While relatable, intriguing, and most importantly, badass female characters are not an invention of the OTT platform, they’ve certainly become more common now that shows and movies are not under the incessant pressure of Box Office results or TRP ratings. So here’s a look at some of the most badass female characters who truly kicked ass:
1. Aarya: Aarya
In a fictional world of crime, female characters are rarely, if ever, awarded a nuanced personality. But then we had Aarya. She was more than a protective mother or grieving widow. She was a woman who fought the fiercest of battles to come out winning but without compromising on what made her the woman she is. And that kind of balance makes her a woman you look out for.
2. Anuradha Kishore: Tandav
Oh, the joy of watching an ambitious sexagenerian pursue her dreams! Anuradha Kishore is one rare character in the universe of female characters from Hindi shows. She’s cunning, she has ambition, and she is a seasoned politician, whose dreams are not curtailed by age limits.
3. Beth: The Queen’s Gambit
Beth proved that when it comes to being an ace player, it’s the skill and not the gender, that counts. From her game to her love life to her mistakes, she approached it all on her own terms.
4. Marla Grayson: I Care A Lot
I’ll be the first one to admit that Marla Grayson should be no one’s icon. But if this was a world of crooks and conmen, I’m on Marla’s team. After all, the greed, sense of ruthlessness, ambition, and general disregard for humanity that Grayson depicted are not qualities creators associate with female characters, even villains.
5. Bulbbul: Bulbbul
Is using trauma to change a woman’s course of life an outdated trope? Yes. Does that mean it’s not a real reflection of our society? No. And that’s why Bulbbul makes it to the list. Because she is a beautiful representation of the rage that exists in every woman who has suffered at the hands of toxic masculinity and survived.
6. Beena Tripathi: Mirzapur
Beena Tripathi is one sly cookie. She knows that in a world dominated by men with fragile but inflated egos, you need to bide your time and play both, the players and the game. Irrespective of who you support, you can’t help but admire Beena Tripathi’s brand of cunning slyness.
7. Fatima Begum: Gulabo Sitabo
Fatto Begum is a charming, adorable, absolutely brilliant example of why age should never come in the way of chasing our dreams. She does not simply live through life. Rather she challenges it, and all her naysayers, who dare to restrain or hoodwink her. A bonafide star indeed!
7. Fatima: Bombay Begums
Fatima is easily one of the most complex, fictional female characters that Hindi web series have gifted us. At times she is an unwitting supporter of misogyny, at others a victim of toxic patriarchy. But as she works to become more accepting towards her own self, while also learning from her mistakes, she becomes the perfect embodiment of a feminist in progress.
9. Jugnu Chaudhary: Churails
When it comes to writing fictional female characters, creators often try to check off items from a checklist. But Jugnu doesn’t fit a bill, and that’s what makes her so interesting. She is badass with a heart of gold, a failed entrepreneur who never fails to be enterprising, and while her words may hurt you, her actions are always on-point. She is, simply put, a woman on her own path.
10. Jen Harding: Dead to Me
A widow with an anger management problem already challenges the notions of how society, in reel and real life, expects women to behave. But whether it’s battling with alcoholism, unwanted advances, being cheated upon, or even a murder, Jen Harding is not one to back down. She may lean for help, she may make mistakes, but she is also a fighter till the end.
11. Dolly: Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare
In easily one of her finest performances, Konkona Sen Sharma allowed the audience to get to the root of what makes Dolly different – she is not content to play into the roles society has assigned for her. Stealing and infidelity are simply distractions from the curse of living a life that may seem perfect on paper, but that leaves her feeling stifled. And that’s the sad truth for most women, even today.
12. Pushpavalli: Pushpavalli
No one is saying that stalking or burning up factories is correct, or even acceptable. But having a plus-sized protagonist whose struggles don’t revolve her body weight, but rather on her personality and not-so-subtle psychopathic tendencies makes Pushpavalli a far more interesting and layered character than most “female-led” dramas.
13. Maeve: Sex Education
Maeve may appear the picture of a tough, no-fucks-given, hustler, but she is so much more than that. She’s a loyal friend and a concerned sister, who is not shy of owning up to her mistakes, and not scared of putting people in their place. It’s heartening to see her character not be relegated to yet another ‘rebel kid from the wrong side of town’ trope, but rather being fleshed out in a way that most of us related to her journey, even if she is nothing like us.
14. Enola Holmes: Enola Holmes
Enola Holmes is a perfect example of what can happen if all children, irrespective of their gender, are taught to explore areas they are actually interested in, rather than what they’re supposed to be interested in. Enola, herself, is the kind of feminist icon we wish we had growing up – witty, clever, unwilling to compromise on her ideals, but practical and resourceful enough to know how to turn an unfortunate situation around.
15. Tara Khanna: Made in Heaven
Tara is a woman in a man’s world, and so she will not shy away from using unscrupulous means to reach the top (which is not right but understandable), but once she has enough power, she also does not back down from supporting her friends and fellow women. She may not always walk on the side of the angels, but she is no devil, simply a fighter, who effectively trumped the cliched good girl/bad girl trope.
16. Amrita Sabharwal: Thappad*
Amrita is perhaps the closest a fictional character has come to embody the modern, privileged woman in a traditional, patriarchal world. She is not unaware of the flaws in society, but simply blind or indifferent to it. Until she becomes a victim of injustice. Because it’s easy to attack an obvious enemy, but the injustice that creeps up on you is harder but more important to fight.
Now that’s who you call badass!