NostalgiDimple: A Most Unusual Woman rediff.com




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Dimple KapadiaAfter a two-year break, Dimple Kapadia faces the camera yet again.

Dimple does a Nicole Kidman in Hum Kaun Hai, inspired by Hollywood's The Others. However, the film, like her previous movie Leela, did not fare well at the box office.

Of course, Dimple's fans may not mind that too much, thanks to the ravishing actress.

Dinesh Raheja profiles the adventurous actress and glamorous grandma.

The eternal headturner

She is the best looking grandmom in films today.

Auburn-haired Dimple Kapadia looked as resplendent as a Botticelli angel in her youth but hers is the kind of beauty that gets only better with age.

One can question Dimple's choice of films (she has ploughed her way through more than her fair share of typically 1980s dross like Gunahon Ka Faisla, Bees Saal Baad, Mera Shikar) but there are no two opinions about her being a headturner and one of the more sensitive actresses that the industry can lay claim to in the 1970s and the 1980s.

Dimple's famous songs

Song

Film

Singer

Humtumekkamre main bandh ho

Bobby

ShailendraSingh,
LataMangeshkar

Omerijaanabnahin rehna

ManzilManzil

Asha Bhosle, Shailendra Singh

O Maria, Johnny jab bola tha tujhse

Saagar

Asha Bhosle, Balasubramaniam

Tera saath hai kitna pyara

Jaanbaaz

SapnaMukherjee, Kishore Kumar

Sulagti hain saansein

Insaaf

Anuradha Paudwal

O yaaran tu pyaron se

Kaash

Kishore Kumar, Anupama Deshpande

Mujhe tumse hai kitne gile

Ram Lakhan

Anuradha Paudwal, Manhar

O meri jaane bahar

Ajooba

Anuradha Paudwal, Alka Yagnik, Sudesh Bhosle, Mohammed Aziz

Yaara seeli seeli

Lekin

Lata Mangeshkar

Dil hoom hoom kare

Rudaali

Lata Mangeshkar

I am Bobby. Mujhse dosti karoge?

And for an entire generation, she will always be Bobby. That's the advantage of beginning your career with a megablockbuster.

Dimple was pronounced the 'it' girl in her debut film, Bobby, itself. Master showman Raj Kapoor signed her on when she was barely 14 and did the mahurat of his first directorial film without himself in the cast on Dasshera day in 1971.

Despite having son Rishi as the hero of the film, he gave Dimple an author-backed role. The film created a sensation when it released in 1973. Her expressive eyes effectively conveyed teen angst. And when she emerged nymph-like from the pool in a red bikini, Dimple, despite her puppy fat, had teenagers enthralled. Her knotted polka-dotted blouse and earphone hairstyle were wildly emulated.

The much-senior Raakhee attempted a similar hairstyle later in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar but she looked positively uncomfortable, underlining the fact that nobody could carry it off as well as the teenaged Dimple.

Hello, Goodbye

Dimple was already married when Bobby released! Reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna had swept Dimple off her feet and they had married in March 1973, six months before Bobby hit the screens.

This May-December wedding -- she was 16 to his 31--resulted in the rude abbreviation of a budding career. Dimple had been in the reckoning for big-budgeted films like Paap Aur Punya and Roti but eventually Sharmila Tagore and Mumtaz played the heroines in these films.

With Amitabh Bachchan in Hum Kaun HaiThe Rishi Factor

Rishi Kapoor was Dimple's first hero. And when she decided to walk out on hubby Rajesh Khanna after 10 years of marriage and two daughters, Ramesh Sholay Sippy paired her opposite Rishi once again. A triangular love story set against the backdrop of a fisherman's colony, Saagar (1985) also starred the in-news Kamal Haasan.

Unfortunately, the poorly scripted film was unable to revive the Bobby magic. Saagar created more waves before, rather than after its release.

Her comeback pushed the glass ceiling for women

Dimple broke many limitations normally ascribed to the Hindi film heroine. She disproved the popular notion that the audience does not accept a married actress, who is also the mother of two daughters.

After false starts including Zakhmi Sher (1984), Dimple made a thumping comeback with a double role in Mukul Anand's Insaaf (1987). Commercially successful films like Insaniyat Ke Dushman and Zakhmi Aurat further established her position and she was the number two heroine -- after Sridevi -- for much of the 1980s.

She is one of the few actresses to pair romantically with the father-son duo of Dharmendra and Sunny Deol. She paired with Dharmendra in Batwara, Shehzaade, Mast Kalandar and Dost Dushman and Sunny in as many as five films -- Manzil Manzil, Arjun, Narsimha, Aag Ka Gola and Gunaah. The Sunny-Dimple pair, however, could not translate their chemistry on the big screen. Barring Arjun and Narsimha, the other three films proved to be damp squibs.

Dimple is the rare actress who continued to play romantic roles (Mrityudaata, Dil Chahta Hai, Leela) even after her daughter Twinkle made her debut with Barsaat.

Dimple's landmark films

Year

Film

Costars

1973

Bobby

Rishi Kapoor

1985

Arjun

Sunny Deol

1985

Saagar

Rishi Kapoor, Kamal Haasan

1987

Insaaf

Vinod Khanna

1988

Zakhmi Aurat

Raj Babbar

1989

Ram Lakhan

Anil Kapoor,Jackie Shroff

1992AngaarJackie Shroff
1993RudaaliRaj Babbar
1993GardishJackie Shroff

2001

Dil Chahta Hai

Akshaye Khanna

Art-Attack

In her 30s, Dimple exhausted her appetite for playing the pretty prop in hero-oriented films and veered towards parallel cinema.

These films honed Dimple's talent for lending fine striations to complex emotions. She essayed myriad roles -- a disenchanted wife (Govind Nihalani's Drishti), a restless sprite (Gulzar's Lekin) and a professional mourner (Kalpana Lajmi's Rudaali).

As a kind of tribute to her eternal beauty, filmmakers cast her as an older woman who is the object of a younger man's affection in two films -- Dil Chahta Hai and Leela.

Her latest artistic adventure is a supernatural thriller, Hum Kaun Hai.

The Ajooba

Most heroines were able to score hits with Amitabh Bachchan. Strangely, Dimple wasn't one of them. To begin with, Amitabh's ascent to the top coincided with Dimple's absence from the arclights. After her return, Tinnu Anand ambitiously cast Dimple opposite Amitabh but eventually Meenakshi, replaced her in Shahenshah.

Shashi Kapoor finally managed to bring the twosome together in his fantasy caper Ajooba. Dimple's first hero Rishi Kapoor was paired opposite Sonam in this film. But Ajooba sank. Later, Mehul Kumar teamed them in Mrityudaata but the film's failure spelt the end to this jinxed pair.

No Smothering Mother

Unlike Babita, Dimple refused to don the mantle of a star mother cum mentor to her actress daughters, Twinkle and Rinke Khanna.

The girls may not have been able to emulate their mother's success story in acting, but they became highly individualistic independent women. Whether it is in making candles, dressing exquisitely or designing houses, they have inherited Dimple's eye for creative refinements.



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