Debutant director Soumik Sen says his upcoming women-centric film "Gulaab Gang" is set in a matriarchal society.
The filmmaker said the Madhuri Dixit-starrer "Gulaab Gang" is a story where both the protagonist and antagonist are women, while men are only playing supporting roles.
"You can say that it is a matriarchal society. I wanted to reverse the trend where men are either hero or villain, or both. It is sort of a Utopian idea in Bollywood where women are the hero as well as the villain," Soumik told PTI.
Once the "Dhak Dhak" girl of Hindi cinema, Madhuri plays a firebrand leader in "Gulaab Gang" while Juhi Chawla, who plays a power-hungry politician, is cast in a negative role.
The scriptwriter-turned-director said women had long been relegated to side roles in Bollywood like that of mothers, sisters and daughters, but in this film men are doing those jobs.
"The story, however, remains about the classical conflict between good and evil. The film is full of action scenes and 'naach-gaana' like any other commercial film. I have tried to make it a believable world where women are at the centre of everything happening," the Kolkata boy said.
Releasing March 7, a day prior to the International Women's Day, Gulaab Gang talks about women empowerment.
Set somewhere in the Hindi heartland, Rajjo, played by Madhuri leads an ashram where women armed with axes and sickles and dressed in pink saris fight for their rights while making hand-ground spices, hand-woven baskets and hand-woven sarees.
Sen came up with idea of the film four years ago when producers countered him with questions like, "You are doing an action film with girls. How will it work? "But Madhuri came on board and then everything changed.
The next challenge was to find actresses who will do action sequences without a body double. I put the condition and many refused," the director said.
Even the 46-year-old Madhuri surprised everyone by doing dare-devil fighting sequences.
"She had prior experience of learning Taekwondo. We did combat skills training with her and other actresses. When Salman Khan can do it why can't women do it," he said.
On the naming of the film "Gulaab Gang" he said it has nothing to do with Sampat Pal's famous pink saree clad 'Gulabi Gang' in Uttar Pradesh's Bundelkhand.
"American rock band Aerosmith has a famous song 'Pink, it's like red but not quite'. The name takes inspiration from there. Pink is soft but it can also be fierce and angry. This is what I want to convey from the title," Sen said.