New Delhi (Sputnik) — "From playing Bond and blonde girls, to taking up challenging roles in revolutionary and coming-of-age films, female actors have come a long way since the 20th century. What may have been a sad state-of-affairs for gender equality in the film industry several decades ago, is now slowly adapting to a freer, more diverse and more equal world," says the 21-year-old Mumbai-based freelance illustrator.
'Queens On Screen' comprises 16 circular illustrations of the most popular strong female lead characters of Bollywood as well as Hollywood. Shivani says she has been flooded with pleasant responses, some including requests to sketch strong female characters of films in Indian vernacular languages. "I started making these illustrations last month, with the aim of driving the perception that the heroine is just as bad-ass as the hero. That she doesn't need to talk, dress or behave in a particular way to win hearts. Or not win hearts. Because she can do whatever she wants."
What motivated Shivani to take up the project was her accidentally stumbling upon a category on Netflix which enlisted 'movies with a strong female lead.' She says she found the category very weird and questioned to herself why there just can't be regular movies with both genders playing equally strong and well-rounded characters. "I felt like there was a lot more room for gender equality in the film industry, especially in the 21st century. So I started this series to bring recognition to those wonderful female characters who've whole-heatedly entertained their audience, but also touched their hearts in one way or another," says Shivani.
With her series Queens OnScreen, Shivani hopes to shed some light on the feminism that has firmly taken root in the film industry, and that this 'subliminal impact' may actually mean very good things for the film makers and the watchers.
"Characters like Hermoine from Harry Potter and Shashi from English Vinglish reflect our new experiences as 21st century women in both urban and rural (and magical) settings. I want all sorts of girls, boys, men and women to look at my art and feel that positive change. I want them to appreciate that that the art they consume holds a mirror to real communities and that they can always look up to characters that are relatable, if not harbingers of social reform."
Each of Shivani's illustrations are captioned with the most popular dialogue of the character portrayed by the lead in the respective movies.