In such a male-dominated industry, where heroine are rarely given a chance to showcase their acting prowess, these few gems managed to shine and carve a niche for themselves. These are the few people who starred in more meaningful and powerful roles to make a difference in the industry, than the usual song routines and mushy love scenes.
Priyanka rose to fame when she won the Miss World pageant of 2000. Her film Fashion was a bold take on the harsh realities that happen in the fashion world and who can forget her roles in Barfi! As Jhilmil and Mary Kom as the strong mother who wouldn’t give up her career. Her recent Bajirao Mastani won her the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. Also with her very own drama series Quantico, she is set to scale new heights.
She may not have starred in heroine-only movies as such, but her roles are nonetheless potent. Her role as a blind skater in Lafangey Parindey was just the start. Then came along movies such as Cocktail, Yeh Jaawani Hai Deewani, Ram-Leela, Bajirao Mastani and Piku for which she won a Filmfare award recently.
This lady stole all our hearts with her portrayal of the bubbly Geet in Jab We Met and her role as a prostitute in the movie Chameli, won critical acclaim even though the film flunked at the box office. Her most powerful and famous role yet is the one as a once successful film actress struggling in Heroine. She wore almost 150 costumes in the movie designed from all over the world.
Kalki is one of those multi-faceted actors. She juggles her roles as an actress, producer, screenwriter and sometimes goes beyond the silver screen and does plays too. Some of her best roles were in movies such as That Girl in Yellow Boots, Margarita with a Straw as a girl with cerebral palsy won her lot of critical acclaim. Her roles in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Yeh Jaawani Hai Deewani can never be forgotten by her fans. She is one of the best role models for the current generation by being vocal about child molestation, feminism, and many other issues.
Vidya broke one of the biggest stereotypes of Bollywood- you have to be stick thin to get any decent role. She showed everyone who’s boss with her movies such as Kahaani, No One Killed Jessica and the all time fan favourite-The Dirty picture. She has won a National Award, five Filmfare awards, several other awards and was also awarded the Padma Shri in 2014 establishing her as a leading actress.
She is one of those actresses who made a significant departure from traditional heroine roles and acted in meaningful roles in movies such as a blind and deaf girl in Black, an unhappily married woman in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, policewomen against human trafficking in Mardaani, Talaash and No One Killed Jessica.
Shabana Azmi has a long list of dominant roles in her pocket that it just couldn’t be listed out here. She became one of the leading actress of Parallel Cinema, a Bengali Association known for it’s serious and relevant content and neo-realism which was very much responsible for her making it big in the industry. She did a lot of controversially prominent roles such as the one in Fire, one of the first mainstream cinema to explicitly show homosexual relations.
Nandita has directed and acted in a handful of films taken in 10 different languages. Her roles in films such as Fire, Azhagi, Kannathil Muthamitaal, Earth and Bawandar makes her an experienced master of this profession. She is among the few to be invited to Cannes Film Festival from India almost every year and has been on the jury twice. She also has won lots of awards in various Film Festivals and the first Indian to be inducted into the International Women’s Forum’s Hall of Fame for her contributions.
Kangana’s acting interests were not appreciated by her family. So she ran away from home and had to face a lot of violence and abuses before she saw her big break after almost ten years in Tanu Weds Manu. Then came along Queen and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. Her lesser known Revolver Rani shows her as an influential politician and has also done intense characters very emotionally in films such as Woh Lamhe, Life In a Metro and Fashion. She is truly a badass when it comes to telling the truth about herself and what she feels about the industry.
Aishwarya Rai is one of the most high-profile and celebrated artists in India. It all began when she won the Miss World in 1994, and there has been no turning back ever since. She is world renowned for her beauty and played several powerful characters in movies like Devdas, Raincoat, Chokher Bali, Jodhaa Akbar and also starred in a Hollywood film named as Pink Panther 2. Her recent movie Jazbaa where she play a defense attorney saw her take a break from her mommy duties and showed she still has more acting left in her.