PIX: Bollywood's Top 25 Sex Symbols
Sexy is a point of view.
For some, it's about persona. For others, it's about revelation. Still others believe it's a blend of both that leads to the ultimate seduction of the viewer.
Over the years, it's fascinating to note how its definition has dramatically altered, both, in terms of projection and perception.
Here's a look at Bollywood's Top 25 Sex Symbols from yesterday and today to witness the influence of changing times.
It was her spectacular, uninhibited antics, and not just her golden hair and light eyes with which the Australia born Mary Ann Evans, Hindi cinema's first action heroine (Hunterwali) lit cinema screens during the 1930s.
At a time when demure was the norm, Fearless Nadia breathed life into her all-powerful moniker with a distinct individuality that made her, at once, effortlessly sexy and immensely desirable.
Image: Fearless Nadia
Resistance was futile when Madhubala's bewitching smile and twinkling eyes compelled the viewer into submission with her seductive rendition of Aaiye meherbaan in Howrah Bridge.
Her unmatched beauty, curvy figure and sense of mischief, whether she was a drenched subject of Kishore Kumar's scrutiny in Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi) or drawing Dilip Kumar's attention in Mughal-E-Azam, made her a rare combination of star and seductress.
Blessed with an elfin figure and alluring dimples, the star of An Evening in Paris, Aradhana and Daag rocked her 'if you got it flaunt it' motto in stylish swimsuits and teasing butterfly knot blouses in movies and magazine covers.
Image: Sharmila Tagore
Her sizzling moves and face of a porcelain doll made for a winning combination in countless cabarets and seduction scenarios like Teesri Manzil, Caravan, Sholay, Don and Inkaar.
It's no surprise Helen ruled the roost (and our hearts) as the inimitable dancing queen of Hindi films.
From secondary supporting roles to top-league leading lady, the rise of Mumtaz is nothing short of phenomenal.
Nor was her ability to make men go jelly-kneed with her belly button show and breezy attitude in Aaj kal tere mere (Brahmachari) to a no-holds barred glam diva in Apradh.
Before she graduated to making life hell for all the daughters-in-law on celluloid, Bindu oozed unbridled oomph in long-slit gowns and figure hugging costumes in films like Kati Patang and Zanjeer.
Be it her numerous bubble bath sessions (Padosan, Jhuk Gaya Aasman) or embodying the bold, rebellious element in the East vs West argument of Purab Aur Paschim, being glamorous was never an endeavour for the intrinsically sophisticated and sensual Saira Banu.
Image: Saira Banu
It took the leggy splendour and unorthodox allure of Zeenat Aman to challenge Bollywood stereotypes and make what others perceived as disadvantage one of her most definitive assets.
Filmmakers like Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Feroz Khan picked up this quality to showcase her in this very light.
The upshot was, of course, very, very, VERY hot.
Image: Zeenat Aman
Parveen Babi's exquisite looks, sleek poise and gorgeous, long, lustrous hair, always impeccably in place evokes a glitzy imagery of the late star's songs from Shaan, Namak Halal and a scorching outing in the small-budget Yeh Nazdikiyan.
Image: Parveen Babi
As opposed to the more westernised aesthetics of her afore-mentioned colleagues, the buxom Rekha cast a spell on viewers with her irresistible Indianess.
Her profoundly kohl lined eyes, perfectly glossy crimson lips (which she often suggestively bit on), poetic dialogue delivery and dazzling arsenal of jewels in Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Umrao Jaan and Utsav underscored her sexuality like anything.
So does her provocative contribution to 'In the night no control' with Akshay Kumar in Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi.
Even as a teenager in Bobby, Dimple Kapadia with her abundant midriff, showed signs of a promising sex symbol.
And true to that indication, the actress and her luxuriant mane offered a supremely hot comeback in Saagar followed by, equally if not more, scintillating appearances in Insaaf and Jaanbaaz.
Image: Dimple Kapadia
When not flaunting her superb comic timing in double roles and histrionic skills in melodramas, Sridevi revealed her erotic side, even when dressed from head to toe, in romancing invisible heroes.
Namely, Kaate nahi in Mr India.
While most actresses tend to discard their glamour girl image once the accolades begin to pour in, Madhuri Dixit, even at the peak of her career, was more than happy to play up her reputation as every man's ultimate fantasy through lustful dance numbers like Dhak dhak (Beta), Humko aaj kal hai (Sailaab) and Choli ke peeche (Khalnayak).
Image: Madhuri Dixit
The erstwhile sex kitten may have chosen to lead a low-profile existence post-marriage to advertising photographer and film maker Shantanu Sheorey.
But Kimi Katkar's hourglass figure and cat eyes, in wake of her steamy Jane act in Tarzan and the insanely popular Jumma Chumma dance with Amitabh Bachchan in Hum, dominated the pin-up scene of the 80s and early 90s.
Image: Kimi Katkar
Better known as Mrs Rajiv Rai today, Bakhtawar, rechristened Sonam made quite a sexy impact in her short career.
Right from her red bikini introduction in Yash Chopra's Vijay, a dare-bare act of a college-going call girl in Mitti Aur Sona to jiggling her flat belly against Tridev's chartbuster Oye Oye.
While most Bollywood heroines choose to stay diplomatic and demure, Pooja Bedi with her 'bindaas' candour and blazing sexuality was dubbed an instant sex symbol.
Remember her red-hot ode to Marilyn Monroe's flying skirt moment in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander?
Image: Pooja Bedi
Despite a sweet face and screen presence, Mamta Kulkarni wasn't in the same league as her peers Karisma Kapoor, Raveena Tandon and Divya Bharti.
The best way to grab attention led her to pose topless on the cover of Stardust magazine. It worked too.
Although her exposure and pomposity may seem a tad meek in today's scenario, she's the original deal.
Image: Mamta Kulkarni
Call it the makeover of the decade or whatever, Urmila Matondkar's transformation from ho-hum to Holy Moly in Rangeela caught the entire nation in a delightful frenzy.
And considering the number of unsuccessful clones to follow proves how skimpy outfits alone can't do a thing if the star doesn't exude the right vibe.
Image: Urmila Matondkar
In her earliest interviews to rediff.com, Bipasha Basu joked, 'I have a sexy, glamour doll image which I want to get out of. But if nothing else works out, I shall cash in on it.'
Ajnabee, Jism, Race, No Entry, Dhoom 2, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Players.
Bottomline: Sexy and loving it since 2001.
Image: Bipasha Basu
The sassy star of Murder, Khwahish and countless magazine covers grabbed eyeballs with a record number of kisses, scant wardrobe and headline-worthy quotes.
And irrespective of her career or lack of it, only a fool would deny the woman's hot.
Image: Mallika Sherawat
Guys love women who know what they want.
The ever-so snazzy Priyanka Chopra conveys this picture of ambition or authority fluidly via films like Aitraaz, Fashion, Don, Dostana and Kaminey.
Of course she's so sought-after.
Image: Priyanka Chopra
She may have started out in the classic mould but Kareena Kapoor's talent to turn on the heat as Poo, Kaurwaki, Ra.One's romantic interest in a bright red sari and tempting nose ring or Size Zero is much too talked-about to overlook.
Image: Kareena Kapoor
Over the last couple of years Katrina Kaif has upped her spice girl quotient to justify her top ranking in 'Hottest/Sexiest/Prettiest' polls with an aggressive display of sexuality in item songs (Sheila ki jawani, Chikni Chameli) and the immensely evocative Aamsutra-Slice advertising campaign.
Image: Katrina Kaif
Malaika Arora Khan
Be it Dil Se..'s Chhaiya Chhaiya, Kaante's Mahi ve or Dabangg's Munni Badnaam, Malaika Arora with her ten-on-ten figure and nimble moves proves that the dancing star slot isn't a complete goner but needs a sexy someone like herself to justify its existence.
Image: Malaika Arora Khan
There's something inexplicably enticing about an individual comfortable in her own skin and saying it like it is.
It's called attitude and Vidya Balan wears it 24/7.
Before essaying a sex symbol in The Dirty Picture, Bollywood's current toast oozed voluptuous charm as the slyly flirtatious and mysterious woman in Ishqiya.
Image: Vidya Balan