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From Nayanthara to Samantha, the empowering ‘Sheroes’ of the South Indian film industry

Let’s have a look at some of the female actors of South India who have broken the stereotype by ruling over the movies with their characters and path-breaking performances

Samayeshwari Vithaspa
Aug 25, 2021
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Sheroes of the South Indian Film Industry

The Indian film industry is gradually opening avenues for female lead actors to lead the narrative in their movies. There are several female-centric movies with a mass appealing subject that have grossed well at the box office which were earlier expected only when male actors lead the film. Movies like Imaikka Nodigal and Naachiyar have the sheroes of the film industry providing power-packed performances. The south Indian film industry is evolving over the years where the female leads are not the damsels in distress anymore but fighters and saviours.

Here are some of the female lead actors who have broken stereotypes by taking over the male-dominated film industry with their movies.

1) Nayanthara

Dubbed as the Lady Superstar of the Kollywood film industry, Nayanthara has developed an image for herself over the years, where her choice of roles does not involve playing the damsel in distress, nor a source for the male leads to romance with. She has come a long way in the film industry from playing the heroine to playing the ‘shero’. Her fresh choice of movies that involve horror, suspense thriller and parallel cinema has broadened her scope of acting in the industry. She has paved the way for aspiring actresses by inculcating confidence among them to be strong and stand up for themselves. She went from playing the haunted spirit of a mother to a woman who rises up like a phoenix from the ashes to fearless IAS officer to the dashing CBI officer in movies like Maya, Pudhiya Niyamam, Aramm, Imaikka Nodigal, and the recently released Netrikann.

2) Jyothika

Returning with a bang from a break from the industry has given her a fresh perspective. Jyothika is one of the powerful actors of the south Indian film industry of all time and with a comeback with a female-centric film, she has broken the stereotype of people thinking that female artists’ comeback would be in ‘typical mothers roles’. Her comeback film 36 Vayadhinile set an example for even more intriguing subjects for movies like Naachiyar, Kaatrin Mozhi, Magalir Mattum and Raatchasi. It should also be noted that she had delivered equally power-packed performances in her 00’s with movies like Snehithiye and Three Roses. She inspires women by conveying through her movies that there is no end to achievements for women in life and they too can accomplish anything if they can put their minds into it.

3) Anushka Shetty

She is an artist who can simply be no arm candy for the heroes in movies but a powerhouse of talent and energy. Her choice of movies ranging from period drama to horror to thriller has left her fans wanting for more. Anushka’s tremendous scope of acting expands in movies like Arundhati, Rudhramadevi, Baahubali, Size Zero, Bhaagamathie and Nishabdham. The dedication she puts in every movie, like with sword fighting and heavy training for Baahubali and working on her weight for Size Zero, proves that she can go to any length to put up a mind-blowing performance on screen.

4) Keerthy Suresh

The actor has established herself in the industry as someone who is not afraid of any challenge with powerful roles like the charismatic late actor Savithri in Mahanati. Keerthy Suresh has also showcased her mind-blowing performances in movies like Penguin and Miss India. She continues to widen her horizons in acting by taking up challenging roles like the upcoming ’80s themed Tamil period drama Saani Kaayidham. She inspires women to face any challenge with courage especially in the film industry that is male-dominated and very competitive.

5) Parvathy Thiruvothu

Versatile artist Parvathy Thiruvothu too breaks the barriers and goes for subjects that are powerful and impactful. Her performance as an acid attack survivor in Uyare is still etched into our minds. Her debut movie in Tamil, Poo, is another movie that leaves us in awe with her performance as a young village girl, and the physical transformation she undergoes for the role makes it really difficult for us to believe that it is her on screen. Even in movies that are essentially not women-centric, she has proved herself playing meatier roles like in Charlie, Qarib Qarib Singlle, and Take Off.

6) Samantha Akkineni

She is another epitome of a female performer who has established a name for herself and carved out her own image in the film industry. Her recent roles in movies like Oh Baby and the recently acclaimed TV series Family Man 2 prove the extent of her scope of acting. She also won the Best Actor in a series award at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne for Family Man 2 in which she plays the role of a terrorist. She will now be seen in a new avatar in her upcoming movie Shaakunthalam where she will be seen playing the titular role of a princess. She played the roles of a quirky grandmother, an intense-terrifying soldier and now a royal princess.

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