K.Balachander’s top 10 Fiery Women – and lessons they teach us

Not all Indians know him, but he is the treasure of Tamil cinema. I still cannot believe we won’t be able to get movies from him – our Iyakunar Sigaram (The Director who scaled the peak), Mr. K.Balachander aka KB. An excellent movie director, producer, writer, actor, playwright, stage conductor, and movie comedian, he still lives through his movies, and hence he still ‘is’ the king in my eyes.

His films spoke about feminism when feminism wasn’t even a “thing”. It was considered a social reform at that time. Every person who have seen his films, would definitely take some inspiration from any of his characters. If you are new to KB’s school, I request you look at his filmography and pick any of his movies to watch. KB loves Bharathiyar, and so his movies have always had a strong woman personality that you look up to, in awe.

This post, is my humble tribute to the great legend. His movies have always been a great teacher on how a woman needs to be in this wide, wide world – head held up high, looking straight in the eye, thinking clearly and speaking like a boss. Yep, no one else had ever portrayed such strong woman characters in movies ever. Yes, ever.

I haven’t watched all his movies, but whenever I get some free time, I am trying to catch up on those that I have missed. But here is a list of some of his most alluring women. I am sure they would be on your list as well!

1. Aval oru thodarkathai’s Kavitha  

One can never forget the bold and beautiful Kavitha character! Bold walk, fiery eyes, tongue that stings like a scorpion, I assure you, she will stay with you forever. Oh, how I love her! From her, a woman could learn how to face whatever trouble she comes across. She teaches us in her own way that, love, and sacrifice are not actually a big deal, but a trivial matter in this long life of ours. From her, you can learn that family responsibility doesn’t have to fall on a man’s head, and that, a woman could do an equally, if not more, amazing job as the bread winner. And the most important lesson of all, she teaches you that, it doesn’t matter what others think of you; what you think of yourself, is what’s important. In one word, she is a.m.a.z.i.n.g.!

2. Apoorva Ragangal’s Bhairavi 

Ah, the very early film that showed love can occur between two people, irrespective of their age difference.  No one after him, had portrayed movies that depict such a daring venture, where love occurs between a married woman and a smart bachelor. And of course with KB’s touch all over. The role that Srividhya(Bhairavi) played, as a mature woman, caught between her past life and her present love, and making decisions of her own will always be refreshing to watch. It’s never too late to fall in love..

3. Moondru mudichu’s Selvi 

The film with beautiful twists and turn. Of course, one can never forget Rajni in this movie, but still one would always remember how brilliantly KB’s Sridevi character(Selvi), outwits Rajini with her smartness. Though her lover had been murdered in front of her eyes, she stands like a rock, ultimately teaching the “villain” a lesson. A neat guilt-trip.

4. Avargal’s Anu

Feminist material. Solid. The female protagonist in this movie, shows how a woman should continue her life with a bold front, even if she was jilted by her lover. It shows how a woman should have the courage to separate from her husband, when her marriage turns sour, but can still lead a successful life with her child. It teaches how a woman can single-handedly make decisions of her own, at various points in life – before, during, and after marriage. It shows how a divorcee could fall in love again and how right she was, to fall in love. Even the mother-in-law character he depicts in the movie, would teach us on how this complex relation should be in real life.  Everything about this movie, screams of a beautiful and forceful woman character that one would get inspiration from always. A masterpiece!

6. Sindhu Bhairavi’s Sindhu 

A mesmerizing film. Well, every one of KB’s film is like that. But this is extra special as we can never forget the famous JKB sir. KB’s JKB. Yep, KB sir is awesome at name play! The female lead, Suhasini(Sindhu) is so outspoken and gutsy that no one can ever forget her. She boldly tells how she hates that Carnatic music is in a language which no one understands and how this should be changed. (Not that it’s possible to happen, but I am with her in this!) She falls so easily in love and boldly faces consequences just as easily. She is a character whom everyone can fall in love with. Easily!

7. Unnal Mudiyum Thambi’s Lalitha Kamalam 

This movie was solely Kamal Hassan’s and KB’s. But I love the female protagonist of the movie as well. She belonged to a lower caste and boldly rejected writing her caste in work application, thus not getting her job. She showed how wrong it was to generalize a person’s nature just by their caste. If only people understood! A brilliant film in all ways.

8. Puthu puthu arthangal’s Gowri 

As I said before, in every film of KB’s we can learn something from his characters. While in many, he showed how a woman needs to be in the world, in this particular movie, he showed how a woman shouldn’t be. The woman character played by Geetha, showed how a woman should never be in her married life. It’s more of a silent strong woman. But beautiful nevertheless.

9. Oru veedu Iru Vasaal’s Yamuna & Vinodha 

A brilliant piece. One single movie, but two stories. Who else but KB sir! And both show such powerful women characters. One shows how a married woman reacts after she finds out about her husband’s affair; and another shows how a married woman reacts after she finds that her married life is entirely different from her love life. The movie didn’t go well in the box office, but it did earn it’s own set of viewers.

10. Kalki’s Kalki

Kalki was released at a time people believed Lord Krishna is going to take a Kalki avatar in 2000. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason, everyone seemed to talk about Kalki avatar then. Anyways, this Kalki movie had a female protagonist, who was beautiful, had broad ideas, chirpy, always helpful..oh I forget, and was bold. She showed a new meaning to the word “karpu”, a word which was often used in reverence in all Indian movies. She sculpts herself, much like the Sindhu character in Sindhu Bhairavi.

I haven’t watched his entire collection. I am sure more would get added to the list as time goes by, but for now, these are my women as well. Women I take inspiration from, every time I watch them. My fellow blogger had given a nice list of rare KB movies, and you can check them out as well – http://www.sylvianism.com/2015/01/11/5-movies-k-balachander-wouldnt-watched-probably-give-try/

If you notice, K.Balachander gave all his women, the power to fall in love with anyone, and with such a passion. What’s brilliant about him is that, he didn’t create them as always-do-gooders. His women were like “real” women, having faults of their own, but they always were fighters, striving to be successful in life.

My heart felt thanks to K.Balachander sir, wherever you are, for giving us such precious women to look up to. Rest in Peace, Sir.

Image source : Internet

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padhs2k Written by:

Another dream-chaser.


  1. Anonymous
    January 13

    hai its a good work.i feel manathil urudhi vendum NANDHINI s worth mentioning

  2. mangai
    January 13

    hai its a good work.i feel manathil urudhi vendum NANDHINI s worth mentioning

    • padhs2k
      January 13

      Hi Mangai,
      Thanks for stopping by! You know, you are the 4th person to have mentioned Nandini..I still haven’t seen the movie, so tonight I know what movie I’m going to watch 🙂 She must definitely be interesting for 4 people to have mentioned her!

    • padhs2k
      January 21

      Yep, I did. I liked the movie..but my favorite remains Kavitha 🙂

  3. January 18

    Nice post. Have watched most of the movies mentioned here, and my favourite women are from Apoorva Raagangal, Sindhu Bhairavi, Avargal and Unnal Mudiyum Thambi 🙂

    • padhs2k
      January 21

      Thanks Kaushik! Happy to see you here 🙂 So you have many favorites, just like me, I guess!

  4. Anonymous
    September 27

    Just read this….think Thenmozhi in Achamillai Achamillai played by Saritha definitely needs to be in this list 🙂

Yes, go on, tell me what you think!