Indian illustrator's Instagram series celebrates strong female leads in film

The question of gender equality cuts across film industries. An Indian illustrator is celebrating strong female characters in Bollywood and Hollywood films through her ongoing series Queens OnScreen, in the hope that it will lead to greater diversity.

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Mumbai-based illustrator Shivani Gorle was inspired to start the series when she came across a Netflix category called "movies with a strong female lead" and wondered why there was a need for it in the first place. 

"Why can't there just be regular movies with both genders playing equally strong and well-rounded characters?" Gorle told Mashable. "I felt like there was a lot more room for gender equality in the film industry, especially in the 21st century."

Each circular illustration combines a portrait of Gorle's favourite female characters with a dialogue from the film. The 21-year-old chooses the featured characters from the movies she's seen, sometimes watching them again to look for a dialogue that conveyed the essence of the character and why she was powerful. "What's common to all the heroines is their thirst for life, their desire to break through conventions and ability to inspire," Gorle says. 

Queens OnScreen also makes a comment on gender equality and greater diversity in films. "The larger point of this project is to ensure that one day women don't need a separate category on Netflix or any other movie distribution medium to portray convincing characters," Gorls adds, "there'll just be regular movies with equally well-rounded and powerful characters represented by all genders."