If we were to go 10 years back in time, many things would be vastly different. And one of those things would be the kind of roles that women were being offered at the time. 

10 years ago we hardly saw what we now call woman-centric movies and shows, and the characters that women were playing were mostly accessories to male protagonists.

But NOW things are finally improving at the pace we all deserve. Here, we’ve compiled a list of characters from recently-released movies that would have been played by men a decade ago but since times are changing for the better, they went to women, and deservingly so.

1. Vidya Vincent – Sherni 

Vidya Vincent (Vidya Balan) was a forest officer in Sherni. And one with excellent leadership skills at that. Can you imagine a woman playing a valiant forest officer who voices her decision to not want children comfortably, 10 years back? I don’t think I can. 

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2. Jaya – Good Luck Jerry

Janhvi Kapoor played Jaya AKA Jerry, an independent young girl working hard to support her family when she is met with a sudden financial obstacle. She then decides to become a drug smuggler to earn better money.  

Jerry holds her own ground while also pursuing (and thriving at) a seemingly male dominated job, which is definitely something we wouldn’t have witnessed a couple of years ago. 

3. Maya Menon – Jalsa 

First of all, Maya Menon (Vidya Balan) was a largely grey character. That’s a rarity in itself.  

Historically, we’ve hardly seen women play characters who have a wonky moral compass. Because we’ve mostly been given women characters who are either evil vamps or constantly-good main leads. And Maya Menon’s existence is like a declaration to the world that women aren’t perfect.

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4. Dr. Gauri Nath – Human

Why we thought of Dr. Gauri Nath (Shefali Shah) while writing this list is because she was a negative character who was also an immensely powerful business person and leader. 

Now we’re not condoning the lack of regard she had for human life. But we are saying that we could’ve never imagined a character like her lead an entire series so strongly, a decade ago.

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5. ACP Catherine Alvarez – A Thursday

Historically, we have witnessed a lack of pregnant women characters who are in significant leadership positions on-screen. ACP Catherine Alvarez (Neha Dhupia) is an exception to that. Because as we all know, society loves to constantly police the way women show up in this world, especially when they’re pregnant. 

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6. Tara – Madam Chief Minister

Richa Chadha as Tara played a thick-skinned politician in Madam Chief Minister. Tell me you don’t already think that’s a role that would’ve gone to a male artist a decade ago?

I mean think about it, in the past, the best and most intriguing political roles have mostly been played by male actors, not women actors. 

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7. Rani Irani – Bombay Begums

The fact that Pooja Bhatt plays Rani Irani, a CEO of a bank, is already an applause-worthy thing. Banking and finance is a massively male-dominated profession, and a role like Rani Irani’s is a breath of fresh air since it serves as a reminder to women, especially young girls, that careers don’t have a gender. Cool right?

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8. Aarya Sareen – Aarya

How many female protagonists have we seen in our films and shows play matriarchal figures who are also owners of major businesses (or criminal gangs, in this case)? Very few. 

Sushmita Sen played Aarya Sareen and gave us a female character who blended motherhood and business leadership in the most impactful way possible. Not to mention, Aarya Sareen is a mafia queen. Which again, we could’ve never imagined seeing a decade ago. 

9. Kasturi Dogra – Aranyak

Kasturi Dogra (Raveena Tandon) is a tough cop, who is determined to solve a case. And she’s the lead of the crime web-series, that has to scream “The future is female.” 

We’re elated to have arrived to this day. Even though TBH, it has been long overdue!