Deepika Padukone, one of the most popular and important actresses in Indian cinema, has portrayed strong, independent, and powerful female roles time and time again throughout her career. Her casting decisions not only entertained the audience but also sparked a meaningful discussion on gender equality, cultural norms, and challenges faced by women. This time around, we celebrate Deepika Padukone’s exceptional work glory by highlighting her top 10 female-centric films that have had the biggest impact on Bollywood’s perception of Indian cinema and women.
1. Om Shanti Om
When “Om Shanti Om” was released in 2007, Deepika Padukone starred alongside Shah Rukh Khan, and it became a huge hit. The story is about Shah Rukh Khan’s character, spanning three decades from 1977 to 2007. He is an underprivileged young man from Mumbai who wants to become a famous Bollywood actor and finally chooses to find Deepika Padukone, a famous actress during that period. Deepika’s character, “Shanti” was fiercely loved by him and when she finds out about it, their lives change forever. Shedding light on the little-known side of subjugated women in these areas, the film became one of the highest grossing Hindi films of all time.
2. Chennai Express
When Deepika Padukone played “Meenamma” in Chennai Express, she made a dramatic departure from her former characters. Though mostly a romantic comedy, the film gently challenges preconceived notions and celebrates love across cultural divides. Deepika’s Meenamma is a charming and energetic character who exemplifies how women can be strong and self-reliant while still being a part of a beautiful love story.
This film is directed by Deepika Padukone, who also played the lead role in Chhappak. Based on the true story of a woman who was a victim of an acid attack, the film tells her side of what she has experienced. A man twice the female main character’s age threw acid on her and severely damaged her face in retaliation to her refusal to share a sexual relationship with him. Deepika Padukone’s role as an acid attack survivor, Lakshmi Agarwal in “Chhappak” turned out to be a turning point in her career. This powerful film was not only about endurance but also a call to action against acid attacks and domestic violence against women. Deepika’s commitment to her role as an actress and filmmaker reflects her dedication to raising awareness about important social concerns.
4. Bajirao Mastani
The warrior queen Mastani, played by Deepika Padukone, appears in the historical drama “Bajirao Mastani”. She portrayed a strong queen in the movie who defied the expectations of society and stood for bravery, tenacity, and strength. Breaking the cliches of women in historical fiction and promoting the idea that women may be great leaders, the film was a significant stride. The film’s highlights are Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone as Bajirao’s (Ranveer Singh) wives. Bajirao Mastani was praised by critics as one of the contemporary masterpieces of Indian cinema in addition to doing well at the box office upon its debut. Outstanding in scope, intricacy, and cinematography, it is evident why this movie was a hit.
In the movie “Padmavat”, Deepika Padukone played the well-known character of Rani Padmavati, a historical heroine known for her great courage and selflessness. Apart from Deepika’s glorification of India’s rich cultural heritage, it showcased the importance of courage in the face of challenges. Throughout the film, Deepika’s commitment to playing a strong role and empowering women was evident.
6. Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela
Ram-Leela is largely based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, with a few special twists. In a fictional Gujarati village, two communities are at war with each other. When the son of a rival family crosses the imaginary line marked in the middle, the daughter of the opposing house takes an interest in him. In this 2013 contemporary “Romeo and Juliet” starring Deepika, Leela is a strong-willed independent woman who fights against social norms and her family’s caste wars, which are forcefully and firmly strengthened.
Deepika Padukone plays the role of Piku in Shoojit Sircar’s directorial “Piku” which is based on the 1960 film by Satyajit Ray. Piku is a twenty-something architect who lives with her ailing biological father. Piku faces many challenges in her daily life. “Piku” was a game-changer, with Deepika portraying a working woman who balances her professional life with her caring responsibilities. The film provides a poignant look at the challenges faced by caregivers, especially women, and emphasizes the importance of understanding and empathy.
The way Deepika portrayed the star in “Tamasha” completely dispelled all her preconceptions about relationships and love. The film explored the complexities of identity and personal development, promoting emotional independence and self-discovery.
9. Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani
In the first half of the last decade, India’s youth were touched by this 2013 film. Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone play a young couple who meet while climbing the Himalayan mountains. Eight years after their first separation, the main characters are reunited at a friend’s wedding, giving them another chance to get to know each other. The ability to hold and manage your emotions is also showcased in the film in Deepika’s role as “Naina”. It shows how one can prioritize what is truly important and learn to let go of things that will eventually become a burden.
“Cocktail” is one of the more iconic movies of the youth era. It was one of the most-watched Bollywood films of 2012 when it first came out. A timid woman moves in with her spouse in a foreign city. When things go wrong, “Veronica” played by Deepika Padukone, takes the girl under her wing and teaches her how to come out of her shell and grow in ways she never imagined. The film is a model and standard for female friendship helping each other through difficult times.
Throughout her career, Deepika Padukone has shown a willingness to take on strong roles that inspire and empower women. Apart from showcasing her acting prowess, her top ten films have also highlighted her commitment to women’s rights, gender equality, and other important social causes. Deepika, one of the best actresses in Bollywood, remains a strong woman with a strong voice for women on and off screen. Her experience is a testament to the power of movies to impact the world for the better.