10 Bollywood Films That Subverted The Stereotypical Roles Associated With Women

Updated on 19 Jan, 2018 at 5:08 pm


The position of women, since times immemorial, in India has been precarious enough. And, since television only projects the society mostly, it is needless to say that Bollywood too has been quite engaged in showcasing women as a mere sex object or someone who’s doomed to be a gentle wife at the end of the day. However, to say that all the films of Bollywood were engaged in such would be absolutely wrong! To this extent, we’ve picked out some films which have played on with the stereotypical roles associated with women and successfully portrayed the “new” woman to the society—

10. Damini

This film essays the story of a simple woman married to a loving husband, into a rich household. However, the film takes on a whole new turn when this woman witnesses the rape of a housemaid by some reputed who’s who of the family. The way she fights her whole peers and clans without giving in to any kind of pressure is really praiseworthy in this Rajkumar Santoshi film.


9. Mirch Masala

Women might be physically weaker than men, but to take this opportunity to demean women physically as well as sexually is perhaps one of the biggest atrocities ever. And, this film is a reflection of female power at its best. Do watch it, if you still haven’t.

Mirch Masala

8. Arth

A story of a woman for her own identity, away from the identity of her famous but estranged husband and all the glitter of the film society, is what Arth is all about. This, along with the superb performances by the leading ladies, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil makes the film a great watch!


7. Dor

Now this film is a bit special for it takes us on a whirling journey from the mountains of Kashmir to the desert of Thar to let us meet two distinct rural women linked by a tragedy. An interesting watch indeed it is!


6. Pinjar

Whenever partition is discussed, one merely engages in talking about the riots, how the families had to cross the borders and such other stuff. But this film takes us on a different journey as we get to watch a woman who’s abducted and forced into marriage with a man from different religion, in a whole new different country!



5. Astitva

Astitva in English means identity—and this film too presents the search of a lonely woman for a new identity, 2 years after marriage. Is infidelity a crime only when the woman’s involved in it, and becomes nothing when it’s the man committing the same?—the film answers this too!


4. Paar

Directed by Gautam Ghose, this film subverts not just one but many stereotypes, and sees the laborers rising up against and posing to be a threat, along with this wife, to the village supremo, the landlord.


3. Ankur

Like in many countries, India too is bounded by the “tradition” that the place of a woman is in the kitchen and with her husband; and, in no way is she allowed to do what she wants. The film is a commentary on this, and much more!


2. Aastha: In the Prison of spring

The film is a classic by the maverick director, Basu Bhattacharya and it subverts all the stereotypical divinity that is attached to women. The film was a great success and one of the first films that nicely juxtaposed both critical as well as commercial success.

Aastha: In the Prison of spring

1. Aandhi

There is hardly anyone in India who isn’t aware or hasn’t seen this great masterpiece by Gulzar. It essays the life of a woman who had to leave her husband and daughter for her career. But does this mean that there won’t be any love? Watch this beautiful film to find out the answer!