Other Regional Variations.

There are a whole host of other film studios which cover the ISC. Most of these specialize in regional language films such as the Tamil films, the Kannada films, Malayam films, Bangadesh etc. It would be fair to say that in terms of female action roles they lag far behind their equivalent films in India and Pakistan. This may be changing very gradually with certain actresses willing to risk the occasional foray away from the accepted norm of being eye candy or the love interest to the hero. Nawan Tara certainly looked the role of gun toting cop in a recent Telugu release but whether this will prove a break through for films of a similar nature are far from certain. Even so, whilst one or two policewomen films have broken the mold the chances of a gun toting vamp turning up in these regional films is still very small and even then she will be absolutely subservient to the chief villain. The publicity stills for the film Bank tend to support this supposition.

The spy flick is still a popular genre. In the Kannada film Farishtey (1991) the bad girl is a typical vamp who gets the best and skimpiest costumes, the extravagant make up and the sexier dancing. She remains loyal to her master's plans, even to the point of killing herself to demonstrate her remorse at being outwitted by the heroes. It is a common theme particularly in regional cinema that the vamp is more overtly sexual than the good girl. Farishtey is a good example of the excess demanded if a vamp is to be depicted particularly if the character is destined to stay loyal the film's villain.

farishtey.jpg (56954 bytes)

Popular actresses in regional language films tend to have a long shelf life whilst starlets come and go regularly. Although many of them move to Bombay for wider success and recognition some stay with the film studios they are most familiar with. Malashri began her career in the early 1990's and was a romantic lead. Over the years and let me put this kindly, she "put on" a bit of weight. One of the good things about ISC cinema is that a bit of padding does not preclude you from success. However the romantic leads were unsustainable and Malashri moved into the action genre. Surprisingly this leather clad Frank Canon of Kannada film had continuing success with these roles. Although hard to find and even harder to understand films such as Final Justice (western title) do have a morbid appeal as Malashri literally pushes her weight around. Another regional actress who punched above her considerable weight was Bangladeshi actress Radhika.

malaraheeset.jpg (49520 bytes)

Another regional variety is the Malayalam film. One of the more prevalent actresses from the region is Tabu who often appears in mainstream Bollywood movies. One of her Malayalam films was Rakkilipattu. In it a policewoman (Tabu) kills a man, frames the murder on two college girls and then relentlessly pursues them when they escape custody. The film could equally have been filed under the "Police Tales" article but the film has a definite regional feel about it despite its high quality production values. The story is uncommonly complex for what on the face of it is a "young person/frame and chase" film. Like many ISC films the assumption of police brutality and corruption seems accepted as a tenet of the story. Tabu and the whole cast give a good performance in a film which I suspect is not typical of Malayalam output.

Any regional film is hard to track down (in particular with English sub-titles). However the norm for any regional film is a policewoman of some kind. This is certainly the case of the actress Vijayshanti who is a popular and unique action heroine in the Telugu film industry and made a spate of action films during the 1990's. Often portraying a policewoman seeking justice or revenge, she is one of the bigger box office draws and higher paid actors in the industry. Some of these titles indicate their action roots - Rowdy Inspector, Streetfighter, Superlady and Police Lock-up. Here are some quick video captures I found on-line of her in action -  one, two (Chow Yun Fat anyone?)