Best Performances of the Decade by Female Actors in Hindi Films


As the passing decade from 2010 – 2019 evolved in pushing the boundaries for storytelling and the kind of subjects that could be handled, it widened the scope for actors across the board. The roles and the performances got more fearless, their character arcs had the scope to be more grey in nature, and there was a space for stronger and more powerful women to exist in those stories. And we got some wonderful performances from our leading ladies to shine through and through these characters.

It is still not a level playing ground yet, and it was evident when I was listing the best performances – there was still more scope for men on an average and hence naturally the space for Best performances is more crowded there, but the women were certainly gaining ground and even in films with strong ensembles, they were leaving the longer lasting impact. I was in two minds whether to club all performances together, but then decided to do two lists separately for female and male actors, because honestly, though there is a definite tectonic shift, we are still some years away when it is a completely level playing field just in terms of how these characters are written in our films and hence have the scope to shine or sink.

Hence for now, we will look at the 30 Best Performances by Female Actors in Hindi Films in the past decade. We have only considered films that got a theatrical release, and also considered films that had multiple languages but Hindi was one of them important from the character’s perspective, or was a dual language film. This is not a ranked list and we go chronologically by the year of release and then alphabetically. based in the film names. Also the best way to talk about these performances and appreciate them is go and re-watch them, because enough has been said and analyzed about all these characters.. Cinema is subjective and hence the preferences of films, performances and music will also have a personal perspective. Often some characters and performances relate more because of a personal relatability and at times good performances will also appear distant because they don’t talk to you. Hence, everyone will have their own favorites, and it would be great to know what you would want to update in the list. For now let us look at what we thought.

Honorable mentions:

Neetu Singh as Kusum Duggal (Do Dooni Chaar, 2010), Deepti Naval as Arati Mishra (Memories in March, 2010), Kareena Kapoor as Rosie (Talaash, 2012), Dimple Kapadia as Rosie Eucharistica (Finding Fanny, 2014), Surveen Chawla as Bijli (Parched, 2015), Ratna Pathak Shah as Sunita Kapoor (Kapoor & Sons, 2016), Kirti Kulhari as Falak Ali (Pink, 2016), Tabu as Simi (Andhadhun, 2018)

Top 30 Performances by Female Actors in Hindi Films of 2010 – 2019 (in order of year of release)

Priyanka Chopra as Jhilmil Chatterjee | Barfi! (2012)


Sridevi as Shashi Godbole | English Vinglish (2012)


Richa Chaddha as Naghma Khatoon | Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)


Vidya Balan as Bidya Bagchi | Kahaani (2012)


Chitrangada Singh as Maya Luthra | Inkaar (2013)


Geetanjali Thapa as Kamala | Liar’s Dice (2013)


Sonakshi Sinha as Pakhi Roy Chowdhury | Lootera (2013)


Nimrat Kaur as Ila | The Lunchbox (2013)


Supriya Pathak as Dhankor Baa | Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013)


Deepika Padukone as Naina Talwar | Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2014)


Seema Pahwa as Amma | Aankhon Dekhi (2014)


Tabu as Ghazala | Haider (2014)


Alia Bhatt as Veera Tripathi | Highway (2014)


Kalki Koechlin as Laila | Margarita With A Straw (2014)


Kangana Ranaut as Rani Mehra | Queen (2014)


Priyanka Chopra as Kashibai | Bajirao Mastani (2015)


Shefali Shah as Neelam Mehra | Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)


Swara Bhaskar as Chanda Sahay | Nil Battey Sannata (2015)


Anushka Sharma as Meera | NH10 (2015)


Deepika Padukone as Piku Banerjee | Piku (2015)


Konkona Sen Sharma as Nutan Tandon | Talvar (2015)


Alia Bhatt as Kaira | Dear Zindagi (2016)


Radhika Apte as Mehak Deol | Phobia (2016)


Swara Bhaskar as Anarkali | Anarkali of Aarah (2017)


Ratna Pathak Shah as Usha Buaji | Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017)


Neena Gupta as Priyamvada Kaushik | Badhaai Ho (2018)


Taapsee Pannu as Rumi Bagga | Manmarziyaan (2018)


Gitanjali Rao as Vidya Iyer | October (2018)


Anushka Sharma as Rukhsana | Pari (2018)


Sanya Malhotra as Miloni Shah | Photograph (2019)


So that was the chronological listing of 30 Best Performances by Female Actors in Hindi Films – A Third Vantage Point Perspective! Clearly, there were some excellent performances that we keep going back to, and we only hope that the coming decade is even more exciting and scope and space for strong female characters in our films just explodes. The signs are only positive.

What are your thoughts on the list? For catching up on more on what was the best of the decade, please click here. We will be back with more, very soon. Till then, keep watching good films!


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Copyright ©2019 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

4 thoughts on “Best Performances of the Decade by Female Actors in Hindi Films

  1. Tilak Purkayastha

    Rani as Roshni in Talaash deserved a mention, even her role Aiyyaa was good enough. I don’t think Naina in YJHD deserves a mention rather Deepika’s Piku & Mastani were far more powerful.


  2. Thank you for including GEETANJALI THAPA, GEETANJALI IYER in this list. They are among the unsung heroes which includes the likes of TANISHTHA CHATTERJEE, SMITA TAMBE, AMRUTHA SUBHASH. But all are getting their due with each project.


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