miss Ermeline, Miss Mary, Miss Padma, and Fearless Nadia who became popular.
Before 1920s very few women were seen in Indian cinema. Male actors then played female characters.
Stunt films made by Wadia Brothers showed strong female characters. Films like The Amazon/Diler Daku’, ‘Toofan Mail’, ‘Hunterwali’, ‘Miss Frontier Mail’, ‘Diamond Queen’ were well noted hits at that time.
In an era starting after mid-1930s, film makers were casting only white females like Fearless Nadia in action roles.
Women were cast not only to show modernisation or nation building but as a powerful marketing device.
Very little of the 1930s and 1940s wave has been captured in any of the recent films or literature.
With Rangoon, Bollywood tries to change that and break away from the usual mould to try something different.