Bollywood is considered as one of the most influential things for the Indian youth. In recent years, Bollywood has come up with some extraordinary and highly inspiring female characters. These characters define how every modern-age girl should be in today’s world.
#1. Rani (Kangana Ranaut) in Queen
Rani emerges strong when her fiancé cancels their marriage and despite the heartbreak, she goes on her pre-planned honeymoon all alone where she explores the world and sees life from a completely new perspective, becoming more confident as a person.
#2. Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan) in Kahaani
Instead of breaking down at her husband’s unjustified death in a terrorist attack, Vidya decides to fight back and plans a trap to get her husband’s murderers punished. Symbolically compared with Maa Durga, Vidya destroys the evil just like her!
#3. Geet (Kareena Kapoor) in Jab We Met
Geet listens to her heart and is bold enough to bear the consequences whenever she goes wrong – something not every girl has the courage to do. She lives positively and loves unconditionally.
#4. Naina (Deepika Padukone) in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Naina is sincere, obedient, adventurous and nerdy – everything in one. She understands life and others in a mature way when she tries to come out of the protective-shield of her parents and discover life on her own.
#5. Laila (Katrina Kaif) in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Optimistic, modern, fun-loving and independent – that is Laila! She lives in the present. She loves life as it is, knows it is beautiful and helps others realise it. And she never regrets anything!
#6. Gita (Gayatri Joshi) in Swades: We The People
Gita is a simple, sober and highly educated village-girl, who, leaving behind good career prospects in big cities, chooses to stay in her village and work as an educationist and reformist. She selflessly tries to work towards the betterment of the society in her own little way.
#7. Meghna (Priyanka Chopra) in Fashion
Meghna takes her success as a supermodel to her head. However, when she fails, Meghna bravely accepts her mistakes and fights back to get her success and stability back. And with her strong will-power, she bounces back again.
#8. Mandira (Kajol) in My Name is Khan
Mandira, a Hindu woman, lives with her Muslim husband, Rizwan, and their son in San Fransisco. She has his back, and is his rock when people abandon and ostracise him after the 9/11 attacks even though her son gets killed because of being a Muslim.
#9. Nishigandha (Bipasha Basu) in Corporate
Nishigandha, a top-executive in a giant corporation constantly faces a conflict between her morals and the unethical ways of functioning in the company. In the end, she chooses her morals over her highly paid and reputed job.
#10. Shashi (Sridevi) in English Vinglish
Shashi, a house-wife, is constantly taunted by her family for not knowing English. On her trip to New York, she decides to learn the language and works hard at it, eventually earning her much-deserved respect in her family.
#11. Ayesha (Konkona Sen Sharma) in Wake Up Sid!
Ayesha comes to Mumbai all alone to pursue her dream to become a writer. She is a girl with high self-esteem and a dream of achieving something on her own. She also handles her freedom with high maturity.
#12. Ambar (Preity Zinta) in Salaam Namaste
Ambar courageously runs away from her house when forced into marriage at an early age and decides not to abort her pregnancy when her live-in boyfriend refuses to take responsibility for it. She is always determined to do what she thinks is correct.
#13. Michelle (Rani Mukherjee) in Black
Michelle, a dumb, deaf and blind girl by birth, becomes the only support of her ageing teacher to give him what he gave her – introduction to life and world and freedom from deep frustration.
#14. Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) in Hasee Toh Phasee
Meeta constantly fights against her conventional parents to allow her to become a scientist. However, nobody but her father understands her. So, she runs away to find her way on her own and eventually becomes a successful scientist!
#15. Leela (Deepika Padukone) in Goliyon ki Rasleela Ram-Leela
Bold, edgy, care-free yet loving- that is what Leela is! Leela loves her family, especially her mother, immensely, but is bold enough to stand against her own clan and her terrifying mother when they are wrong.
#16. Meera (Rani Mukherjee) in No One Killed Jessica
Meera, a fierce journalist, strives to get justice for a girl who was brutally murdered in front of numerous people, yet had no one coming forward to support her family to attain justice because of her murderers’ political connections.
#17. Priya (Priety Zinta) in Kya Kehna!
Priya, an innocent teenager, gets pregnant by her flamboyant boyfriend who refuses to take responsibility of the child. However, Priya firmly decides to give birth to her child and marry her childhood friend instead of her now repenting ex-boyfriend.
#18. Priya (Kareena Kapoor) in Aitraaz
Priya stands with her husband as a rock-solid support when his boss accuses him of raping her because he denies establishing a sexual relationship with her. She not only supports him but also fights in court to prove his innocence.
#19. Vijayalakshmi (Lisa Haydon) in Queen
Vijayalakshmi is a modern, free-minded, unconventional and independent single-mother who likes to have fun in life without any regrets. She seems to be a ruthless person but is good at heart!
#20. Sabrina (Vidya Balan) in No One Killed Jessica
An introvert, Sabrina, sheds away all her shyness to fight for justice for her sister, who was brutally murdered, and convinces other people to join her to help get her sister’s killers behind the bars.
#21. Meera (Ayesha Takia) in Dor
An illiterate, conventional Rajasthani woman, Meera is brave enough to forgive her husband’s murderer and run away from the only world she’s known to get her share of freedom as she is ‘sold’ by her father-in-law.
#22. Akira (Anushka Sharma) in Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Akira is a cheerful and easy-going girl who is highly ambitious about her career. She is also bold enough to hold back her emotions and help a man she loves to get his love back!
#23. Veera (Alia Bhatt) in Highway
Veera stands up against the abuse she was subjected to as a child and the society suppressing her from telling the truth. She finally leaves her house as she gets fed up of the so called hypocritical “high-society” she belongs to.
#24. Gayatri (Rani Mukherjee) in Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh from Bombay Talkies
When Gayatri comes to know about her husband’s homosexuality – a reason behind their failed marriage, and that he lied to her about it, she refuses to adjust with the situation and kicks him out of her life and happily lives a free life.
#25. Fiza (Karishma Kapoor) in Fiza
Fiza is courageous enough to kill her brother, who was dragged into terrorism in his innocent years and was made to kill people, to give him a peaceful death as he was just a prey to the situations.
#26. Rhea (Preity Zinta) in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
Rhea encourages her husband to go to the woman he had cheated on her with. She forgives Dev, her husband and moves ahead in her life happily bringing up her son and dating her boss.
#27. Tamanna (Shilpa Shetty) in Phir Milenge
Tamanna, an executive in a top advertising company, stands up against the discrimination against her as she has been detected with HIV-AIDS and fights in court till the end against her unfair dismissal from the job.
#28. Madhavi (Konkona Sen Sharma) in Page 3
As a Page 3 journalist, Madhavi is confronted with the cynicism and artificiality of glamour world. She is happy to get dismissed from the job where, being a journalist, she cannot reveal the reality and truth of people.
#29. Vaidehi (Manisha Koirala) in Lajja
Vaidehi, who takes a stand against her abusive and unfaithful husband, is rejected both by her husband and her parents. However, she firmly decides to run away from her house and decides to raise the child she is pregnant with single-handedly.
#30. Veronica (Deepika Padukone) in Cocktail
Veronica enjoys passing affairs more than commitments as she doesn’t believe them. She seems to be a selfish and careless girl. Yet she sacrifices her love for a friend who teaches her the importance of love and relationships in life.
#31. Vidya (Vidya Malvade) in Chak De! India
Vidya is a dedicated hockey player who refuses to go back home leaving the world cup tournament, as her in-laws don’t want their bahu to play anymore after having all the perks of her being a national-level player!
#32. Preeti (Sagarika Ghatge) in Chak De! India
A proud national-level hockey-player, Preeti doesn’t think twice before calling off her relationship with her cricketer fiancé who does not believe in her dreams and doesn’t respect her profession, frequently demeaning it.
#33. Komal (Chitrashi Rawat) in Chak De! India
Komal, a Haryanvi girl who struggles with her family to let her play at the national level is confident and talented enough to make a place for herself in world hockey and is sensitive enough to sacrifice her share of glory to save a team-mates’ self-esteem.
#34. Chameli (Kareena Kapoor) in Chameli
Chameli, a prostitute, is a tough, street-smart and emotionally sound woman. She is an optimistic girl who believes in spreading happiness in the world that has only been rude to her and that is her philosophy of life!
#35. Naina (Kajol) in Dushman
A shy but distraught Naina vows avenge her sister’s brutal rape and murder and gets physically and mentally trained for it. She shoots her sister’s murderer, also a serial-killer, dead gathering all her courage.
#36. Bindu (Smita Patil) in Manthan
Bindu is a young, feisty woman who fights against the local authorities of her village for the establishment of a proposed local milk co-operative as she sees a bright future for the village in it where the main business of the people is cattle-rearing.
#37. Ananya (Alia Bhatt) in 2 States
Ananya is an obedient daughter, a sincere student, a dedicated employee and an intense lover. In her cross-cultural romance, she firmly chooses not to marry her boyfriend without both families’ concern, which shows how high she values family and relationships in her life.
None of the forenamed characters is perfect – no one is! But all of them have some uniqueness, some inspiration and something to learn from. Every modern-girl in India should try to learn something from their positive traits and add that unique spark to her personality!
With edits by Aswathy Gopinath.