From overdramatic mothers to repressive housewives, we have been watching female actors being pushed to the sidelines in movies for the longest time. However, there have been times when our film industry churned out some really excellent movies that showcased powerful female leads.

Today, we have compiled a list of the highest-rated movies on IMDb that featured a strong female lead. Read on.


1. Nil Battey Sannata – 8.2

With a heart-warming storyline and a brilliant star cast, this movie proved that our film industry has some beautiful gems to offer. The movie revolved around a mother’s efforts to educate her child and help her change her future. Needless to mention, this is the highest-rated movie on IMDb with a female lead.


2. Queen – 8.1

The movie made us learn an important lesson that a woman should take a chance and become her own prince charming, rather than waiting for one. Thanks to a number of gorgeous backdrops, great characters and a fresh plotline, this movie made a home in the audience’s hearts, soon after its release.

Box Office Collection

3. Kahaani – 8.1

Never underestimate a woman. And, this is exactly what this movie taught us. With numerous plot twists and suspense, the movie had us all at the edge of our seats. 

Deccan Chronicle

4. Dor – 8

In the world of over-the-top desi masala movies, this movie blew our minds with its simplicity. With a powerful message of never giving up hope, this movie is still a favourite of several people, including us.

Cinema Chaat

5. English Vinglish – 7.8 

Without a doubt, this movie had to be one of the highest-rated movies featuring a powerful female lead. With a strong message of it’s never too late to learn, English Vignlish also focused on the often ignored struggles and feelings of housewives.


6. Arth – 7.8

This movie touched upon several important topics like infidelity, the changing face of relationships and most importantly, a woman’s ability to take charge of her own life. With a bunch of powerhouse performers and a mature storyline, this movie was definitely way ahead of its time.


7. Mother India – 7.8

Needless to mention, this iconic movie was one of the most loved and popular movies of all time. Featuring Nargis as a fierce mother, this movie bagged several accolades.


8. Damini – 7.8

In the times of typical drama movies, where female actors were often typecasted, this movie gave us a female lead who stood her ground, even when the entire world turned against her.


9. Raazi – 7.7

Equally suspenseful and dramatic, this movie proved that courage cannot be defined by gender. With Alia Bhatt’s powerful portrayal of Sehmat, a spy, this movie is of the best patriotic movies to have come out in recent times.


10. Water – 7.7

Even though this movie courted a lot of controversy for showcasing the dark side of a widow’s life in India, it remains one of the finest movies ever churned out by our film industry. The movie talks about several important issues like ostracism and misogyny that still exist in our country.


11. Mirch Masala – 7.7

Regarded as one of Bollywood’s most powerful dramas ever created, the movie revolved around the abuse women go through for their own safety and protection. With a powerful performance delivered by Smita Patil, the movie highlights the importance and need for women empowerment.

Feminism India

12. Piku – 7.6

Revolving around a female protagonist, who is emotionally, financially and sexually independent, Piku was like a breath of fresh air.


13. Highway – 7.6

Let’s be honest, this movie was much more than ‘just a movie’. With talented actors in lead, this movie was nothing short of an art. Apart from its soulful music, it was Alia Bhatt’s performance that made this movie a hit.


14. Neerja – 7.6

The titular character, which became synonymous with bravery, not only broke the shackles of her past but also taught the audience that courage cannot be defined by any specific gender. Based on a real-life incident, Neerja is easily one of Bollywoods’ finest biopics.


15. Bandit Queen – 7.5

Based on the real-life of Phoolan Devi, a bandit who later became a female rights activist, Bandit Queen was one of Bollywood’s finest, yet most gruesome movies ever made. With powerful dialogues and gripping cinematography, this movie is definitely a must-watch for all cinema lovers.

Google Play

16. Bhumika – 7.4

Revolving around an individual’s search for identity and self-fulfilment, this movie was surely a gem. Interestingly, Smita Patil bagged her first National Award for her powerful performance in this movie, at the tender age of 21.


17. Thappad – 7.3

With a strong female lead, who stood up for herself and her self respect, this movie served as the perfect response to patriarchy. Unquestionably, this is one of the best movies to have come out in recent times. 

India TV News

18. Astitva – 7.3

This movie not only touched on the theme of extra-marital affairs but also talked about gender inequality, male chauvinism and self-respect. Without a doubt, Tabu’s brilliant portrayal will keep you glued to your screens.


19. Margarita With A Straw – 7.2

This movie centred on a free-spirited differently-abled young woman, who discovered and embraced her sexuality. Kalki Koechlin, portraying the role of the protagonist, did a fabulous job and pulled off the role flawlessly.


20. No One Killed Jessica – 7.2

Based on the 1999 Jessica Lall murder case, the movie revolved around a bartender who was shot dead by a politician’s son, and her sister, who struggled to find justice for her death. Doubtlessly, Vidya Balan and Rani Mukerji delivered brilliant performances as Sabrina Lall and Meera Gaity, respectively.

NY Times

21. NH10 – 7.1

Marking her debut as a producer with this intriguing thriller, Anushka Sharma, playing the protagonist, kept us all on the edge of our seats with endless twists and turns. 


22. 15 Park Avenue – 7.1

One of the few movies to take on the subject of mental health issues, this masterpiece starred Konkona Sen Sharma as a schizophrenic. The film also included powerhouse performers like Shabana Azmi, Rahul Bose and Waheeda Rehman.


23. Fire – 7.1

This movie, which focused on a lesbian relationship between two sisters-in-law, garnered a lot of critical acclaim across the globe. However, because of its subject matter, the movie wasn’t allowed to release in India. In fact, Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das, the lead actors in this movie, along with director Deepa Mehta, received several death threats for this movie.

Harvard Art Museums

24. Gangubai Kathiawadi – 7

From a gripping storyline to a talented star cast, this movie is arguably one of the most loved films of the year. Introducing the audience to a ruthless sex worker, who crushed patriarchy to pieces, this movie gave us goosebumps with its sharp dialogues.


25. Samay: When Time Strikes – 7

With the perfect concoction of suspense and drama, this movie kept everyone hooked to their screens. Portraying the character of a badass cop, this movie was one of Sushmita Sen’s best movies from the early 2000s.


Please note that all of the mentioned ratings are taken from IMDb.