When Bollywood heroines re-invented sexy
In Bollywood's colourful universe, hypocrisy enjoys a special place.
While the hero is never too old to romance a girl half his age, his poor leading lady has a rather short shelf life. And that's why no soon any top actress, talent notwithstanding, begins to lose her reign (and youth) at the box-office, she lays her intelligent image to rest, slips into a full-on sexy mode by pulling (or shedding, if you please) her glamorous socks to grab the ever-fickle viewer's attention.
While the ploy might not always work, they sure get brownie points for trying. Here's a dekko:
There's no denying Rani's sensual screen presence. Even so, it's always been her high-voltage performances and classic persona that got notice. But after a series of tedious kerchief capers, the Bengali beauty is leaving no stone unturned to appear her scorching best with a toned body, bikini tops and tantalizing moves opposite 'toast of the season' Shahid Kapoor.
Considering her soon-to-release Dil Bole Hadippa features her as village belle parading as a cricket-worshipping Sardar, leaving little scope for on-screen hotness, Bollywood's beloved Babli is more than making up for it with sizzling magazine covers.
Although her attempt to look chic, a dramatic upgrade from her previously tacky avatars, at promotional events still leaves a lot to be desired.
Image: Rani Mukerji
The actress has officially renounced the 'bubbly' title to do a Kajra re-2 in Salman Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer, Main Aur Mrs Khanna.
What PZ dubs an 'interesting cameo,' basically entails a hot, hot, hot item song, which, as we all know these days, translates to the losing tons of weight and glitzy makeovers.
Hopefully the glossy gimmick will do wonders for the IPL owner's currently 'out of action' movie career. It might be recalled Zinta hasn't delivered a single hit since Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and was mostly seen in festival flicks like The Last Lear and Videsh.
Image: Preity Zinta in a scene from Main Aur Mrs Khanna
Even veteran sex symbols have a hard time surviving Bollywood's cutthroat ways especially when there's no dearth of ready-to-bare newcomers.
And so despite delivering some hard-hitting nuanced performances in films like Pinjar, Ek Hasina Thi and Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara, Urmila had no choice but to return to her Rangeela roots, albeit raunchier than ever.
Remember Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag? Alright, silly question. Try this, remember Urmila's super skimpy avatar and bawdy moves in the Mehbooba ditty?
Image: Urmila Matondkar in a scene from Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag
Famously dubbed the 'female Amitabh Bachchan of Hindi films', Sridevi, too, struggled to keep her numero uno crown during the later years of her mostly prosperous career.
And so the coy superstar of Chandni, Lamhe and Khuda Gawah chose to prance around trees in tiny mini-skirts with younger co-stars like Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar in films like Chandramukhi, Army and Meri Biwi Ka Jawab Nahin.
Image: Sridevi and Shah Rukh Khan in a scene from Army
Following in Sri's footsteps, a thirty-something Madhuri Dixit also signed films opposite rank newcomers like Akshaye Khanna, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Kapoor and Mukul Dev to portray giggly college girl types.
As if on a mission to prove she's still got what it takes, the Hum Aapke Hain Kaun star gave up her 'woman-of-substance' ways to adopt a wannabe teenager's wardrobe in films like Arzoo, Raja and Mohabbat.
Luckily, Dil To Pagal Hai's masterful elegance erased the memories of these afore-mentioned horrors and the powerful star went back to working in movies of her calibre.
Image: Madhuri Dixit and Shah Rukh Khan in a scene from Dil To Pagal Hai
Just when you thought she's out, Rekha pulled herself back in with a love it or hate it brand of flamboyance and exaggerated glamour -- blonde wigs, kitschy bling, et al in Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi.
Competing with her genuinely junior co-star Raveena Tandon for Akshay Kumar's affections, the iconic beauty turned the heat on with the seduction sequence -- In the night no control.
From rolling in mud to taking a shower, the Khiladi and Ms Khubsoorat did it all. While the audience lapped her style in KKK or even a vintage-themed appearance in Parineeta, they weren't so generous when it came to her ostentatious act in Yatra.
Image: Akshay and Rekha in a scene from Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi