Joined: 25 March 2010
Debut: Prem Qaidi (1991)
Why we love: Because she showed where absolute professionalism and single-minded dedication could get you. Even if you were low on the acting wattage. Frankly, no other actress has been trashed by the media the way Karisma Kapoor has been. Whether it was her dress sense, her choice of movies or her acting disability, everything came under the scanner. But she marched on relentlessly. And her perseverance paid off rich dividends. Huge hits like Coolie No.1, Hero No.1 and Biwi No. 1 came along. What's more, Dil To Pagal Hai, Raja Hindustani and Zubeidaa removed the stick out of hands of the 'She can't act' brigade.
Debut: Parineeta (2005)
Why we love: Because she's found her bearings at last. Because she remembered in time that she's here to act and not compete with other actresses in glamour. Because she took all the criticism on her chin and turned herself inside out. She sparkled in Paa and showed an entirely different side in Ishqiya.
Debut: Sultanat (1986)
Why we love: Because when it comes to comic timing, no one can beat her. Because she's India's sweetheart. At a time when Hindi film heroines were outdoing each other to be termed as sultry sirens, Juhi Chawla came as the farm fresh girl-next-door. Probably low on sex appeal quotient, she was up there when it came to the feel-good factor. Okay, so she didn't make your heart go wild but she brought a smile to your face. Movies like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Yes Boss are testimony to the fact. She came loaded with the feel- good enzymes. Sometimes that's all you need to sustain yourself.
Debut: Basant (1942)
Why we love: Because when it comes to beauty, she's the yardstick. Because beauty and talent haven't been such a heady concoction ever since. Watch the heavyweight scene where she confronts Emperor Akbar in the climax scene of Mughal-e-Azam, or the light-hearted romantic scenes between Kishore Kumar and her in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi or with Guru Dutt in Mr And Mrs 55 and you can't help but be overwhelmed by the sheer flair. Hair cascading-over alabaster skin, full-painted luscious lips, she was the very personification of a femme fatale, oozing hot sex and glacial cool. Her romance with Dilip Kumar on and off screen is the stuff modern-day tabloids are made of.
Debut: Kashmir Ki Kali (1964)
Why we love: Because she could send up steam with a mere flash of those dimples. Because she never worried about her image. She could play the classic Indian woman in Aradhana and Amar Prem and she could appear in a bikini on the cover of Filmfare with aplomb. All curves and sass and bedroom eyes, that's the aura of Sharmila Tagore. Add to that the searing chemistry she shared with Rajesh Khanna in movies like Aradhana, Amar Prem, Safar and Daag and you had a winner on your hands. And also because she gave us Saif Ali Khan.
Debut: Refugee (2000)
Why we love: She's gifted with the pouting grace of a petulant angel. But her tough-tender turn in movies proves that her career isn't fuelled by looks but by authentic acting chops. The blow away combo of effortless cool and awesome talent has finally been coming into its own in the last few years. The only person to emerge with any credibility from Kurbaan, she sizzled in Jab We Met, showed us a different side to her in Omkara and Chameli. Other actresses may earn more money but no one excites like Kareena Kapoor does. That's our girl!
Debut: Abodh (1984)
Why we love: Because her face could speak a million words. Because when she smiles, men's horn-rimmed glasses still fog up. Because those seductive eyes could turn the sternest hearts into quivering masses of jelly. That's the effect Madhuri Dixit has had on the male psyche of the nation through the '80s and the '90s. They even made a film about that (Dharavi). Om Puri, a taxi driver, fantasises about her to escape his mundane life. That could be the story of a million homosapiens. Critics often say she is the complete actress. Her acting capers are beyond compare, her sex appeal devastating and her screen presence phenomenal. Yes she was low to start off. Abodh, Swati and Awara Baap didn't do the trick for her. But then Tezaab hit the theatres and the rest is blockbuster history.
Debut: Talash-e-Haq (1935)
Why we love: Because she could make melodrama appear meaty. Because she added colour to the black 'n' white movies. Because she gave us Mother India and immortalised the Indian mother on screen forever. Because she could play the free-spirited girl in Chori Chori and a femme fatale doomed to tragedy in Babul and Jogan with equal ease. The sizzling chemistry she shared with Raj Kapoor ' captured so evocatively in that one frame of Barsaat, the emblem of RK films ' stays in the memory files till today.
Debut: Suraj (1966)
Why we love: Because she brought sunshine to the screen. Her joie de vivre, her spontaneity, her spunk, her exuberance set her apart from her contemporaries. She may have set foot in filmdom as a child star in movies like Suraj and Do Kaliyan but her transition to a voluptuous actress in Khel Khel Mein was seamless. Very few child stars have graduated to being a heroine so effortlessly. Very few heroines have been loved so whole-heartedly. She carried that Punjabi masti with her, which found a chord with the audience. She'll be remembered for the breezy entertainers. Once she found her better half in Rishi Kapoor, together they scaled dizzy heights with hits like Zahreela Insaan, Amar Akbar Anthony and Kabhi Kabhie.
Debut: Ankur (1974)
Why we love: Because acting is serious business for her. Because at a time when heroines were just expected to provide glamour in the movies, she provided the substance. Because she was an integral part of the parallel movement in the '70s. Because she's a committed activist and an articulate spokesperson for human rights causes. Because she has adroitly combined a film career with a social conscience and used one to enrich the other. Because she refuses to play roles that are derogatory to women.
Debut: Saawariya (2007)
Why we love: Because that face can launch a thousand beauty parlours. Because she has the unusual ability to convince as both a sexpot and a smart girl. Okay, so she may seem like someone in search of a career right now. But write off Sonam at your own peril. She's got some interesting stuff coming up ' her home production Aisha starring Abhay Deol, I Hate Luv Storys with Imran Khan and Mausam with Shahid Kapoor. Then we shall talk.
Debut: Hulchul (1971)
Why we love: Because she dared to be different. Because she was the antithesis of the successful Hindi film heroine. Because she was the first Westernised actress on screen, spoke Hindi with a firang accent and broke the myth that models couldn't graduate into successful star material. She gave the Hindi film heroine style and sartorial tastes and turned her from a desi mem into a hip chick. So much that the clothes she wore in the '70s seem timeless even today. Sure her acting chops failed to impress the critics. But she learnt as she went along. Movies like Dhund, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Insaf Ka Tarazu, Qurbani, Don, Dostana, took her to the crest of a revolutionary screen image.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Debut: Aur Pyar Ho Gaya (1997)
Why we love: Because she's beautiful? Yeah we know that's a clich. But what else can you say about a woman whose beauty has taken iconic proportions? Because she's the only Indian actress at Madame Tussauds. Because she's put the Hindi film industry on the world map. Because she's the only actor from the subcontinent who is recognised universally. On the home front, her iconic status has grown by leaps and bounds. Yes, it's been a tough job getting people to look away from her blinding splendour and recognise her talent. Blockbusters like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Taal, Dhoom2 and Jodhaa Akbar prove that she has what it takes.
Debut: Boom (2003)
Why we love: Because she has consumed Bollywood completely. Because her success defies logic. Last heard, she had grabbed the bragging rights by adding two more, New York and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani to her hits tally. Ultra smart and totally buzzing with star wattage, Katrina Kaif is here to stay. For someone who brought just gloss, she now suddenly looks like the real deal. Say what you will about her accent, her lack of knowledge of Hindi, her British antecedents but you can't deny her success. Earlier she was impossible to pigeonhole, now she's impossible to ignore.
Debut: Bekhudi (1992)
Why we love: Because Kajol can do anything she wants. She has the power, she has the talent. Because she has the best hit ratio in recent times. Here's the thing: Nearly two decades after her debut, the most successful actress of modern times is still the only one in the industry who's consistently making movies that keep the producers, the critics and the audiences thrilled. Becasue her last outing My Name Is Khan once again ignited the box-office. And there's the remake of Stepmom to come. Her break to have a second baby is the only thing that can trip her. Really.
Debut: Hum Naujawan (1985)
Why we love: Because no one has polished the nuanced art of acting in modern times like she has. Because she mixes cocksure flair with hardcore angst on screen. Because while the other actresses can only pretend to act, Tabu is up there with the finished product. Behind that laidback demeanour is a sharp mind, that's honed to pick roles with substance. A slow starter, Tabu came into her own only after directors like Priyadarshan (Sazaa-e-Kalapaani) and Gulzar (Maachis) recognised the potential in her. After that it's been a roller coaster ride, notching up Filmfare and National Awards at will. Movies like Cheeni Kum, Maqbool, Chandni Bar and Astitva are proof that she has the range and the smarts to spare.
Debut: Sawan Bhadon (1969)
Why we love: Because she's Rekha. Because when it comes to style, sexiness or sheer onscreen presence, she's unparalleled. Because whatever she does merits attention. The shallow ones of course will remember her for her alleged relationship with Amitabh Bachchan. But those who know better recognise her as a fierce, raw, flinty performer with unbridled honesty. Her acting isn't gimmicky. Whether it's Zohrabai in Muqaddar Ka Sikander or Amiran in Umrao Jaan, no one plays the courtesan with a golden heart better than her. And then see her in lighter roles like Khoobsurat, Ram Balram, Suhaag and she gives you the feeling that she has let herself go with abandon. You watch her even when she's not doing anything.
Debut: Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (1997)
Why we love: Because she knows a thing or two about using facial muscles.They say dynamite comes in small packages. Seeing Rani Mukerji, one would be tempted to agree. She announced her arrival with Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat. The movie didn't do too well, but she had made her intentions clear early on. She was here to act. She followed it up with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Ghulam and suddenly the industry was sitting up and noticing this dusky girl. But it was only after Black, Saathiya and Bunty Aur Babli that she reached the zenith of her career. She may have retreated from the public eye today, the buzz around her may have died down. But that hasn't undermined
the actress. She continues'
Konkona Sen Sharma
Debut: Page 3 (2005)
Why we love: Because she displays a chameleon like versatility on screen. Because when you're Konkona Sen Sharma, you don't need the frills. Whatever you do warrants watching. Because she has more talent in her toenail than most Bollywood heroines have in their body. The others can take zero-sized figures and snazzy pouts, we'll take Koko.
Debut: Hamari Beti (1950)
Why we love: Because she made acting look like child's play. Because she's unarguably the most enchanting and engaging actress on screen. Because she was the most fascinating mix of steel and silk, who could convey fragility and strength with the flash of her eyes. Her impish smile, her dancing eyes are the stuff movie lore is made of. And yet critics say it was her unhappy personal life that added the gravitas to her performances. Some called her the complete actress. Watch her heavy duty acting in movies like Sujata, Seema, Bandini and then see her light-hearted performances in frothy romances like Paying Guest and Tere Ghar Ke Samne. Yeah, that's what we call vive la difference.
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Where is Priyanka Chopra?
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