From Lenaa To Nimisha Sajayan, 6 Women Who Slayed It In Police Roles

Often in films, we have seen women depicted as individuals who require a man’s protection. We saw this characterisation portrayed with women in positions of authority as well. But there was a change in this when strong women characters were developed, more specifically, women cops. I have compiled a list of actors who absolutely nailed it as police officers. In no particular order, here are the police roles I adore:

Lenaa (Spirit)

Police Roles

We all remember Spirit as the Ranjith-Mohanlal combination film that had a strong take on the alcoholism issue in Kerala. With Mohanlal giving a layered performance as Raghu Nandan, supported by a surprisingly brilliant Nandu and an ever-dependable Kalpana, we also saw a rigid and firm Lenaa as ASP Supriya Raghavan.

Lenaa makes the smallest of roles memorable with her sheer talent. She was brutally honest and possessed a no-nonsense attitude, which suited the character aptly. Lenaa in cop roles is something we need to see more. Perhaps, an investigation thriller with Lenaa as a supercop headlining the project would be an absolute treat. 

Also Read: Unapologetic Female Characters In Malayalam Cinema

Asha Sharath (Drishyam)

Police Roles

Asha Sharath is a trained classical dancer. She later ventured into acting, first through the hit television soap Kumkumapoovu. She made her big-screen debut with Friday and got her breakthrough role with Drishyam, where she played the role of IG Geetha Prabhakar.

Asha Sharath channelized all the acting talent she had into this character and made it such a phenomenal one to watch. In many places, she even matched Mohanlal’s level of acting. The scenes where she gets angry with the story Georgekutty and family cooks up is pure gold. Her firm body language and intimidating screen presence are enough to send shivers down the spine. IG Geetha Prabhakar is undoubtedly an iconic police character.

Manju Warrier (Vettah)

Police Roles

Though we all remember Vettah as visionary filmmaker Rajesh Pillai’s last film, it was also a film with many aspects. Be it an absolutely brilliant premise and script, a haunting performance by Kunchacko Boban or the exemplary way Rajesh Pillai crafts the film, there were many aspects that made this film a fine thriller. One of the biggest contributing factors is undoubtedly Manju Warrier as Sreebala IPS, the City Police Commissioner.

In my memory, Vettah is the first and only film where Manju Warrier has played a cop. She portrayed Sreebala IPS with such ease and brilliance. While her character isn’t firm and bold, Manju Warrier makes Sreebala IPS a memorable cop through the tiny massy moments she has in the film. She also shows that she doesn’t need a male officer to always be by her side and help her through the problems.

Unnimaya Prasad (Anjaam Pathira)

Unnimaya Prasad (Anjaam Pathira)

Apart from being a Midhun Manuel Thomas rediscovery, Anjaam Pathira is one of those films which holds a special place in our hearts. A plot build-up and progression, similar to that of the Tamil crime thriller Ratsasan, Anjaam Pathira is a film that excelled in many departments. One such aspect that stands out in the film is Unnimaya Prasad’s acting performance as DCP Catherine Maria.

It was indeed surprising to see her as DCP Catherine Maria in this film and even more surprising to see her pull off the cop role with such conviction and ease. She showcased leadership qualities, never give up attitude, firm and bold nature and the overall mannerisms of a cop so effortlessly. DCP Catherine Maria would definitely go down in records as one of the best portrayals of women in the police force. 

Also Read: Female Character Tropes In Malayalam Cinema 

Mamta Mohandas (Forensic)

Police Roles

Forensic is a film that did have its fair share of logical loopholes and unnecessary convolutions in the plotline. It was an inferior product when compared to its counterpart Anjaam Pathira, that was released just two months prior to Forensic‘s release. Tovino as the forensic expert and medico-legal advisor in a psycho-thriller story was the main USP of the film. But what came as a surprise was Mamta Mohandas as Ritika Xavier IPS, the investigating officer.

Mamta is known for portraying roles that have a darker and deeper shade to them. After seeing this nature of hers, I had always wanted to see her play a bold and strong police officer. That’s exactly what I got in Forensic. Ritika Xavier IPS is a mother and a wife who has her share of personal problems. But when it comes to matters of work, she is absolutely formidable. Her undying spirit of cracking the case and her firm body language, combined with a towering screen presence, makes Ritika Xavier IPS yet another brilliant picturisation of a woman cop.

Nimisha Sajayan (Nayattu)

Nimisha Sajayan (Nayattu)

Perhaps the most subtle, layered, yet powerful and impactful portrayal of a lady cop has to be the role of CPO Sunitha, played by Nimisha Sajayan. With the film focussing on the struggles of three police officers to prove their innocence in a case they are framed for, Nimisha Sajayan and her portrayal of CPO Sunitha stands out in a way of its own.

All through the film, she has to carry the character by relying heavily on her expressions and body language. The number of dialogues she had wouldn’t exceed a page. It is Nimisha and her brute acting talent that carried the character throughout the film. The naive, terrified yet firm minded Sunitha is not an easy character to pull off. But Nimisha does so with such nuance and perfection.

Also Read: Nayattu Review: The System F*cks Us All

The way CPO Sunitha is written is another topic of debate because the writer gives the character equal importance as the other male cops. The film focused mainly on the politics of a heartless system. In such a plot, it is impossible to give the female police officer her moments of glory. However, with all the moments that were created for Nimisha, she struck gold.

These are a few of the most memorable and impactful lady police officers. I sincerely wish to see several projects that give importance to women cops. Which other actresses do you think slayed it in the role of a cop? Put them in the comments below.


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