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 One thing that many people are thankful for in lockdown is OTT. In the times, when our many sources of entertainment were shut, platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar made sure that we get our regular dose of entertainment. And, thank God they didn’t disappoint us.

Rather than serving us Bollywood regressive movie characters, OTT gave us much progressive and better quality content. Especially, they offered many shows where thankfully we were able to see the older female actors spinning the magic.

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Unlike Bollywood, where there are a handful of lead female characters who are above 30, OTT shared a fresh breath of content that showed the women could be as badass at 40 as they could be at 22. Though mainstream cinema made a small headway in recognizing ‘older’ female characters in a handful of movies (English Vinglish, Badhaai Ho, etc.), there is still a long way to go.

In the hope that Bollywood would seek inspiration from OTT, we have collated some of our favorite older female characters, who showed the world that women can be charismatic and heroic at any age.

#1: Aarya in Aarya

Played by: Sushmita Sen Available on:  Hotstar

Overall plot: A caring mother and a loving wife who becomes the Mafia queen and seeks revenge from those who killed her husband.

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ALSO READ: 20 Sushmita Sen Quotes For Every Strong & Independent Woman

#2: Mrs. Malik in Netflix’s Ghost Stories

Played by: Surekha Sikri / Available onNetflix

Overall plot: The show focuses on the horrors of abandonment. Surekha Sikri plays the role of Mrs. Malik, an ailing, paralyzed, old patient, abandoned by her son, and at the mercy of full-time care. Surekha Sikri’s exemplary performance in the role of Mrs. Malik is the highlight of the whole show.

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#3: Manju Devi In Panchayat

Played by: Neena Gupta Available on: Amazon Prime

Overall plot: The show chronicles the life of an engineering graduate who joins as a Panchayat secretary in a remote village Phulera of Uttar Pradesh due to a lack of better job options. Neena Gupta who played the role of Manju Devi, wife of Panchayat pradhan’s wife, makes a heartwarming journey from being a pradhan’s wife to being pradhan herself!


ALSO READ: Neena Gupta’s 14 Badass Quotes For Every Strong Woman Living Life On Her Own Terms

#4. Anuradha Apte In Tribhanga

Played by: Kajol / Available on: Netflix

Overall plot: A movie that is an ode to motherhood and unapologetic women. The movie unfolds across the lives of three generations of women, traverses choppy waters, attempts to showcase the effects of trauma, difficult choices, social prejudice, and messy reconciliations.

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Anuradha Apte is a complex character. She is a renowned Odissi dancer, who quite outgrew the angry teenager she was compelled to become because of the abuse she faced right under the nose of her mother.

#5: Nayantara ‘Nayan’ Apte in Tribhanga

Played by: Tanvi Azmi / Available on: Netflix

Tanvi shines in her character, of a writer who chose to defy patriarchy and put herself over her family. The role of an unapologetic woman in her 60s, that’s rarely being represented on camera.

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#6: Uma in Unpaused

Played by: Ratna Pathak / Available on: Amazon Prime

Overall plot: Unpaused is an Indian Hindi-language anthology film consisting of five short segments. In one of the segments, Ratna Pathak Shah defied on-screen and off-screen tradition to play a single woman in her 60s.

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#7: Anuradha Kishore in Tandav

Played by: Dimple Kapadia / Available on: Amazon Prime

Overall plot: Amazon Prime Video’s web series Tandav is a political drama. An older female politician, Anuradha Kishore (played by Dimple Kapadia) is one of the main players in the game. She constantly keeps Samar (Saif Ali Khan) on his toes, wielding her years of political expertise to chase her ambitions.


The special mentions are:

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#8: Sadiya Qureshi in Special OPS 

Played by: Divya Dutta / Available on: Hotstar


#9:  Dolly Mehra in Paatal Lok

Played by: Swastika Mukherjee / Available on: Amazon Prime


#10: Renu Chaudhary in Paatal Lok

Played by: Gul Panag / Available on: Amazon Prime


#11: Nani in Chintu Ka Birthday 

Played by: Seema Pahwa / Available on: Zee5


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These are finally enough examples to show that a woman’s talent doesn’t fade with age. We hope Bollywood is taking notes!

*Image credits reside with the respective OTTs


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