5 Bollywood Films Where Women Shattered Glass Ceilings

Movies are known to reflect society’s stand on issues and portray them through their storylines and plot points. Movies based on women empowerment or stories with strong female characters aren’t new. In fact, strong female characters have been in the works for many years with story arcs becoming more and more relevant. From strong-willed wives to career-oriented working women, our list of movies have them all. So if you are looking for some female-centric films to add to your watch list, look no further and read on:


Kahaani Poster

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Underplayed by the talented Vidya Balan, Kahaani is the story of a wife who comes to the bustling city of Kolkata, in search of her missing husband. Strong-willed, stubborn, and unstoppable, Vidya Balan as Vidya Bagchi, is utterly convincing. The plotline is woven tight and subtly shows the different facets of the lead, embodied perfectly. The lead is the strongest character in the show, with your eyes never leaving her sight. With revealing much, it is hard to explain the depth of the character as portrayed in the movie. The climax of the film is the most mind-blowing sequence of events which is bound to leave you speechless. So if you haven’t yet then this is one female-centric movie that you just shouldn’t miss!

Mother India

Mother India

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Synonymous with women-centric film-making, Mother India is a movie that is surely ahead of its time. Portrayed flawlessly by the beautiful Nargis, Mother India follows the story of a strong-willed woman in a farming village, who is forced to raise her four children and provide for the family after an adverse situation. The leading lady symbolises pain, sacrifice, and most importantly courage, which is what gives this movie the depth and the substance which makes it a must-watch! A rarity in the 50s, a movie rides almost completely on Nargis’s shoulders, which is why this movie is relevant and well-regarded even in today’s times. For the tragic end and for the talent powerhouse that Nargis is, this movie simply can’t be missed!

Nil Battey Sannata

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An off-beat film that is sure to warm you to your core, Nil Battey Sannata is the story of a single mother (Swara Bhasker) who wants her daughter to be well-educated and get out of the financial struggle that she has always had to face. Swara Bhasker emotes and personifies the role of Chanda to an extent where you actually believe her struggle. As a single mother, she works four jobs and refuses to accept a similar financially constrained life for her daughter Apeksha (Ria Shukla). With the supporting cast also being largely female, this film oozes women-centricity at its core. The storyline again is quirky and different and challenges a lot of thoughts on the life of a single mother. If you are going through one of those weird moods where you want to laugh and cry at the same time then, this is the movie for you!



A story of an educated girl, Kumud (Nutan) who stands by her principles no matter how her life changes is the essence of the film – Saraswatichandra. Shot in black and white, this film is aesthetically and visually appealing, while also featuring a popular female actress as the lead character. Although the film is named after the male lead, the plotline majorly concentrates on Kumud’s life story. Despite being set in the 1960s, the movie shows Kumud as being self-reliant and principled, taking stands for herself in every obstacle thrown her way. Kumud can be seen taking charge of her own fate, something that is quite relevant in today’s time, making it an interesting watch for a film from the 60s. The climax is what reveals the true strength of the female lead, making the film quite an empowering one, in its own right.



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A film that is sure to resonate with all working women, Piku is a movie that is unlike any other. The female lead of Piku, played by Deepika Padukone, is seen as a high flying career woman supporting her aged father. The father played by the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, is seen as a difficult and stubborn man who Piku handles alongside her demanding career. A perfect example of the modern day Indian woman, Piku puts her father first at every stage, challenging patriarchy and the roles that are often defined in Indian cinema. The lead not only fulfils her father’s every tantrum but also proves that you don’t have to be a son to be the one in charge of your parents’ old age. The film shot with subtle hues still manages to hold your thoughts without any loud gestures!

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