Women-centric themes added power to the Bollywood platter this year and the leading ladies impressed with their boldness and intense acting. Actresses like Vidya Balan, Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif gave the industry's menfolk a run for their money.
IANS lists the top 10 actresses who swept the audience away in 2011:
1. Vidya Balan: She started the year with a stellar performance as a deglamorised, strong-willed simpleton in the real-life inspired 'No One Killed Jessica', and featured in cameos in 'Thank You', 'Dum Maaro Dum' and Malayalam film 'Urumi'. But for the 33-year-old 'bombaat' actress, 2011 ended with a bang with her sizzling portrayal of a dancing star, Silk, in 'The Dirty Picture'. Vidya explored new realms to her acting potential, and emerged as a winner, overshadowing other commercially hit Bollywood divas.
2. Kareena Kapoor: Two films and both hits! Even after over a decade, Kareena stood out among her contemporaries with the record-breaker 'Bodyguard' opposite Salman Khan, and Shah Rukh Khan's mega-production 'Ra.One'. She also proved her dancing mettle once again with 'Chammak challo', which went on to be a huge chartbuster.
3. Priyanka Chopra: After an average 2010, Priyanka Chopra sprang back into action by carrying out seven different looks in Vishal Bharadwaj's critically-acclaimed '7 Khoon Maaf'. In the character of a serial spouse-killer, Sussanna, the actress has displayed why she is a National Award winner at such a young age. She will round up the year as Shah Rukh Khan's 'junglee billi' in the much-awaited 'Don 2: The King Is Back'.
4. Katrina Kaif: As a free-spirited, independent girl in the multi-starrer 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara', as a sexy item girl in 'Bodyguard' or as the effervescent Dimple Dixit in 'Mere Brother Ki Dulhan', this Britain-born girl has been proving her range with every passing year.
5. Kalki Koechlin : With four diverse films -- 'Shaitan', 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara', 'That Girl in Yellow Boots' and 'My Friend Pinto' - Kalki has been on a roll this year! Her easy and fluid portrayal of a mentally disturbed girl, a nagging girlfriend, a girl in search of her father, and a lost girl abandoned by her boyfriend, have reassured cine-buffs of her capacity as a new age, commercially-viable actress, who dares to choose different roles.
6. Kangna Ranaut: Year 2011 saw Kangana in a new avatar. As a bindaas Kanpur girl in 'Tanu Weds Manu', she gave her most desi performance ever. She followed it up with the role of a cop in 'Game(2011)', a supporting act in comedy films 'Double Dhamaal' and 'Rascals', and featured in 'Miley Naa Miley Hum', which went unnoticed. However, Kangana's standing in the industry remains quite unaffected.
7. Rani Mukherjee: Her fans got a treat after two years when Rani returned to the big screen in 'No One Killed Jessica'. As a bold journalist, who gets the public together to demand justice for a cause, Rani delivered an image-breaking performance when she mouthed expletives and smoked a cigarette for the role.
8. Anushka Sharma: There's something that clicks about this Yash Raj Films find, despite average earners like 'Patiala House' and 'Ladies VS Ricky Bahl' in 2011. Anushka's vivaciousness, million-dollar smile and perfect dancing skills have catapulted her into the league of promising leading ladies of tinsel town today.
9. Deepika Padukone: At 25, Deepika has established herself as one of the more popular female stars of Hindi cinema. This year she strengthened her stance, not so much with her performances, but because of the elan with which she carried out the sultry song 'Mit jaaye gum'; as the small town but confident girl in 'Aarakshan'; and as the love interest of John Abraham in 'Desi Boyz'.
10. Mahie Gill: Her films, 'Utt Pataang', 'Not A Love Story' and 'Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster' this year didn't mint enough money at the box office, but her performance, like always, was well noticed. The critically acclaimed actress continues to choose films away from tried-and-tested formulas, and garners appreciation galore.
- Radhika Bhirani