Whether it's politics, journalism, anthropology, or acting, women have proven themselves to be equal to men. In this modern day and age, a perfect example of such commendable ladies are the beauties of Bollywood. Along with their commendable acting careers, these are the women who have showed passion and have drawn attention outside of Bollywood, whether it's acting in Hollywood, winning beauty pageants or campaigning for a good cause.
Preity Zinta has appeared in many successful films such as Veer Zaara, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Kal Ho Na Ho, and Koi.. Mill Gaya but has been engaged in humanitarian causes ever since her early years in Bollywood. With the majority of her causes lying in organizations such as rights for women, particularly female infanticide, and the AIDS awareness campaign, PZ has done more than her fair share. Her involvement ranges all the way from performing at charity concerts, curbing human trafficking alongside the UN and adopting 34 girls from the Mother Miracle Orphanage to ensure their education, shelter and well-being. In 2008, Preity was given ownership of the Mohali-based Twenty20 cricket team of the Indian Premier League, which was later named Kings XI Punjab. Until 2009, she was the only women to own a cricket team alongside being with the youngest as well. She has also won many awards for her humanitarian involvement, and her passion and down to earth personality has been a major factor in all her endeavors.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
When one hears the name Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, the first thing to come to mind is her flawless acting or, being titled one of the most beautiful women in the world, her beauty. However, other than her successful acting career, the actress has been the winner of an international beauty pageant. In the year 1994, Rai-Bachchan was honored with the title, Miss World. Ever since the win, there has no been no looking back. Starring in some of Bollywood's blockbuster movies (Devdas, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, and Jodhaa Akbar) Aishwarya has successfully made her mark in the Indian Film Industry. Then came her time in Hollywood. In 2004, she was seen in the British film, Pride & Prejudice, an adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, which was yet another commercial success. Despite not having too much fame and glory in abroad, Aishwarya got her due with Pride and Prejudice and is now a happy mother with a young baby daughter.
Lisa Rani Ray
Canadian Bollywood actress, Lisa Ray, has mainly been seen in the news rather than movies due to the many controversies surrounding the provocative lady. However, other than Bollywood, which she had happened to enter because of a magazine cover that caught the attention of Indian filmmakers, the light-eyed beauty was seen in Hollywood as well. Excluding the long list of Western TV Shows, she's appeared in, Defendor (2009) a comedy movie based on a common man who believes he's a superhero, his psychiatrist and a teenager who he becomes friends with. It seems Ray has more luck in the Western side than the Eastern!
Despite not having debuted in Bollywood itself, Pinto has a great name worldwide for her commercially successful Hollywood career. Between the years 2006-2007, she was seen anchoring a TV series called Full Circle, which was telecasted on Zee International Asia Pacific. After that, her first big break took place in 2008 when Hollywood director Danny Boyle chose her as lead actress for Slumdog Millionaire. The fusion of East meets West in the film garnered enough attention and appreciation worldwide to make it a successful film. From what we've seen so far of Freida, the girl has looks and talent, a formula to success as proven by many women so far.
Like many, American actress Pooja too entered the world of acting after having won a beauty pageant. Upon winning the Miss India USA title, Kumar was given the opportunity to act in both Bollywood and Hollywood. In Bollywood, her debut film happened to be Kamal Hassan's blockbuster hit, Viswaroopam. As for Hollywood, the list of her successful American career is long and commendable. With her expertise in both film industries, the girl has passion and talent that is undoubtedly going to take her far.
Considered the original diva of Bollywood, Zeenat Aman appeared in Bollywood films mainly in the 1970s and 1980s. Her list of successful films is almost never-ending but her most creditable would be Warrant and Yaadon Ki Baraat. She was also continuously seen on the covers of the most popular magazines in the 1970s, having been tagged the sex symbol of Bollywood during those times. However, before her entrance into Bollywood, she had participated in two beauty pageants - the first being the Miss India contest where she was runner-up and the second in 1970 where she won the title of Miss Asia Pacific. In 2008, she was awarded at the FilmFare Awards with a 'Life Achievement Award', so we can say that she can definitely be considered an inspiration for the new blood of Bollywood.
Lara Dutta, the beautiful actress who recently got married, also is a winner of an international beauty pageant. She appeared in successful films in Bollywood such as Dosti: Friends Forever, Bhagam Bhag, Partner and Housefull. In 2000, she won the title of Miss Universe, proudly becoming the second Indian to have won that title after Sushmita Sen. Her win lead her to becoming the Brand Ambassador of UNFPNA Goodwill in 2001. Along with being the former Miss Universe, an actress and a wife, Lara is also a producer and mother. Like the ladies listed in this article, Lara deserves the multi-talented title just as much.
In 1994, Sen was the first Indian to bring home the Miss Universe title, which gained her much popularity. Upon her win, she entered the glamorous world of Bollywood in which she's known for her bold and fearless personality. Earlier in the very same year of 1994, Sen had also appeared in another pageant before winning the Miss Universe crown. She was honored with Femina Miss India, in which she beat Aishwarya, who ended up as a runner-up. Her most successful films in Bollywood are Biwi No 1, Aankhen, and Main Hoon Na. As the first Indian to have won such a prestigious title and to have set up the I Am She - Miss Universe India project where she has the right to send delegates to the Miss Universe pageant, we salute this wondrous lady and are thankful for her contributions.
In 2000, Priyanka won both Miss India and Miss World and has been the last Indian to win the Miss World title since. Well known for her beauty and versatile acting, right after her wins, PC started her acting career in B-Town. Among her successful films are the following: The Hero: Love Story Of A Spy, Andaaz, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Kaminey, Agneepath, Don 2, and Barfi!. Last year, the leggy lass released her first single sung by her, In My City, which has proved to be a great success in India. Like Preity Zinta, Chopra engages herself in many humanitarian causes ranging from female infanticide to endangered species. In 2011, she adopted a tigress and then a lioness in 2012, paying for the endangered species for a year. She has also made several appearances for many charitable causes. A good actress, a beautiful women (inside and outside), a singer and also a philanthropist. This lady has it all!
In 2000, Dia played a part in creating history alongside Lara and Priyanka when she won the Miss Asia Pacific title. That was first time India had brought home three international titles. Despite not having much fame in Bollywood, her humanitarian causes are just as notable as any other. Following Priyanka Chopra, Dia recently adopted two cheetah cubs. Along with that, she has worked with the government of Andra Pradesh to promote awareness of HIV, prevention of female infanticide, PETA, CRY, and tangible solutions for pollution. She is also on the board of the Coca Cola foundation which helps the development of rural India and was awarded the IIFA Green Award for her commitment towards the environment. Other than that, Dia is also an ambitious writer. She has voluntarily written numerous articles for The Times Of India and now owns her own production house along with her fiance and buddy, Zayed Khan.
Whether it was by entertaining others via media, raising awareness for global issues, or creating history for their country, these women have made their own mark and most definitely have made a difference. These talented young women have the potential to be, and in fact, are, inspirations to many women of today. As the world continues to develop, women continue to take a step ahead of men one by one and we hope we get to see ladies such as these taking a stand and proving themselves just as well in the future!
Author: Harjot D.
Editors: Shreya S. & Jenifer Y.
Graphics: Virina R.