5 South Indian women-centric movies that are a must-watch; Arundhati to Mahanati

South cinema has been transformed by powerful women-centric movies that showcase talented actresses breaking stereotypes. Check out these 5 women-centric movies that are a must-watch!

Updated on Nov 22, 2023  |  06:47 PM IST |  180.1K
(Pc: Swapnadutt Chalasani Instagram, BookMyShow)
5 South Indian women-centric movies that are a must-watch; Mahanati to Arundhati (Pc: Swapnadutt Chalasani Instagram, BookMyShow)

South movies now have actresses performing roles that go beyond just being romantic interests. These women-centric movies give the audience a glimpse of how talented and versatile these actresses are. They also break stereotypes by portraying different and challenging stories.

From historical dramas to current thrillers, these women-centric movies give actresses a chance to shine and change how women are featured in films. We have curated a collection that looks at some of the strong and determined female protagonists in some of the best South movies.

5 women-centric South Indian movies that are a must-watch

1. Arundhati

  • Language: Telugu 
  • Runtime: 2 hours and 11 minutes 
  • IMDb Rating: 7.3/10
  • Director: Kodi Ramakrishna
  • Cast: Anushka Shetty, Sonu Sood, Divya Nagesh, Aachi Manoram, Sayaji Shinde
  • Where to watch: Disney+ Hotstar

During a visit to her native place, Arundhati discovers her striking resemblance to her great-grandmother, Jejamma. As Jejamma battles against a black magician to become her own, Anushka Shetty's portrayal of Jejamma in the film Arundhati is hailed as one of the greatest performances in a female-oriented movie. The antagonist, played by Sonu Sood, also receives high critical acclaim, and the movie has also been adorned with numerous awards across various categories.


2. Mahanati

  • Language: Telugu 
  • Runtime: 2 hours and 57 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 8.4/10
  • Director: Nag Ashwin
  • Cast: Keerthy Suresh, Dulquer Salmaan, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Vijay Deverakonda, Rajendra Prasad, Bhanupriya
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Mahanati is a poignant biopic of the late Telugu actress Savitri, revered as Savitriamma by her fans. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Indian actresses, Savitri's journey from a stage actress to a cinema icon is beautifully captured. Keerthy Suresh's close-to-reality portrayal of Savitri earned her the National Award for Best Actress in 2018. The film not only explores Savitri's versatile performances but also delves into the tragic incidents in her personal life, depicting her struggle with depression and alcoholism.

3. Yashoda 

  • Language: Telugu 
  • Runtime: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
  • Director: Haresh NarayanK. Hari Shankar
  • Cast: Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Unni Mukundan, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

In Samantha Ruth Prabhu's film Yashoda, an innocent woman agrees to be a surrogate mother at a plush facility to find her missing sister. However, she uncovers a shocking truth about the center, putting herself and her unborn child at risk. The film explores the dark side of surrogacy and the challenges faced by the protagonist as she unveils the disturbing reality of the facility.

4. Karthavayam (Aramm)

  • Language: Tamil, Telugu
  • Runtime: 1 hour and 59 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 7.7/10
  • Director: Gopi Nainar
  • Cast: Nayanthara, Ramachandran Durairaj, Sunu Lakshmi
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

In Nayanthara's Karthavayam, Madhivadhani, a district collector, faces a significant professional challenge after a young village girl, Dhanshika, falls into a deep borewell. The media highlights her rescue efforts, emphasizing the pressures and responsibilities that Madhivadhani grapples with in this intense situation. The film brings attention to the strength and determination of a woman in a high-profile position during a critical rescue mission.


5. Roja

  • Language: Tamil, Telugu
  • Runtime: 2 hours and 17 minutes
  • IMDb Rating: 8.1/10
  • Director: Mani Ratnam
  • Cast: Arvind Swami, Madhoo, Pankaj Kapur, Nassar
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Zee 5

The movie Roja tells the story of a simple girl from a village in Tamil Nadu, portrayed by Madhoo, who makes desperate efforts to find her husband, Rishi. He is kidnapped by militants during a secret undercover mission in Jammu and Kashmir. The film explores Roja's resilience and courage as she confronts adversity, highlighting her unwavering determination to reunite with her husband.

Over the years, South films have changed a lot because of the rise of women-centric movies that show how deep and complex female characters can be. The work of actresses like Anushka Shetty, Keerthy Suresh, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Nayanthara, and others has played an important role in breaking down barriers and making it possible for women in South Indian cinema to be portrayed in more nuanced ways.

ALSO READ: Radha shares heartwarming note for her daughter Karthika Nair on her wedding day

Pinkvilla Pulse
Subscribe to our newsletter for entertainment exclusives, star interviews, and the latest lifestyle trends. Look No Further!
About The Author
Addla Sreeja
Addla Sreeja
Content Writer

Her obsession with South cinema rivals only her obsession with fashion. She finds solace outside of the world of


Credits: Pinkvilla

Latest Articles