Bollywood's A-List heroines, ranked
In a new monthly feature, we take five Bollywood names and pit them against one another, finding out who ranks higher in relative terms.
We begin with Bollywood's A-list heroines, a ranking which takes into consideration star power, box office success, acting talent and public perception.
For this list, I took the country's four highest paid heroines and a girl who seems destined to join them soon enough.
The other heroines, talented or successful as they may be, are yet to make it to the A-list.
Here's my ranking, feel free to disagree.
1. Katrina Kaif
Nothing disagrees with success, and Katrina Kaif seems to have hit that purple patch of Bollywood form where she can do no wrong.
She's churning out hits by the bucketload -- Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Raajneeti, De Dana Dan and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani were all successes of varying degree -- and even a universally panned film like Tees Maar Khan did wonders for Katrina as she set the screen ablaze with her Sheila routine.
She's apparently single now, and unencumbered by Salman Khan, her sex appeal seems to be going right through the roof. Just ask the mangoes she sells so, so well.
Image: Katrina Kaif in the Lux ad
2. Priyanka Chopra
Now, she stands as an impressive actress of better ability than most of her contemporaries. While her last few films might have failed -- 7 Khoon Maaf, Anjaana Anjaani, Pyaar Impossible and What's Your Rashee were all spectacular flops -- Chopra herself has already commandeered enough of a foothold in the industry to be a top heroine, despite the lack of commercial success.
She's a star. It's like Aishwarya Rai a few years ago.
Image: Priyanka Chopra in Lux ad
She started with a bang opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Yash Raj Films keeps claiming that her Badmaash Company made money, and last year's Band Bajaa Baraat deservedly catapulted her into the A-list.
Now she gets applause for even a Patiala House. Anushka's on the upswing, and producers around the country are only too glad to hitch their wagons onto her.
Image: Anushka Sharma on the cover of Maxim magazine
4. Kareena Kapoor
Sure, she's been a part of hits like Golmaal 3 and 3 Idiots but neither success was the actress' own, while films centering around her -- We Are Family, Kurbaan, Main Aur Mrs Khanna, and even the ancient Milenge Milenge -- haven't worked at all.
Yet, somewhat like Salman Khan, she's always larger-than-life and all it'll take for her to be on top again will be one hit. And this year she has three potential stunners lined up in Bodyguard, Ra.One and Agent Vinod.
Image: Kareena Kapoor in the Sony Viao ad
5. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Her last hit came with Jodha Akbar in 2008, following which she's stumbled abroad with The Pink Panther 2, and at home with Raavan, Action Replayy and Guzaarish, three massively hyped and tremendously underperforming films.
Rajnikanth-starrer Robot worked, but she was flayed for her weak performance in the film and, anyway, a Rajni film is just about the man.
Currently pregnant, Ash has opted out of Madhur Bhandarkar's Heroine, and since we aren't likely to see her bounce back on screen immediately after, she's going to have to step back and enjoy familial pleasures while the other girls make a bid for her status on the big screen.
Image: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the Longines watches ad