Women who deserve to be on celluloid

A list of women who have led extraordinary lives whose life stories would make great cinema

Ria Das
New Update
Film clap

Filmmakers have always been inspired by stories of powerful women. So whether it was the gun wielding Seema Biswas in Bandit Queen, or the strong willed Karishma Kapoor in Zubeidaa, the punch throwing Priyanka Chopra in Mary Kom or the recent confidence personified Sonam Kapoor in Neerja, all these films garnered a huge amount of praise, not only by audiences but also by critics. And as Kangana Ranaut gets ready to take up the challenge of essaying the role of Rani Laxmibai in the biopic, we put together a list of women whose life stories would make engaging cinema. These stories definitely deserve to be on celluloid.


Sarla Thakral: The woman who took to the skies Sarla Thakral: India's first female pilot ( Picture Credit: tumblr)

Sarla Thakral. She created history by becoming  the first Indian woman to fly an aircraft and receive an aviation pilot license at the age of 21. She achieved this feat in a Gypsy Moth, no less! Sarla is also the first woman to obtain an 'A' license for flying 1000 hours.

Savitribai Phule: Founder of India’s first girls’ school and the first woman teacher of India (Pic By Savitribai Phule: Founder of India’s first girls’ school and the first woman teacher of India (Picture credit:

Savitribai Phule. She established India’s first girls’ school and became the first woman teacher of our country. She was married to one of the first known male feminists in history –Jyotiba Phule, with whom Savitribai championed the cause of women's rights in British ruled India.

Might interest you: Must read: Inspiring autobiographies of some remarkable women

Sindhutai Sapkalhas: A tale worth telling Sindhutai Sapkal: Mother of Orphans (Picture Credit: By



Sindhutai Sapkalhas.  Also known as the ‘Mother of Orphans’, Sindhutai spent her entire life as a social activist particularly devoted to work for raising 1050 orphan children. With 207 son-in-laws, 36 daughter-in-laws and over 1000 grandchildren, she is our real life hero.

Captain Lakshmi Sahgal: A fighter Captain Lakshmi Sahgal: The revolutionary soldier. (Picture Credit:


Lakshmi Sahgal. ‘Captain Lakshami’ was a revolutionary soldier of the Indian independence movement. A doctor, an officer of the Indian National Army, the Minister of Women's Affairs in the Azad Hind government, a politician, a social activist, a prisoner of war and one of the founding mothers of ‘All India Democratic Women’s Association’ –she did it all!  One name, many  identities.

Shakuntala Devi Shakuntala Devi: The mental calculator (Picture Credit: nytimes)


Shakuntala Devi. ‘Mental Calculator’, ‘Human Computer’, these were some of the tags given to her. She was an Indian child prodigy and writer whose talent earned her a place in the 1982 edition of the Guinness Book for being able to do lengthy mental calculations. Mental Devi wrote a number of books, including novels as well as texts about mathematics, puzzles, and astrology and also a pioneering book on homosexuality in India.

Also read: Why Maya Angelou inspires us all

Matangini Hazra the freedom fighter Matangini Hazra: A revolutionary hero fought in the Indian independence movement (Picture Credit: Wikipedia)

Matangini Hazra. At the age of 73, Matangini became a revolutionary who fought in the Indian independence movement until she was shot dead by the British Indian police. She was affectively referred as ‘Gandhi Buri’ and legend has it that she kept chanting Vande Mataram even as bullets pierced her chest. Inspiring bravery, this!

Irom Chanu Sharmila: Iron Lady of Manipur Irom Chanu Sharmila: Iron Lady of Manipur (Picture Credit: mymoneybazar)



Irom Chanu Sharmila.  Popularly known as the ‘Iron Lady of Manipur’, this spirited woman has been in the news for her fight for civil rights. She has been on a 15 years ongoing hunger strike against the killing of innocent civilians in Manipur by terrorists and government-sponsored violence between 2005 and 2015, during which more than 5,500 people died.

The list is impressive. About time someone attempted these stories!






shakuntala devi Savitribai Phule indian cinema #iromsharmila Sarla Thakral lakshmi sahgal Matangini Hazra Sindhutai Sapkalhas