2021’s Top 50 Women of Indian Television
Year over year, strong women dominate the television medium. We love these women, admire them, support them, cry with them, laugh with them, and probably most important aspire to be like them. The 2021’s list of Top 50 women of Indian television aims to honor and recognize popular names that have carved their names in our hearts with their iconic performances, and also to uplift underrated talent. We hope you see this list as a diverse pool of talented women with ground-breaking and remarkable performances. Along with talented women that continue to entertain us with their craft.
Please do remember these rankings are arbitrary as we love all of them equally and so many others we could not include on the list. Here’s to the women of Indian television that continue to break barriers, illuminate the dark injustices of society, and remind us to be our strongest selves in the face of adversity.
50. Paridhi Sharma
First, we start with the beautiful Jodha of ITV, Paridhi Sharma. Currently, she is displaying her stellar acting chops on “Chikoo Ki Mummy Durr Kei”. The screenplay involves drama that is executed through beautiful dance sequences, which Paridhi executes with so much charm and grace.
49. Rati Pandey
48. Esha Kansara
Next on the women of Indian television list is Esha, who plays a widow on “Zindagi Mere Ghar Aane”. She does an excellent job switching between a theeki mirchi, who verbally challenges her paying guest, and a dutiful, patient daughter-in-law. Her best scenes are the ones where she grieves her dead husband and cherishes his memories.
47. Shrenu Parikh
This beauty continues winning hearts and gracing our screens with versatile roles; both positive and negative. Currently, we see her in “Ghar Ek Mandir” as a woman of today with deep-rooted traditional values. Additionally, she’s willing to go to any extent to protect her family.
46. Sukriti Kandpal
One of the most pathbreaking shows of the year, “Story 9 Months Ki” stars Sukriti Kandpal. She plays the successful and independent businesswoman Alia Shroff effortlessly. Her character decides to have a child via IVF after a failed marriage and is looking out for a suitable donor. It really left the audience with some food for thought about being open to women who make their own choices, pave their own path, and make decisions for themselves.
45. Disha Parmar
We move on to Disha Parmar, who plays the character of a self-made woman in the show “Bade Achhe Lagte Hain 2”. Disha excels in showing a woman balancing personal heartbreak with being the pillar of strength for the sake of her family. Her portrayal of Priya highlights that women are inherently multi-taskers and they can balance their personal and professional lives very well.
44. Aditi Rathore
After her iconic powerhouse performance as Avni Ayesha a few years back, Aditi comes a comeback on “Aapki Nazron Ne Samjha“. This time the actress dons a grey character bringing life to a very difficult character and showing women come with all personality types. Evidently, fans love her as the obsessive villain and are all praises for her taking a risk with a negative character at this juncture in her career.
43. Pranali Rathod
Newbie Pranali Rathod is winning hearts for her sizzling chemistry with co-star, Harshad Chopda, on “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai”. After the departure of Shivangi Joshi, Pranali had huge shoes to fill when stepping into the lead role, but people love her free-spirited, family-oriented, and super adorable Akshara Goenka.
42. Additi Gupta
After a short hiatus, Additi Gupta comes back to the medium with a medical drama dripping in realism, “Dhadkan”. Her strong character is a homage to women that speak their minds and are not afraid to take a stand. It is for women that put forth their ideas and thoughts without belittling others and those that have 0 tolerance for immoral actions. We praise Additi for always trying to push the envelope a little bit forward with the type of women she portrays onscreen.
41. Nimrat Kaur Ahluwalia
As “Choti Sarrdaarni” continues delivering high-quality content to their audiences, Nimrit Kaur Ahluwalia is next on the top women of Indian television for her impactful performance of Meher. The scene where she refuses to with the kids after her wrongful conviction is etched on the fans’ minds as one of her finest. Nimrit lives and breathes an exceptionally strong woman onscreen.
40. Chandani Sharma
Model turn actress, Chandani Sharma portrays a middle-class yet ambitious woman on “Kaamnaa”. Akanksha is a typical millennial when it comes to trying to fulfill the dream of living a luxurious lifestyle. Her character resonates with the youth of today because so many of us dare to dream big, find happiness in the hustle, and believe that there is nothing wrong with wanting a little extra from life. Chandani’s acting choices for Akanksha are nothing less than stellar.
39. Shiny Doshi
Gracing the screen as Dhara on the show “Pandya Store”, Shiny Doshi fully embraces her character in the most relatable manner. Her nuanced performance when her character lost a child and the emotions of deciding to go through IVF treatment is a struggle many women face, but very few have the strength to portray a storyline that does justice to the sentiment. It’s evident that the audience also loves her chemistry with co-star Kinshuk.
38. Aalisha Panwar
This beauty was last seen on Teri Meri Ikk Jindri, where she played Avneet. A character that believes women are not weak and have agency towards their desires and decisions. Aalisha continues the wow the audience with impeccable dialogue delivery and picking empowered female characters.
37. Sriti Jha
Currently on one of the longest-running shows on Indian television, “Kumkum Bhagya”, Sriti Jha is undoubtedly one of the finest actors in the industry. She continues to play the strong-willed, down to earth, force to be reckoned with Pragya effortlessly and is an inspiration for a plethora of up-and-coming talent. Moreover, the chemistry between Shabir Ahluwalia and Sriti Jha has been one of the most loved by fans who love watching them together
36. Richa Rathore
As the new kid on the block, Richa Rathore was a powerhouse and held her own against veterans, such as Narayani Shastri, Sucheta Khanna, Saurabh Agarwal, and Bharat Pahuja. She plays all different shades of Nandini’s personality and the various stages of her life to the T. Not to mention, her chemistry with Vijayendra Kumeria that people miss to this day.
35. Kaveri Priyam
This “Ziddi Dil Maane Na” and “Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke” star enjoys playing real characters, which she consistently gets praised for. In “Ziddi Dil Maane Na”, Kaveri’s character Dr. Monami is a helpful person, sweet-natured, gentile, and someone trying to create her own identity. Her acting has been loved by both fans and critics equally.
34. Priyal Mahajan
This “Molkki” star plays a character that deals with the recuperations of an age-old practice, where poor girls are sold off as brides to rich men. Priyal plays a young girl that must be both a wife and mother of two at 19. It takes a lot of talent and hard work to essay a character of this complexity, which fans have repeatedly recognized and shower an abundance of love towards Priyal.
33. Gracy Goswami
“Kyun Utthe Dil Chhod Aaye” is one of the most celebrated shows on television because it reminds of real people’s turmoils during the dreadful partition. Gracy’s portrayal of Amrit is like reading a personal diary of someone from that era. She fills the forgotten pages of history with so much zeal and life. Additionally, the vintage fashion choices were absolutely nostalgic.
32. Isha Malviya
Fans might love to hate Jasmie on “Udaariyan”, but Isha continues to shine in a character very few actresses take up. While Jasmine is immature, out to ruin her sister’s marriage, and a little self-center; Isha plays this character with so much truth and conviction. It goes to show that a good actor is a good actor no matter what the shade of character. We look forward to seeing Jasmine’s character development through Isha’s acting choices.
31. Anchal Sahu
The grown-up Bondita from “Barrister Babu” had huge shoes to fill since little Bondita was universally loved by the audiences. However, Anchal really made the adult Bondita her own. She showcased an array of emotions and honesty towards that character that won over the love and trust of the audience.
30. Juhi Parmar
We’re excited for this next woman because she is a living legend as an OG Indian television “bahu”. However, Juhi Parmar shows the acting powerhouse that she is by playing not only one character, but a second one that is completely different but just as complex. Both Renuka and Meera were played to perfection by Juhi on “Hamari Wali Good News”.
29. Priyanka Chahar Choudhary
This next stunning lady rose to fame on “Udaariyan” playing the mature, sweet, and family-oriented Tejo. She gives a nuanced performance as Tejo making sure not to characterize as a wronged, weak woman. Instead, she takes all the unfair struggles thrown at her by her husband’s infidelity and becomes stronger. As one of her first leading roles, Priyanka looks exquisite and completely shines.
28. Ankita Lokhande
Who could ever forget Archana of “Pavitra Rishta”? We certainly could never. Ankita comes back and with a bang. While the 2009 version of Archana chose to be a homemaker and take care of the family, the 2021 version works as a server in a cafe and contributes towards the financial stability of the house. She nails this version to the T! While many were skeptical about Manav being played by another actor, Ankita shares beautiful chemistry with Shaheer.
27. Anjali Tatrari
Anjali has been a part of so many different shows in the past few years and with each one, we get a glimpse of what a talented actress she is. Her filmography is quite diverse and she oozes versatility. Let’s talk about her latest role as Krisha Chaturvedi in “Tere Bina Jiya Jaye Na”; a cute girl next door that wears her heart on her sleeve. The Mills & Boon girls love watching an ordinary girl onscreen wanting to be swept off her feet by a Prince Charming. Her eyes radiate with romanticism and clearly, the audience loves it.
26. Ashi Singh
Another show that is breaking gender stereotypes and portraying empowered women is Ashi Singh’s “Meet”. Ashi plays a spirited tomboyish woman, hailing from Haryana that dons short hair and wears jeans and a top because A) it’s comfortable and B) it’s great for time management. We fully agree. Ashi has been doing an excellent job over the past few years not to fall prey to being typecasted and exploring different roles in this medium. Even as Meet, she is trying something completely unknown to her and we applaud it!
25. Toral Rasputra
Toral is known to pick characters that are governed by the storyline and have an impactful presence. Even as Sakshi on “Molkki”, Toral is strong, complex, and interesting. Toral delivers a layered performance as a positive Sakshi, as well as one with grey shades. She’s completely motivated by the desire to be reunited with her kids and husband that she makes bad life decisions, but Toral plays her with so much conviction.
24. Jigyasa Singh
We last saw Jigyasa playing a transgendered person on “Shakti”, which was the representation we yearned to see. Now, Jigyasa is receiving well-deserved recognition for taking up the challenge of playing a girl that stammers when nervous, although she has a honkey-suckle as sweet voice on “Thapki Pyaar Ki 2”. Although her character has a weakness, she is also multi-dimensional with strength, perseverance, and a heart of gold.
23. Sneha Jain
We next add Sneha Jain to the list as Gehna on “Saath Nibhana Saathiya 2” and her ability to play a timid, shy character with ease. As Gehna slowly changes into a fighter and someone that takes a stand, we see how easily Sneha can shift into emotions. It is definitely a lot of pressure to go into a successful franchise with a second part, but Sneha is loved by fans for her portrayal of the loveable Gehna.
22. Neha Marda
“Kyun Rishton Mein Katti Batti” had viewers intrigued with the children trying to rekindle the love in their parents’ life and Neha plays Shubra, who holds her children close to her heart. She also holds her self-respect close to her heart and Neha plays the vulnerable moments with so much depth. We can’t help but fall in love with a woman struggling to keep her marriage alive and be happy for the sake of her kids.
21. Giaa Manek
Viewers are in awe of Gia’s double roles on “Tera Mera Saath Rahe” as Gopika and Radhika. While Gopika is soft-spoken and innocent, Radhika is fearless and borderline bamfy. The audience loves the way she portrays these 2 distinctive different characters. Even her look on the show was vastly different between the 2 characters allowing Giaa to showcase her versatility as an actress.
20. Ayesha Singh
“Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin” wouldn’t be what it is without the powerful performance by Ayesha Singh as Sai. She’s one magical part of a great ensemble, but she gives Sai so much life. Sai is fearless, takes stands, takes risks, and always shows up for the people she loves. Ayesha’s hard work and passion comes through effortlessly as Sai.
19. Surabhi Das
Assamese actor Surabhi Das made her debut on National TV in “Nima Denzongpa” which captures the life of a North East girl in Mumbai. There was so much anticipation for this show because it means we can finally see more representation of different Indian ethnicities on Indian television. Additionally, the show deals with a North East girl falling in love with a Marathi boy, moving to Mumbai, and dealing with all the deeply-rooted discrimination and prejudices. Surabhi does an excellent job as Nima and truly lives Nima to the fullest.
18. Nidhi Shah
Nidhi Shah is best known as Kinjal on “Anupamaa” and the audiences love the way she sticks up for both herself and Anupamaa. Kinal is a self-made woman that comes from a rich family, but her longing for a true family makes her a dutiful Shah bahu. However, she does not tolerate any nonsense whether it’s from her in-laws or her husband, which makes her stand out. Kinjal’s best performance was the track of sexual harassment where she essayed the emotions of fear, vulnerability, and disbelief so many women face in the corporate world. Nidhi’s portrayal of Kinjal in the aftermath, where she takes a stand and stays firm to her principles was inspirational for so many.
17. Akshita Mudgal
Akshita rose to fame with “Ishq Par Zor Nahin” as the fearless, bindaas Ishqi never afraid to use her adorable one-liner “Zoom Kar Kay Dekhiye”. Her confrontation as Ishqi with fiance Mayank on their wedding day was one of the strongest by any female lead and still etched in our minds. She is currently showcasing her acting chops on “‘Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain”, which focuses on gender disparities in society and she plays an IAS aspirant. Like Ishqi, Paragi is one strong, fierce woman.
16. Rhea Sharma
Last since on “Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke” as Mishti, a simple girl that fights for what is right for her and her values. Rhea was simpy adorable and so effortless as Mishti. The highlight of the show was the impeccable chemistry between the main leads: Rhea and Shaheer. Here’s hoping there is a second season or another show where we get this pair together.
15. Ishita Dutta Sheth
Next, we have Ishita, who plays a simple, Bengali girl on “Thoda Sa Baadal, Thoda Sa Paani”. Her family’s responsibilities fall solely on her as she struggles to find love. Ishita strives to pick different characters with each show she does and Kajol definitely is one with many layers and depth. She is someone that wants to look after her family and take care of them, which struck a chord with the audience.
14. Shraddha Arya
Shraddha Arya’s award-winning performance as Dr. Preeta Arora has and continues to win the hearts of the audience. Her character has so many distinctive human layers that one can’t help but feel truly connected to her. Not to mention, Shraddha looks like a doll in every frame.
13. Aishwarya Khare
People love Aishwarya Khare as Lakshmi because she is the personification of selflessness. Lakshi can’t see anyone in trouble and runs to help them out. She’s a softspoken person with a heart of gold. It is an inspiration for people to aspire to be the best versions of themselves and Aishwarya plays the role with so much finesse.
12. Rubina Dilaik
This Bigg Boss winner and “Shakti” star is one of the most talked-about Indian television actresses of the year. The audience fell in love with her dignity and self-respect on the show. She went on to do a few successful music videos and continues to showcase her graceful dancing skills. Not to mention, fans are in constant awe of her fashion choices and the way she leads her life.
11. Alice Kaushik
Alice plays the loveable Raavi on “Pandya Store” and we love that Raavi is never afraid to wear her heart on her sleeves. Her innocent lover image was a treat for the fans and her chemistry with her co-star is so pure and magical. Alice is able to easily tap into a myriad of different emotions, whether it is love, heartbreak, positivity, or struggles. She is a ball of happiness and has the most positive exuberant vibe. Not to mention, Alice always looks like an absolute doll.
10. Shivangi Khedkar
One of the best female debuts of the year, Shivangi is an all-rounder. You name it, she can do it. We got to witness her comedic timing both emotional and physical comedy, gut-wrenching heartbreaks, innocent love, “hell knows no fury” type anger, Sherlock Holmes kind of intelligence, a passionate lover, and a woman aware of her sensuality. It’s sad that MHRW wrapped up this year, otherwise, we are sure there was more to see from Shivangi. We look forward to seeing her harness her skills and come back to a variety of different shows in the upcoming year. It’s a sin not to mention that fiery, sizzling chemistry between Sai that made these characters and show stand out.
9. Erica Fernandes
Erica Fernandes rose to fame with Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi and fans loved her on-screen chemistry with Shaheer Sheikh, who plays Dev on the show. As the 3rd installment made way this way, we were able to see Erica in a different version of Sonakshi. Erica continues to shine as Sona even though the characterization and progression did not align with the previous versions. We still love Erica as Sonakshi and will continue to.
8. Sargun Kaur Luthra
Best known as Preesha on “Yeh Hai Chahtein”, the fans are bonkers for Sargun’s chemistry with the main lead, Abrar Qazi. Along with the chemistry, the show is known for its strong male and female characters, especially Preesha. She is constantly trying to do the right, stand up for the truth, and do anything for her loved ones. The fans love the way Sargun has been playing Preesha since the beginning and the way her character has developed.
7. Tejasswi Prakash
A pocketful of charisma and fun, Tejasswi has been a fan favorite since her “Khatron Ke Khiladi” days. She continues to entertain the audience on Bigg Boss this season and is one of the most talked-about Indian television actresses at the moment. She is full-on entertainment and the fans can’t get enough of her and her innocence, aura, and kind-heartedness.
6. Helly Shah
Best known for “Ishq Mein Marjawan 2” this year and her chemistry with Rrahul Sudhir on the show, Helly Shah is a household name. It was a heartbreaking season for IIM2 fans that had to bid farewell to their favorite show and jodi. However, the love is still endless, and Helly Shah is appreciated as Riddhima Vansh Raisinghania for playing such a strong, selfless character. Moreover, she continues to grow as an actor with a range of different genres and character choices.
5. Debattama Saha
Debattama is one of the most multi-talented actresses on television. On one hand, she was a part of one of the most talked-about shows of the summer with “Shaurya Aur Anokhi Ki Kahani” and on the other hand, co-created a music video loved by so many of her fans. Her chemistry with her co-star, Karanvir Sharma is universally loved and they are constantly trending on Twitter. Honestly, Debattama lived Anokhi thoroughly with her iconic “Main Anokhi hoon” speech and had one of the finest performances of the year when she took back her agency and stood her ground after Shaurya forcibly filled her “maang”. We hope the fans get their wish with another season of “SAAKK”.
4. Sumbul Touqeer
The phrase “chota packet, bada dhamaka” was probably coined for Sumbul. Her character of Imlie is one of the best on Indian television right now with the perfect blend of comedic, eyes filled with dreams, strength, raw vulnerability, angst, and the love for family. Sumbul at such a young age can stand her own in front of her very successful co-star Gashmeer, with whom she shares one of the best on-screen chemistry.
3. Shivangi Joshi
While fans were sad to see her departure as the sherni Naira and boxer Sirat, they were equally excited to see her take on a new role as Anandi for “Balika Vadhu 2”. Shivangi showcased so much of what makes her click with the audience for nearly 5 years on “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai”, but we get to see even more versatility from her as Anandi. It’s commendable for her to leave one of the longest-running and successful shows on Indian television and take on a risk with something new. As we see it, she’s already killing it.
2. Rupali Ganguly
Rupali Ganguly easily plays one of the most loveable, relatable, and favorite characters on Indian television today. While we know she has impeccable comedic timing, we get to see her graceful dancing and the amount of strength a woman has just through her eyes. Probably one of the most expressive eyes in the business, Rupali is a silent powerhouse of emotions. Fan-favorite scenes are definitely the ones where Anu has her breakdowns because we get a glimpse of her vulnerability and her confrontations have the best one-liners in the history of ITV.
1. Shehnaaz Gill
Last but not the least, we have Shehnaaz Gill, who just radiates goodness and talent. Her Bigg Boss quotes are going viral all the time on social media to date and she’s giving us one banger after another in music videos. She definitely is hum sabki laadli.