Bollywood is witnessing a very positive new trend: the return of the married heroine. In an industry which has historically been known to shun its married actresses, we are seeing a sea-change, if recent successes are to be believed.
Bollywood divas from the 90’s: Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit Nene have both been welcomed back with open arms, onto the silver screen. Fans have reopened their hearts and minds to these two actresses, who had both taken a sabbatical post marriage.
Sridevi made her comeback with this year’s sleeper hit: ‘English Vinglish’. What made the film even more special was that this was her return to cinema after a hiatus of 15 long years, and was directed by a married female director, Gauri Shinde. Sridevi reinvented herself in the interim, and is back with a bang. If insiders are to be believed, Sridevi is on a script-signing spree, and we will see lots more of her in the coming years.
Sridevi’s arch-rival from the 90’s, Madhuri Dixit had sacrificed her film career for marriage: when she packed up her bags and moved to Denver, Colorado with husband Dr. Sriram Nene. She spent a few years being content with playing the role of a real-life housewife and doting mother to two young sons, before deciding that she missed the arc lights of Bollywood terribly. She then convinced her husband to relocate; and the family has since set up base in Mumbai, even purchasing a palatial studio space. The producers have been smiling ever since, and lining up outside the ‘Dhak Dhak’ girl’s gates, script in hand.
Madhuri has also been on an endorsement signing spree since relocating to Mumbai, and her kitty boasts of big names like ‘Olay’ and ‘Oral B’. If one was foolish enough to question her firm footing in Bollywood, one would only have to watch Madhuri’s stage performances at the People’s Choice and Golden Petal Awards, to see how the industry adores its ‘Chandramukhi’. Both stage acts of the diva were greeted with amazement and absolute reverence: this just proves how much the lady is in demand now. What further adds to her title of ‘Comeback Czarina’ is her upcoming A-list film based on Gulabi Gang leader Sampat Pal.
So much so, that we are even witnessing a very positive transformation of filmmakers’ mindsets, towards the younger lot.
Heroines like Kareena Kapoor and Vidya Balan (who has just tied the knot on 14 December), are still at the top of any producer’s wish list. Kareena has reportedly hiked up her fees and is going bold with her choice of future roles. The delectably seductive item song in ‘Dabangg 2’ and her upcoming no-nonsense role in Prakash Jha’s ‘Satyagraha’ is testament to the fact that everyone is slowly but surely warming up to the idea of casting a married actress as a lead heroine.
Kareena’s contemporary, Rani Mukherji too has tasted success this year with her finely nuanced, brilliant portrayal of a grieving mother in ‘Talaash’. Though Rani has yet to cross the threshold of marriage, her impending nuptials to Chopra scion Aditya Chopra should in no way hamper her now resurrected career.
We hope this trend continues, and like in Hollywood, Bollywood too can someday boast of a 50-plus actress commanding lead roles, much like a Meryl Streep or a Sharon Stone.