Strong Women Characters Written By Men Ft. Tamil Cinema!

Characters who captured our hearts and keeps us coming back for more!

Women in Tamil cinema have often been portrayed as mere eye candy for the male protagonist or helpless damsels in distress, waiting for the hero to rescue them. Many films defied this conventional portrayal and instead, created characters that are strong, self-assured and fighters in the truest sense of the word. There are many women characters written by men who are characterized with many layers, they are not just expected to be one thing, they are shown to be flawed yet resilient, opinionated and strong-willed. Here is our list of women characters from Tamil Cinema: 


Revathy – Mouna Ragam – Mani Ratnam

Divya is a fun-loving and extrovert college-going girl who brings joy to whoever she meets. She is a ray of sunshine for her family and brings joy to the lives of those around her. Her character was ahead of her time. She voices her opinions unabashedly, this was a refreshing change of character especially at a time when women were mostly expected to keep to themselves. The movie sheds light on the double standards of society, as girls are initially advised to stay away from boys in school and college but are then forced into marrying a complete stranger. Divya doesn’t agree with ‘arranged’ marriage and openly defies it. She takes her time to get to know her husband and slowly builds a relationship with him, showing us what it means to live life on her own terms. 


Aishwarya Rajesh – Kaaka Muttai – M. Manikandan

Kaaka Muttai revolves around two curious kids from the slums who want to know what pizza tastes like. Aishwarya Rajesh plays the mother to them and single-handedly manages the house, the kids, and her mother-in-law while also fighting to get her husband out of jail. While the movie entirely focuses on whether or not the kids get to taste ‘pizza’, Aishwarya Rajesh’s character truly stands out. Her character has many dimensions, she’s a woman who is struggling to feed her family, a wife who is trying everything she can to release her husband from prison, and a mother who does her best to fulfill her kids’ wishes. She is the definition of a strong, determined woman who would strive to protect her family through everything. This is evident with her saving money to pay for her husband’s lawyer and when she comes to know about her kids being insulted by the Pizza shop supervisor, she defends and fights back for them. While facing tough choices and challenges in life, she doesn’t lose hope and fights back. 


Aditi Balan – Aruvi – Arun Prabhu

From being daddy’s little girl to an independent woman, the transition is full of hurdles for Aruvi. Played by Aditi Balan, the character’s journey is what the movie is all about. When she is forced out of her own house by her father, she has a lot to deal with. Her hardships are what make her a strong woman because she refuses to give up. She is treated as an outcast because she is HIV positive, finding just one friend who is a transwoman who stands by her as she fights along. She is constantly judged by society even though they are the ones who wrong her, but that doesn’t deter her spirit. Aruvi brings a whole new level of meaning to the word ‘ empowerment’ when she decides to take matters into her own hands and punish her wrongdoers in her own way. 


Jyothika – Mozhi – Radha Mohan

Archana’s character is a remarkable example of strength and empowerment for all women, reminding us to embrace our true selves and live life with confidence and independence. Initially, she comes across as an introvert and prefers to keep to herself, but as the movie progresses, her guards go down and she starts to come out of her shell. She is confident and isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade. Her insecurities do not define her, and she refuses to let them limit her life in any way. Archana is a woman who can take care of herself and doesn’t rely on anyone for happiness. Her straightforward approach, quick decision-making skills, and friendly nature make her an iconic character.  


Nithya Menon – Oh Kadhal Kanmani – Mani Ratnam

Mani Ratnam truly knows how to write meaningful and layered women characters, one such favorite is Tara from OK Kanmani. She is a spirited woman who is full of life, she is unapologetic and lives her life on her own terms. She is a modern Indian woman, she balances her respect for culture and tradition but doesn’t let that come in her way of living life. She is created with complexity, her personality is captivating and intriguing at the same time. She defies the stereotype, she is a hopeless romantic and a career-oriented woman, Tara can do both. She doesn’t compromise or give up on one because she needs the other more. 


Simran – Kannathil Muthamittal – Mani Ratnam

In the critically acclaimed Tamil film “Kannathil Muthamittal,” Simran’s portrayal of Indira, Amutha’s mother, is regarded as one of her most versatile performances to date. Indira is an efficient news reporter, a doting mother, and a loving wife, she knows what she wants in life and goes after it. She captured the hearts of the audience with her nurturing nature, compassionate personality, and independent spirit, Indira serves as a strong and reliable anchor for her family. She supports her daughter, Amutha, in her journey to find her birth mother, which shows how secure she is as a person. Every mother’s worst fear is separation from their beloved children so understandably, Indira is seen breaking apart with every step that Amudha takes towards Shyama. Indira’s portrayal in the film showcases the depth of a mother’s love and the sacrifices she is willing to make for her family.


Madhoo – Roja – Mani Ratnam

Roja’s journey from a carefree young woman to a fearless fighter exemplifies her character’s development. Initially, she marries against her wish but stands her ground on her disinterest in the marriage. Only after knowing the truth behind Rishi choosing her to marry instead of her sister whom he intended to marry in the first place, does Roja decide to give him a chance. When militants abduct her husband, she refuses to give in to despair. Instead, she takes matters into her own hands by negotiating with the terrorists and even infiltrating their ranks to rescue her beloved. Roja’s character is portrayed as a woman of action rather than a passive victim. She is a strong example of how a woman can be assertive and take control of her own destiny. She defies traditional gender roles, showing that women can be just as capable and courageous as men.


Revathy – Marupadiyum – Balu Mahendra

Thulasi is the torchbearer of female agency, her journey of self-discovery served as an inspiration to many women. She is considered one of the strongest female characters in Tamil cinema due to her unwavering determination and steadfast nature. Despite facing many hardships, she remains resolute, which makes her a symbol of strength. Thulasi’s character is truly ahead of her time. Even when her marriage crumbles and she is pushed to her lowest point, she rises like a phoenix and finds new meaning in her life. Thulasi’s character never needed a man to back her up, she was capable of taking care of herself. Even when Gowrishankar, a man who expressed his affection for her, approaches her, she firmly rejects his offer. She was on a journey of self-discovery and wanted to discover life on her own. 


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