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17 Indian Films From The Last Decade That Focused On Women

These films re-imagined male-centric narratives, and told stories of women in India.
Team Belongg
January 31, 2020

By Geetika Gundhi:

Be it this decade or this century, Indian films without contributions of a woman is paradoxical. Yet, if we try to ration the total films made with respect to female-led films, or just films which barely pass the Bechdel Test*; one can conclude that there is a dearth of ‘her-story’.

This list is an attempt to catalogue films that shouted womanhood and showcased the themes that surround their lives and how they overcome challenges. 

  1. Raazi (2018) by Meghna Gulzar: Based on the book Calling Sehmat, this Alia Bhatt film  showcased the sacrifices a spy makes for their nation.
  2. Highway (2014) by Imtiaz Ali: This film revolved around Stockholm Syndrome but what made the film special is was Veera’s (Alia Bhatt) resilience and  integrity. 
  3. Queen (2013) by Vikas Bahl: Kangana Ranaut as Rani  took us along on a rediscovery of not just Europe but of herself. 
  4. Piku (2015) by Shoojit Sircar: Deepika Padukone plays a strong, independent and doting daughter to Amitabh Bachchan. The movie smoothly manages to smash several norms of patriarchy.
  5. Angry Indian Goddesses (2015) by Pan Nalin: The film displayed collective and individual experiences of seven women. It brought light to important topics like eve teasing, sexuality, patriarchy, divorce, parenting, and crime against women.
  6. Mahanati (2018) by Nag Ashwin: A biopic on the legendary Telugu superstar Savitri, Mahanati (starring Keerthy Suresh, Dulquer Salmaan, Samantha Akkineni and Vijay Devarakonda) is one of the finest films of 2019 depicting the late superstar’s journey in a male-dominated world.
  7. Neerja (2016) by Ram Madhvani: Sonam Kapoor played the role of the real-life hero Neerja Banhot, who represented strength, valour and epitomised the saying ‘service before self’.  
  8. Dangal (2016) by Nitesh Tiwari: This Aamir Khan Production was inspired by the story of Geeta and Babita Phogat who fulfil their father’s dream.
  9. Take Off (2017) by Mahesh Narayanan: This Malayalam film starring Parvathy Thiruvothu, Kunchacko Boban and Fahadh Faasil is a drama thriller that showcases the ordeal of Indian nurses being brought back from a troubled area in Iraq.
  10. Kahaani (2012) and Badla (2019) by Sujoy Ghosh: Both films have women playing grey characters which is quite refreshing, contrasting their usual representation .  
  11. U Turn (2018) by Pawan Kumar: A 2016 Kannada mystery thriller starring Shraddha Srinath.
  12. Oh! Baby (2019) by B. V. Nandini Reddy: Samantha Akkineni plays the role of an old woman stuck in a younger woman’s body who goes back to explore the freedom of her lost youth in this Telugu film.

  13. No One Killed Jessica (2011) by Raj Kumar Gupta and Pink (2016) by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury: Both films had big names like Vidya Balan, Rani Mukerji, Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan. Both tied to rape, privilege and corruption. 
  14. Saand Ki Aankh (2019) by Tushar Hirandani: Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pendekar portrayed Chandro and Prakashi Tomar; women who decided to learn and play archery competitively in their 60’s in order to motivate their daughters to become independent. 
  15. Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017) by Alankrita Shrivastava:  Actors like Ratna Pathak Shah and Konkana Sen showed how women are expected to conform to norms, be obedient. Any deviation makes them answerable to the society. 

*Bechdel Test- Film consisting of at least two female actors playing substantial roles and not discussing the male counterparts.