When it comes to well written female characters, Bollywood is unfortunately slightly behind on the need-of-the-hour task. Especially in mainstream cinema. Yet years back, in a rare case, we met Nina Verma in Cheeni Kum. The role was played by Tabu and she, as usual, did an above par job as Nina.
Cheeni Kum came out in 2007 and revolved around Nina Verma and Buddhadev Gupta (played by Amitabh Bachchan). Two people who meet by chance and develop feelings for one another despite having widely different personalities.
Yes, it may look like a classic rom-com of opposites attract, but it was so much more than that. And one thing that cannot be forgotten about the film is Nina. As the film introduces her, the audience sees a soft, timid and maybe even slightly ‘plain,’ woman.
But it doesn’t take too long for her persona to unfold fully. And for us to see just how wholesome she is as a person.
Nina was a straightforward, confident and inherently relaxed person. She never shied away from speaking her mind, taking up space or extending her cup of love when the moment arrived.
I mean, remember when she came back to Buddhadev’s restaurant to give him the Zafrani Pulao that she cooked herself at home. Clearly, Nina wasn’t afraid to offer correction to a recipe, even if that meant correcting a well established chef who was running a stellar Indian restaurant, miles away.
And she certainly wasn’t in two minds about shutting down a man who tried telling her that women can’t possibly have egos.
Because that’s exactly what she does in this scene when Buddhadev asks her if she has some sort of a grievance that she’s dealing with. But one other thing that really stood out to me in this moment, was how Buddhadev kept trying to force a narrative on Nina, yet she remained cool, calm, collected, and well rooted in her confidence, in her truth.
So, not only was she a strong minded woman who knew herself to the bone, she was an equally compassionate and loving person who understood the art of banter and humour.
Not to mention just how okay she was about not having a life partner in her thirties. Nina didn’t care about the status quo, she was willing to wait for the right person, in fact she was willing to do more than that. Nina was willing to wait for someone who she could truly respect and enjoy her life with!
In a sea full of female characters who are forced to choose whether they’re the ‘strong independent,’ type or ‘wifey material,’ Nina was both, and more! She was multifaceted. She led her life the way she pleased and loved without inhibition and with quiet fortitude.
We need more female characters like Nina Verma, please!