12 Bollywood Movies Of 2017 That Made It A Good Year For Women & Feminism On Screen

Here’s a list of Bollywood movies of 2017, that define the new age Indian cinema with their bold portrayal of the many sides of a woman.

Here’s a list of Bollywood movies of 2017, that define the new age Indian cinema with their bold portrayal of the many sides of a woman.

2017 has been a year of movies that dare to venture into stories with empowered and empowering women and show female characters with a genuine voice, an unabashed character and a power to influence. The movies you will find in this list of Bollywood movies of 2017 made it here not because of their box office success or awards won but because they chose to deal with themes that need to be discussed and stories that need to be retold.

Not all heroes wear capes and not all heroes are men.

From defeating her enemies to killing her inner demons, from becoming a better person to shaping the world around her – these female protagonists have got it all. Because not all heroes wear capes and not all heroes are men.


The Sridevi-starrer movie puts a light on the unconditional motherly love and what she can do for the sake of her children. The thriller revolved around a mother and her step-daughter and how their world changes when a tragedy befalls.

With its theme of rape and the inexplicable hardships a rape survivor faces, the movie also highlights the shortcomings of Indian society. However, the heart of the story lies in the mother-daughter relationship which undergoes a humongous transformation.

Watch the trailer here.

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16-years old Sanju living in a metro city is forcefully sent to her ancestral home in a remote village in the Himalayas after a compromising video of the teenager is circulated on social media. The film traces the hopes and fears of a teenage girl who later finds solace in the company of her grandmother. Their relationship is the female bond which is at the crux of the movie. It is also the first feature film in Himachali language to be released in theatres nationwide.

Watch the trailer here.

Naam Shabana

In the action-thriller, Taapsee Pannu reprises her role as Shabana from the 2015 Akshay Kumar-starrer movie Baby in this prequel. The movie is all about the intelligence agent Shabana who paves her way by defeating all the bad guys to become a spy. The movie’s power lies in the mental and physical strength of its modern female protagonist.

Watch the trailer here.

Lipstick Under My Burkha

This one was undoubtedly one of the most controversial and most awaited releases of the year. The movie uncovers the secrets, the fantasies and realities of four women living in a small town. With its bold themes and unfiltered female characters, Lipstick Under My Burkha dares to venture into the nuances of female sexuality, desperation for liberty, and the different ways in which each of the women reclaim their identities and desires, create a space for themselves and mark their rebellion against everyone who used them, belittled them and ignored them.

Watch the trailer here.


Noor is your everyday girl-next-door. She is silly, she is imperfect and she is no one but herself. Based on Saba Imtiaz’s novel ‘Karachi, You’re Killing Me!’, the Sonakshi Sinha-starrer Noor is the story of a journalist struggling to make a mark in her career. Noor’s relatability and flawlessness as a character lies in her perceived flaws and her silly misadventures.

Watch the trailer here.

Anarkali of Aarah

The movie stars Swara Bhaskar as a small-town dancer who performs on lewd ‘item’ numbers. The story revolves around her seeking revenge after being harassed by a police officer. What makes this movie unique is the portrayal of the character of this girl instead of her performance on stage. As she takes matters into her own hands, she proves that only she is in-charge of her body and her life.

Watch the movie’s trailer here.


After Queen, Kangana Ranaut is back with a bang as Simran (alias Praful Patel) in Vegas where the good girl goes bad. She is an Indian immigrant in the United States, a divorcee and a housekeeper in a hotel – enough reasons here for her desi family to taunt the life out of her. But Simran tends to retain her bubbly self with her comical daily chores, her decision “not to have sex without protection”, failed bank robberies, and her undying faith in herself.

Watch the trailer here.


Based on a true story, Poorna is a film about Malavath Purna, the 13-year old girl Adivasi girl from Telangana who went on to become the youngest girl in the world to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest. The challenges she faced are manifold as she was a girl and that too a tribal girl. The film traces her incredible journey of defying all odds to make it to the peak, literally, by fighting prejudices and discriminations of gender as well as caste.

Watch the movie’s trailer here.

Begum Jaan

The period drama stars Vidya Balan as a brothel owner on the borders of Punjab and Pakistan in the newly independent and partitioned India. The story is based on the themes of prostitution, plight of sex-workers and female sexuality and soon takes a turn into vengeance and triumph against patriarchy. Vidya Balan as the sour-tongued woman of power and purpose sets the movie apart.

Watch the trailer here.

Jia Aur Jia

Two women sharing the same name and starkly distinctive characters embark on the journey of a lifetime when they travel to Sweden. The film is a must-watch with its focus on women who travel, strengthened with an international cast. It stars two of Bollywood’s most critically acclaimed actresses. It has the picturesque backdrop of Sweden. It shows the realities of modern day friendships and relationships.

Watch the trailer here.

Tumhari Sulu

The jolly housewife Sulochana aka “Sulu” lands herself a job as a Radio Jockey and rediscovers herself in the process. The movie is a must-watch because it chooses to focus on the little joys of life that women find solace in. Needless to say, Vidya Balan as the enthusiastic housewife is a treat to watch.

Watch the trailer here.

Qarib Qarib Singlle

The Irrfan Khan and Parvathy starring movie is a rom-com with the much-needed modern day twists and refreshing characters. The film is about Jaya and Yogi who go through a series of ups and downs on their travels together (though really you need the trailer here to get a better picture). The movie does justice to its lead female character as Jaya is not a woman who needs any rescuing by a man. Her backstory, her character and her preference to resort to online dating reveals her make her oh-so-relatable.

Watch the trailer here.

Header image is a composite from screen grabs of the movie Lipstick Under My Burkha

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