Five Feminist Bollywood Films That Will Put A Smile On Your Face

feminist films

Movies, in addition to being a source of entertainment are also a powerful tool for educating and influencing the audience. We live in a world that is constantly remodelling itself and movies often act as a medium that both shapes and showcases this change.  There was a time when women characters were often shown to be helpless, in need of a male saviour to rescue them. But over the past few decades, the portrayal of women has shifted, and we have more  progressive women characters in recent times than ever. What’s more, these feminist films not only showcase women in a positive light, but they do so in a way that isn’t heavy on melodrama. Infact there many recent feminist films that’ll uplift your mood, to say the least.

 English Vinglish

This Sridevi starter is a beautiful tale of a housewife who doesn’t know English. She is constantly humiliated by her husband and daughter for the same. Her life takes a turn when she visits New York for a wedding. In New York, she learns English and makes new friends who see her as a strong and independent entrepreneur and respect her, unlike her husband and daughter who take her for granted. This entire journey helps her gain a new kind of confidence.

This film asks us to rethink the way homemakers are treated in a household. Do we applaud them enough for allt hat they do? Is a skill only valuable when it earns you a lot of money? Do we take women in homes for granted? Shashi’s journey will beg you to ask these questions yourself.s

Margarita with A Straw

In this film, Kalki Koechlin play a young woman with cerebral palsy who aspires to be a writer. When she leaves India for New York she goes on a journey of sexual discovery and self-awareness.

This film does a commendable job of normalising disability and showing the viewers how a person’s disability doesn’t define them, and that there is more to them than what we can see physically. It also sheds light on sexuality and queerness in an empowering and liberating way.

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Nil Battey Sannata

This is a film about a single mother, Chanda (played by Swara Bhasker) who is a domestic helper and dreams of a better life for her daughter. Chanda leaves no stone unturned to educate her teenage daughter regardless of her social status. The prime message given by this movie is that parents should stop seeing a child as an investment. They should rather wish for their child’s success out of pure love.

Chanda constantly motivates her daughter to dream bigger and shows her that it’s never too late to work on self-improvement. The mother-daughter duo in this film will not fail to inspire you.


This movie features Kangana Ranaut as Rani, a Delhi girl who is dumped by her fiance a day before their wedding. Heartbroken, Rani feels that all her dreams have been shattered. However, after being motivated by her grandmother, she leaves alone for her honeymoon. On her trip, she makes new friends and learns to be autonomous.

In this cult film, we see Rani evolve from a heartbroken bride who had not dreamt of a life beyond being married to a guy she loved, into a confident young woman who learns to embrace life and make new friends all on her own. The film challenges the definition of happiness for girls, which is often restricted to “settling down”.

Read Also: Movies That You Should Definitely Watch With Your Girl Gang


Neerja is a biopic on the life of flight attendant Neerja Bhanot who saved the life of 359 passengers aboard a hijacked flight, on 5 Sept 1986. Sonam Kapoor plays the role of Neerja, who became the first civilian recipient of the Ashok Chakra. It is the story of a courageous flight attendant who sacrificed her own life, to save that of others.

The best part about the movie is that it proves that ‘courage’ is not a masculine trait. Women are courageous too. Despite being a tear-jerker, the film leaves you beaming with pride at Neerja Bhanot’s legacy and to see virtues of bravery and sacrifice in a new light.

Arunima Sharma is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.