Female roles in Bollywood have come a long way. From the quintessential heroine of the 90’s who just looked good supporting her man to the strong and level-headed women of the 21st century who take a stand for themselves. Clearly, our cinematic norms have taken a distinct shift and we can only applaud this new mindset.

Here are some of the female-centric movies of our industry that portray women as strong and at the same time fallible, but most importantly as human rather than a caricature.


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Queen was the ultimate coming-of-age story of our generation. Rani, a small-time girl gets abandoned at her wedding and although dismal, she ventures on her honeymoon alone across Europe. This opens up her mind to different people and cultures and she returns home feeling independent and capable for the first time  in her life.


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This movie had a strong female lead that was well executed by actress Anushka Sharma. The gripping storyline and the shocking scenes are dealt with finesse by the director. The protagonist (Meera) is a modern day badass woman who has nothing left to lose at the end because of the turn of events in the movie.

Dear Zindagi

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From the talented director Gauri Shinde of English Vinglish fame, this movie is an interesting tale of a 20-something girl and her struggles with anxiety and depression. Its treatment is refreshing and the movie refrains from making it a sob story of a damsel-in-distress.


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This courtroom drama featuring Taapsee Pannu as an everyday city girl is gripping to say the least. The movie highlights the hypocrisy of our society where women are labeled with names for being outgoing and are expected to carry the blame on themselves for assault from men. It explores the topic of ‘victim shaming’ in relation to women who get blamed for cases off eve-teasing, stalking and rape.


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This movie has two strong protagonists in Meera and Zeenat played beautifully by Ayesha Takia and Gul Panag respectively. Their lives coincide and they form an unlikely friendship where they are forced to give up their inhibitions and pre-conceived notions about each other. Both of them rise to the occasion eventually and their lives change for the better.



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