BizAsia’s Top 5 Female Performances of 2017


2017 was an important year for the female movement with numerous marches, hashtags and focus on women empowerment. Bollywood is never one to stay behind and the audiences saw many female focussed films this year ranging from the entertainers to the hard-hitting. Whilst many did not become the runaway successes expected, Bollywood’s leading ladies once again showed their mettle in marching side by side with their male counterparts in performances and acting skills.

Read on below for ’s 2017 top five female performances in no order.

Sridevi – ‘Mom’
Whilst never a stranger to author backed roles, Sridevi received accolades for her portrayal as the revengeful mother serving justice to her step-daughter’s abusers. Lighting the screen up with her fierce yet understated portrayal of a mother in pain, the actress carried the film firmly on her talented shoulders. Away from her glamourous look, audiences welcomed one of the industry’s most loved actresses with open arms and plaudits for her performance.

Vidya Balan  – ‘Tumhari Sulu’
Balan is known for her power packed performances and it was no different for this film where she decides to step out the comfort of her life as a housewife and become a radio jockey. The actress delivers a stellar performance of part playful, part charming protagonist that makes you root for her throughout the film. Known for her serious roles, Balan injected a breath of fresh air with a more light-hearted performance but powerful nonetheless.

Saba Qamar– ‘Hindi Medium’
Qamar’s first Bollywood role earned her plaudits and a new wave of fans. The Pakistani actress starred opposite Irrfan Khan in this comedic social message film, where she played the role of a devoted mother who would go to any lengths to send her daughter to the best school. Qamar’s nuances of a lady trying to enter a new social class were appreciated and showcased her acting prowess. Her chemistry with Khan was also loved and Bollywood gained a new talent in its midst.

Anushka Sharma – ‘Phillauri’
Sharma had two releases this year with both ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ and ‘Phillauri’ but it was her performance in the latter which gained her praise once again. For the first time for any actress on-screen, Sharma played a friendly ghost in this romantic comedy about a woman trapped in a tree and when released, her journey to reunite with her soul mate, played by the charismatic Diljit Dosanjh. Sharma was a mixture of exuberance and cynicism in this light entertainer with a serious message. As well as playing the leading lady, the actress also produced the film under her banner.

Bhumi Pednekar – ‘Toilet-Ek Prem Katha’ and ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’
Pednekar, who made her debut in ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ (2015) proved that she is around for the long term with her two releases this year. The relative newcomer won hearts and more fans with her portrayal as a headstrong wife in ‘Toilet-Ek Prem Katha’, opposite Akshay Kumar where she held her own and shone on screen. She was once again paired up with her first hero Ayushmann Khurrana in ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ where not only was their pairing was loved once again but her performance as a supporting partner to the couple’s pre-marital issues was loved for both its comedic timing and for tackling a taboo subject on screen. Pednekar has been described as a much needed new energy in the industry and her two performances this year clearly back this up.

Although the five performances mentioned above are some of the standouts for the year, there are others that cannot be forgotten and deserve a special mention. These include Kriti Sanon for her surprise performance in ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ where she won accolades for her portrayal as a charming young woman who knows what she wants from marriage and didn’t put a foot wrong with her acting skills. Alia Bhatt didn’t have as many releases as in 2016 but when she came on-screen in ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ the bundle of talent lit up the screen with her portrayal as a headstrong feminist air hostess. It once again showed the actress’ range of genres that she can turn her hand to. Kangna Ranaut faced a lot of personal problems in the news this year but this didn’t stop the powerhouse actress from delivering worthy performances in both ‘Rangoon’ and ‘Simran’. Again although the films didn’t do well, Ranaut once again delivered feisty and fiery performances. Finally Zaira Wasim’s magical portrayal in ‘Secret Superstar’ has cemented this young actress’ future in the industry. Wasim’s character of a young girl chasing her dream to be a singer whilst supporting her abusive mother garnered success from both critics and audiences, recognising the young actress’ enormous talent.

So there you have it, ’s top female performances for 2017. Here’s to the female actresses in the Indian film industry continuing to fly the flag for women everywhere.

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