As we attempt to utilise our time in the best way possible during this lockdown period, let us not forget the magic of cinema. Here are some films that shone brightly thanks to the compelling performances of their lead female actors. So make sure to catch and enjoy these performances online.

Ramya Krishnan in Padayappa

Few actors could have risen to the demands of the character of Neelambari as splendidly as Ramya Krishnan. In Padayappa, she matches Rajinikanth scene for scene, as a haughty and determined yet delusional woman who is obsessed with getting her way. When situations do not pan out ideally, she devolves rapidly. Ramya Krishnan has an arresting presence and her portrayal of the so-called “vamp” is full of class and flair. It is a performance that is synonymous with the actor even today.

Streaming on: Voot

Sridevi in Moondram Pirai

In one of her most complex roles, Sridevi plays Bhagyalakshmi, a woman inflicted with retrograde amnesia after suffering a head injury, thus causing her to not only forget but also behave like a child. Stuck in a brothel, she is rescued by a teacher (Kamal Haasan) who attempts to revive her memory. Never descending into caricature, Sridevi envelopes the character with compassion, humor, and warmth that is heartfelt and endearing. Feeding off the brilliance of her co-star, she shoulders the film with her competent performance.

Streaming on: YouTube

Taapsee Pannu in Game Over 

Taapsee Pannu is no stranger to the thriller/suspense genre in Bollywood. In Game Over, she forays into this realm once again with a taut, solid performance as a lonely wheelchair-bound woman who battles the demons in her past to fend off a serial killer. Never straying into melodrama, the actor gives a refined and subtle performance that keeps the viewers invested in her narrative. Her efforts won her the Filmfare award for Best Performance by a Female Actor.

Streaming on: Netflix

Trisha Krishnan in 96

As a woman who meets her childhood sweetheart at their school reunion many years later, Trisha Krishnan gives her most mature acting performance to date. She portrays the rollercoaster of unrequited love, regrets and emotional baggage in an empathetic manner that connects with the viewers and makes them invest in her character’s journey. It is an effort that earned her many accolades for the year and also the recognition of an “actor” as opposed to a “star”.

Streaming on: Google Play and YouTube

Saritha in Julie Ganapathi

Saritha returns from a hiatus with a stunning comeback in Julie Ganapathi in which she recreates the Oscar-winning role of Kathy Bates from the acclaimed Hollywood drama “Misery”. Portraying a mentally disturbed neurotic woman who harbours a dangerous obsession for a famous author played by Malayalam actor Jayaram, she proceeds to kidnap and blackmail him. Saritha turns in a power-packed performance that is captivating and chilling yet never overbearing.

Streaming on: Jio and Eros Now

Sneha in Pallikoodam

In Pallikoodam, Sneha plays Kokila, a teacher in a village school and alumnus of the same who struggles to rebuild and save the institution from demolition along with three of her childhood friends. Expressive and restrained at the same time, she has a good understanding of the ethos of the character and does full justice to the role with a nuanced performance that is memorable. It is also a testament to the smart movie choices that the actor has made in her career.

Streaming on: YouTube

Jyothika in Mozhi

In Mozhi, Jyothika shines as a bold independent woman with hearing and speech impairment who refuses to let her handicap to dictate her life. It is a noteworthy effort by the actor that allows her to sink her teeth into a different acting sensibility. With a good comprehension of the milieu, Jyothika churns out an emotionally charged performance that is authentic and one that put her among the top actors of her generation.

Streaming on: Eros Now

For many more inspiring acting performances and films, click on the recommendations here and stream on!