Television -- last resort for Bollywood's heroines?
The news that Preity Zinta had taken up a television show was nothing short of a shocker. While some may say this clearly meant film offers had become few and far in between, the bubbly actress says she's just using the time she has before the IPL begins.
Preity, who's hosting Guinness World Records Ab India Todega, recently clarified in a magazine interview, 'I didn't want to take up anything that would clash with IPL. I want to give undivided attention to the IPL but that wouldn't be possible if I signed a movie at this time.'
Whatever her reason, Preity is not alone in following this trajectory. Increasingly, Bollywood's actresses are turning to television once their filmi careers start petering out. We start with Preity herself:
Although this dimpled beauty gained recognition early on with her Liril ad, she ventured into films much later with Kya Kehna (her first release, however, was Shah Rukh Khan's Dil Se).
After witnessing a meteoric rise with films like Kal Ho Na Ho and Koi... Mil Gaya, she took a couple of missteps with the disastrous Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Heroes. Her decision to take up films like Main aur Mrs Khanna, Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha and Jaan-E-Man did not help matters.
Preity turned to alternative cinema but, unfortunately, The Last Lear and Heaven On Earth didn't help her career.
Her film with Shiney Ahuja, Har Pal, ran into trouble when Shiney was charged with (and convicted) with raping his domestic help. Three years on, it is yet to see the light of the day.
Now, Preity devotes all her free time to her IPL team, Kings XI Punjab.
Image: Preity Zinta
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
The Dhak-Dhak girl captured everyone's imagination with her first successful film, Tezaab. What followed was a string of super-successful films including Dil, Saajan, Beta and Khalnayak.
Sooraj Barjatya's Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, which became one of the highest grossers of all time, cemented her position as Bollywood's top commercial actress.
Post-marriage, she moved to Denver, USA. She was wooed back to anchor India's first ever reality show, Kahin Na Kahin Koi Hai. It brought together families seeking matrimonial alliances for their children; Madhuri played matchmaker.
The show didn't click, neither did her big screen comeback, Aaja Nachle.
Madhuri retreated into domesticity, but returned to judge the hugely successful Jhalak Dikhla Jai, Season 3. Madhuri was third time lucky!
Image: Madhuri Dixit
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
Once declared a has-been in the film industry, Shilpa Shetty has many reasons to smile today.
Shilpa had waned from the big screen long before she got married. Though she bounced back with notable performances in films like Dhadkan and Phir Milenge, her new-found success did not last long.
Searching for greener pastures, Shilpa landed in the British television reality show Big Brother and won. That led to celebrityhood in the UK, where she met her future husband Raj Kundra.
Post marriage and a sizzling item number in Dostana, she took anchored Bigg Boss, Season 2 and was last seen as a judge on celebrity dance reality show, Zara Nachke Dikha.
Image: Shilpa Shetty
For most of her part, Sonali Bendre teetered at the threshold of stardom.
Though not really an A-lister, she was a popular mainstream actress and appeared in successful films like Sarfarosh, Hum Saath Saath Hain and Zakhm. But, like everybody else, her time eventually ran out.
She settled for marital bliss with filmmaker Goldie Behl in 2002 and debuted on television as a judge on Indian Idol 4.
She didn't have to work too hard; Indian Idol had already become an established brand. Then followed the popular India's Got Talent.
Image: Sonali Bendre
This Kapoor girl had a long, illustrious run in Bollywood.
Starting out in her teens with Prem Quaidi, she emerged as one of the most successful commercial actresses in the nineties, giving hit after hit with her co-star Govinda.
She was later seen in author-backed roles in films like Zubeidaa and Fiza.
Karisma made her television debut in 2003 with Karishma: A Miracle of Destiny, a series that was largely panned by critics.
She took a break from full-time acting and returned in 2008 to judge the reality show, Nach Baliye.
Image: Karisma Kapoor
This Nepali beauty was one of the most unusual actresses of her time. Her repertoire of films includes the likes of Bombay, Agni Sakshi and Dil Se.
Manisha thought she found her second calling in television when she was offered the show, Sawaal Dus Crore Ka, with Anupam Kher. A rip-off of Kaun Banega Crorepati, the gameshow was poorly scripted and saw Manisha ill-at-ease as anchor.
It went off air very soon.
Manisha married businessman Samrat Dahal and settled in Nepal in 2010.
Image: Manisha Koirala
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
Amrita Singh, who had given hits like Sunny and Betaab, had been happily married for 13 years. Her domestic life unravelled when husband Saif Ali Khan set eyes on Italian beauty Rosa Catalano and the couple parted ways.
Post separation, she took on the offer to play a mother in Ekta Kapoor's teleserial, Kaavyanjali. Although this created quite a buzz in the industry, the show failed to replicate the success of Ekta's earlier soaps.
Image: Amrita Singh