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OTT Boom: How representation of female friendship and bonds changing?

Whether it is Hush Hush or Four More Shots Please, celebrating female friendship has become popular content on OTT. In conversation with Swara Bhasker, Sayani Gupta, and Maanvi Gagroo on today’s cinema challenging the conventional gaze of female friendship.

There was a time women in cinema were considered to be each other’s rivals. But not anymore, women are more secure now and have a close bond when they try to pull each other up in times of distress. And that’s exactly what cinema today is trying to show through its recently released web shows on OTT like Hush Hush, Four More Shots Please Season 3, and the theatrically released Swara Bhasker starer film Jahaan Chaar Yaar.

It is a treat to the eyes, ears, and most importantly to the soul to see cinema changing and challenging the traditional gaze of women’s friendship. Remember Farhan Akhtar’s directorial debut Dil Chahta Hai showed friendship among male friends and raised the bar of commercial Hindi cinema. Like all other young school and college-going girls, we too aspired to have fun with our girlfriends, go on an all-trip, and most importantly be there for each other.

Actor Sayani Gupta who was recently seen in Four More Shots Please Season 3 says, “I am very lucky in my life to have amazing girlfriends in life who stand by me and they are my support system. We are also excited about each other’s success and I think the best gift that I have got is these amazing groups of friends who come together and are with me all the time whether it’s my birthday or a day when I am feeling low.”

The main foundation when it comes to women’s friendship is one propping each other up, constantly being able to listen.  Sayani Gupta adds, “If you see most of our partners are not great listens and it is not necessary that you have all the solutions in the world. But it is always my girlfriends who have been with me through thick and thin.”

Maanvi Gagroo who was one of the protagonists of Four More Shots Please says that it is primarily the shared experience of women that kind of brings them together. “No matter how the friends come together if there is a thread that binds you. And that’s what makes the friendship strong.”

In Amazon Prime’s Juhi Chawla starrer Hush Hush, we saw four friends standing by each other. With OTT coming in and with more women writing scripts the narrative for women characters and the depiction of women bonding are changing for good and this is the primary reason the way we look at woman’s roles has changed too. OTT has given us freedom and at the larger social level the changes that happened contributed to bigger changes in cinema.

In Swara Bhaskerstarer Jahaan Chaar Yaar we get to see for the first time four married women from a small town going on a road trip. Though Jahaan Chaar Yaar was a theatrical release Swara says, “It took nearly ninety years for women playing the protagonist and this could happen only with OTT coming in.”

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