Top 10 Actresses who ruled the Bollywood

The Indian film industry has always produced male-oriented films barring a few exceptions. However, there were some female leads that always took the industry by storm by their great performance and stood high despite all odds. They had their own identity and never were a shadow of their male counterparts. We have listed the top 10 bollywood beauties that have left a great impression on the Indian audience.1. Nutan Behl

Born on 4 June, 1936, Nutan is one of the brightest gems of Indian Film Industry. The eldest daughter of Shobhana Samarth, Nutan Behl, is said to be by far the most attractive and sensitive actresses of Bollywood. She is one of the very few divas who have served the industry for almost five decades playing a variety of roles, starting as a child artist, to leading roles then character roles with great élan.

When Nutan was only 14, she starred in a film directed by her mother Shobhana appropriately titled “Hamari Beti”. That film marked her debut. 1951 set Nutan’s career on a roll with her being crowned the first Miss India and the release of “Hum Log” and “Nagina”. These films announced the arrival of Nutan on the stage of Bollywood.

Her first big break was “Seema” released in 1955, for which she won a Filmfare Award. She followed her success with a romantic comedy, “Paying Guest”, in which she co-starred with Dev Anand. In 1959 she starred in two hit films, “Anari” (with Raj Kapoor) and Bimal Roy’s Sujata (with Sunil Dutt). These movies showed that Nutan’s unique quality, which set her apart from her contemporaries, was that she was a thinking actress who tried to perceive the undeveloped motivations of her characters. Her expressions spoke more than her words.

Nutan’s pairing with Lata Mangeshkar worked wonders and the duo together gave a number of hits. The voice of Lata combined with the expressive emotions of Nutan proved to be a success story. Nutan was also quite daring for her times and she was one of the first actresses daring enough to wear a bikini, which she did in “Dilli Ka Thug”.

Nutan’s personal life had not been as bright as her career. She had an arranged marriage on October 11, 1959 with Lt. Commander Rajish Behl, a boy her mother had chosen for her. A son, Mohnish, was born to them in 1963. When Nutan found out that her mom had been misappropriating her earnings, she filed a Civil suit and broke off all relationship with her. The relationship with her mom remained strained until Nutan was diagnosed with cancer.

Nutan once again came to the limelight with the release of “Bandini” in 1963. Bandini is still remembered as one of the finest performances by an Indian actress. Throughout the 60’s Nutan gave great performances in films like Chhaila, Manzil, Surat aur Seerat, Dil Hi Toh Hai, Chaandi Ki Deewar, Khandaan, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, Milan, Bhai Behan etc. She won the Filmfare Best Actress Award for the fourth time for her performance in Milan.

She again gave award winning performances in “Saudagar” (1973) and “Mein Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki” (1978). She maintained her gracious and sensitive style when she started playing maternal roles in the 80’s. She starred next to Dilip Kumar in the box office hit “Karma” in 1986.

Nutan passed away on February 21, 1991 at the age of 54, but this star of Indian Film Industry will keep shining forever and showing the way for all talented newcomers in Bollywood.

2. Nargis

Nargis was a major Indian star during the ’40s and ’50s recognized for her charisma, tremendous dignity, great intelligence, and ability to play a variety of roles ranging from shy coquettes to westernized women. Nargis was born on June 1, 1929 as Fatima Rashid, the daughter of the Allahabad-based singer, Jaddanbai and Uttamchand Mohanchand. Nargis, her stage name, means “Narcissus”, the flower. She was always credited as Nargis in all of her films.

Nargis started her career as a child artist in “Talashe Haq”, she quickly progressed to playing lead roles and became the top actresses of her era. She made her debut as an actress in “Tamanna” released in 1942. She appeared in a number of movies after that the most popular being Humayun (1945), Nargis (1946), Mela (1948), Aag (1948), Barsaat (1949), Jogan (1950).

Nargis paired well with Raj Kapoor and together they developed both a personal and professional partnership and gave Hindi cinema some of its best classics. Their first was Aag release in 1948. Their first blockbuster an onscreen couple was the unforgettable “Barsaat” released in 1949. The famous hit song Pyaar Hua Iqrar Hua is still considered as one of the finest romantic songs ever. Barsaat was followed by another hit “Aawara” in 1951 and “Shree 420” in 1955. Both films still maintain top positions amongst Bollywood’s finest classics. A portion of their success could be attributed to their fame as real life couple. Their romantic entanglement provided fans with hours of gossipy entertainment as Kapoor was a married man.

Nargis’s best performance came with perhaps Indian cinema’s greatest work Mehboob Khan’s “Mother India”. The film was critically acclaimed and a box office wonder and it topped all charts. The film grossed over Rs. 40 million the highest for any Indian film at that time. The film is still respected by the audience and critics of all ages and generations. It was the first Indian film to be nominated for Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Nargis played the role of a mother who killed her rebellious son for the goodwill of the whole village thus becoming the ‘mother’ of the entire village. She also won the Filmfare Best Actress Award for that role.

One year later Nargis married her co-star of Mother India Sunil Dutt. The marriage seemed scandalous to many at the time, because Sunil had played her son in the movie.

After the marriage, Nargis retired from films to raise her children and to volunteer for charitable work, but she still remained active in the film industry using her friendship with Indira Gandhi to help lobby for better conditions for filmmakers. In 1980 she became a member of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament).

Pancreatic cancer claimed Nargis on May 3, 1981, ironically the same year her son Sanjay Dutt made his Bollywood debut with Rocky. Nargis and her movies, (approximately 50) which spanned from 1935 through on to 1967, continue to be popular even now.

3. Madhubala

Who can forget the dove-eyed Madhubala who is the epitome of on-screen beauty and still the most beautiful actress Bollywood ever had. She had name and fame but not enough life. The actress died at a young age of 36!! She was born on 14/02/1933 and died on 23/02/1969 and in that period that she acted she did 70 films.

Her early life was full of struggles. Born to Atauallah Khan and Mumtaz Jehan Begum in a conservative family of Pathan Muslims, she started in a cow shed in Jogeshwari courtesy of a Bhaiya from UP. For her first role as a child star, she was paid 50 rupees and then 50 rupees more because the father said he has to accompany her and hence can not do a job.
After about five years of playing child roles, Devika Rani called for her to come for her film Jwar Bhata. She was rechristened to Madhubala. Madhubala got her first break in a lead role in Neel Kamal (1947). Her true success came with the movie Mahal (1949), which literally made her a superstar overnight. The list of movies to her credit is long, some of them being Sharabi (1964) Half Ticket (1962), Mughal-E-Azam (1960), Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), Jaali Note (1960), Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Howrah Bridge (1958), Phagun (1958), Mr. & Mrs. ‘55 (1955), Badal (1951), Neki Aur Badi (1949), Amar Prem (1948), Lal Dupatta (1948), Pujari (1946). Not many would know Madhubala had charged twice that was paid to Dilip Kumar for Mughal e Azam when the movie had gone on the floor.

She was romantically involved with a number of men. She worked with most of them and some of them were very respectable film personalities. Be it Latif, Mohan Sinha, Kamal Amrohi, Premnath, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Dilip Kumar, Pradeep Kumar, Bhart Bhushan and finally Kishore Kumar. Men just fell for her beauty and charms. The list can go on and on.

To get Dilip interested in her she sent a red rose with a message. Dilip was impressed but got furious when he later came to know that she had done the same with Premnath not long ago and was going strong with him. He never forgave her for that. Never ever, not even when she was on her death bed. Kishore Kumar who was her last love and eventually her husband – married her despite her illness.

Her ailing heart was kept hidden from the industry. Often she would cough blood on the sets. Ultimately she died of her heart problem and Kishore Kumar took no time in forgetting her and remarrying.

4. Hema Malini

Hema Malini was born in the Tamil-speaking Chakravarthy household on October 16, 1948 in Ammankudi, Tamil Nadu. Her dad’s name is V.S.R. Chakravarthy and her mom, Jaya, was a film producer. She was enrolled in the Chennai-based Andhra Mahila Sabha. She was the second South Indian actress after Vyjayantimala to be a successful Bollywood star.

She performed as a dancer in the regional film “Pandava Vanavasam” in 1961. She wanted to start her acting career in 1964, but she was rejected by the Tamil director Shridhar on the grounds that she had no star appeal, but Hema did not give up and made her debut with a bang starring opposite to the legendary Raj Kapoor in “Sapnon ka Saudagar” in 1968. The film’s posters splashed her pictures with the catch phrase Dreamgirl. Though the film flopped, Hema the dream girl had arrived.

Her next films were “Waris” and “Jahan Pyar Mile”. The films failed but Hema survived with “Johnny Mera Naam” in 1970. Her next major success came with her famous double role in “Seeta aur Geeta” in 1972 where she starred next to Sanjeev Kumar and Dharmendra. It was her first successful project with Dharmendra, the couple went on to be one of the hottest on screen couple before they became real life partners when they tied the knot, but it was not an easy marriage. Dharmendra, who was already married to Prakash Kaur, and had two sons, Sunny and Bobby, could not marry Hema as Prakash refused to divorce him. According to the Hindu Marriage Act, a Hindu cannot marry a second time while the first wife is still alive. Dharmendra belongs to a Arya Samaj Hindu Punjabi Jatt family. On August 21, 1979, both Hema and Dharmendra converted to Islam, changed their names to Aisha Bi R. Chakravarty and Dilawar Khan Kewal Krishn respectively, and got married in accordance with Islamic rites.

Hema kept on starring in one hit after the other like Tere Mere Sapney, Gora aur Kaala, Garam Masala, Baabul ki Galiyan etc. “Sholay” released in 1975 gave her career a huge boost. Basanti became an icon in Indian Film Industry and her dance number Jab Tak Hai Jaan Mein Naachungi became one of the most loved dance numbers ever. The movie went on to become the single greatest hit of Bollywood completing its Golden Jubilee.

After Sholay, Hema gave other hits like Charas (1976), Chacha Bhatija (1977), The Burning Train (1980), Satte Pe Satta (1982) etc. With increasing age Hema shifted to playing character roles, but with same grace and style. She appeared in Jamai raja (1991), Hey Ram (2000), Baghban (2003), Veer-Zaara (2004), and Baabul (2006) in character roles, playing each one of the with immense élan.

Hema’s priorities have now shifted to politics. She is a member of the right-winged Bharatiya Janata Party, and a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.

5. Rekha

Born in 1954 at Chennai, Rekha is considered to be the “Eternal Diva of Bollywood”. Being the daughter of the well known film superstar Gemini Ganeshan and actress Pushpavalli studio became her playground and she started nurturing her acting skills from a very young age. She started acting from as early as 1966 when she appeared as a child actor in the Telegu film “Rangula Ratnam”. Rekha made her debut as heroine in the successful Kannada film “Goadalli CID 999” with Dr. Rajkumar in 1969.

Her first Hindi release was “Sawan Bhado” in 1970 which was a major hit and made her a star overnight. During the period 1970-1973 she starred in movies like Ammakosam, Barkha Bahar, Rampur ka Lakshman. Gora aur Kala, Dharma etc. Dharma was a major hit and put Rekha in the limelight but the real big hit came with Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s “Namak Haram” in 1973 in which Rekha starred next to the Bollywood kings Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna.

Her pairing with Amitabh Bachchan has been most successful of all and together they gave great hits like Muqaddar ka Sikandar, Mr. Natwarlal, Silsila etc. Silsila with its controversial subject again made Rekha the center of attention. She was rumored to be Amitabh’s real life flame and the film gossip column may have contributed to her success.

She bagged the Nation Film Award for Best Actress in 1981 for her outstanding performance in the bollywood blockbuster “Umrao Jaan”. The movie was commercially successful and was critically acclaimed as well.

Rekha is known to have played a variety of roles from police officer in ‘Insaaf ka Taraazu’, a perfect housewife in ‘Biwi ho toh Aisi’ to sensuous Mansi in ‘Aastha’. Rekha can claim to have one of the widest varieties of roles under her belt and she played each and every one of them with natural perfection.

Recently Rekha’s Bollywood career has taken a backseat with her appearing in very few movies with short roles of a widowed mother (Krrish) or a glamorous stage singer (Parineeta). Rekha’s forthcoming films include Yaatra, Bajirao Mastani and the much awaited Krrish 2.

6. Madhuri Dixit (Nene)

Born on 15th May 1967, Madhuri Dixit is the Marlyn Monroe of Bollywood. This beauty of Bollywood is full of talent with great acting skills, charms and dancing abilities. She is considered to be one of the best Bollywood has ever seen. She has stolen the hearts of everyone of all ages Be it young college students or famous painters like M.F. Hussain her charm has enticed all.

She made her acting debut in “Abodh” in 1986. The film was a box-office disaster and failed miserably. The future looked dim for this diva when this was followed by other flops like Aawara Baap, Swati, Hifazat etc. The year 1988 was the turning point in her career when she was re-launched by Subhash Ghai in the legendary hit. This was followed by Dayavaan and Tezaab. She starred next to Vinod Khanna in the former and the dashing Anil Kapoor in the latter. Tezaab made her a dancing sensation in India and the Ek-Do-Teen girl with her sensational dance and sensuous facial expressions started a new cult in Bollywood.

Dil” added another accomplishment to her list when her performance in the blockbuster movie won her the Filmfare Best Actress Award. Again the movie was appreciated both by the fans and the critics for years to come and the film completed its Golden Jubilee.

Dil was followed by “100 Days” and “Saajan” in 1991 which were huge success at the box office and established Madhuri Dixit as the crown princess of Bollywood. Then came Indra Kumar’s “Beta” in 1992 which again was one of the biggest box office hits. The film won her the Filmfare Best Actress Award. Her sensuous dance number in Dhak Dhak karne laga established her as the ‘Dhak Dhak’ girl who stole the hearts of millions.

Her famous item number ‘Choli ke Peeche’ in Khalnayak in 1993 placed her in the centre of a huge controversy and again brought her in the spotlight. She was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actress Award for the same movie. 1994 was perhaps the best year in the career of Madhuri with two of her biggest hits “Anjaam” and “Hum Aapke Hain Kaun” releasing that year. While her role in Anjaam, where she played a vengeful damsel, was greatly applauded by the critics, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun recorded the single greatest hit ever breaking the record of Sholay. The film won her the Filmfare Best Actress Award for the 3rd time.

Indra Kumar’s “Raja” (1995) was another one of her hits. Though the film had many flaws her role won the critics recognition. Unfortunately after that had been downhill for Madhuri with a series of flops like Prem Granth, Koyla, Mrityudand etc. Critics commented that it was time for Madhuri to pack her bags and leave the industry but then came her performances in Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997) which once again who her the Filmfare Best Actress Award. She once again starred in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Devdas” in 2002. The film was commercially successful and she proved once again that she has neither lost her acting talents nor her dancing skills.

After her marriage in 1999 films have moved down the priority list for Madhuri and she is devoting more time to her personal life taking care of her two sons Arin and Ryan. She is though starring in a few films the most recent in line being ‘Aaja Nach Le’. Let us hope that we get to see more of this dashing diva of Bollywood.

7. Juhi Chawla

Innocent, sweet and bubbly Juhi Chawla was the first child born to Punjabi father Dr. S. Chawla and Gujarati mother, Mona. She has one brother named Sanjeev. She graduated from Sydenham College, Mumbai, Maharastra. She was crowned Miss India in 1984 and she won the best costume award in the Miss Universe contest that year.

From beauty contests, she moved into film – with her movie debut being “Sultanat” in 1986. The film was not a huge success at the box office. Her next project was the Kannada film “Permaloka” which was a superhit. Her next Bollywood appearance was the superhit film “Quayamat Se Quayamat Tak” where she starred next to Aamir Khan. The pair went on to be one of the most successful on screen couples industry has ever seen.

The next few films were not very successful for Juhi. Love Love Love, Goonj, Kaafila, Swarg all bombed at the box office, but Juhi Chawla hit the hotspot with Dharmesh Darshan’s “Lootere”. A song on the beach in just a plain white shirt was enough for her to be labeled hot.

Her second innings in Bollywood started with a series of hits starting with “Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman” in 1992 followed by “Bol Radha Bol” (1992) and “Lootere” in 1993. Next came Yash Raj’s “Darr” which was a blockbuster hit and one of the greatest hits of the 90’s. With this performance she was suddenly placed right at the top and became one of the toughest contenders for the no. 1 title. Darr was followed by another hit “Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke” for which she won the Filmfare Best Actress award.

Her pairing with Shahrukh has also been successful. Together they gave Bollywood hits like Ram Jaane, Yes Boss, Duplicate etc. Together they also started a film production firm Dreamz Unlimited. The first movie by the production house was “Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani” released in 2000. Her best performances between the period 1997 and 2002 included “Ishq” and “Arjun Pandit”.

Recent years have not been that successful for Juhi and her career seems to be on a low. Lately she starred in “My Brother Nikhil” in 2005 which was not commercially successful but critically acclaimed, “Bas Ek Pal” (2006), Salaam-e-Ishq (2007) etc. Her forthcoming releases include “Swami” and “Bhoothnath” both of which are set to be released in 2007.

Juhi is married to the famous industrialist Jai Mehta. She gave birth to her first child, a girl, on February 21, 2001. Her daughter’s name is Jhanvi. Chawla later gave birth to a son called Arjun.

8. Kajol Mukherjee (Devgan)

Acting runs in her blood and her natural bent for acting is well reflected in the ease with which she plays variety of roles. Yes, we are talking about Kajol, daughter of Tanuja and Shomu Mukherjee. Be it her maternal aunt Nutan Behl or her maternal grandmother Shobhna Samarth and maternal great grandmother Rattan Bai, they wee all yesteryears movie stars. Kajol’s younger sister Tanisha has also joined the industry and has films like ‘Niel and Nikki’, ‘Sarkar’, etc to her credit.

Kajol was born on 5th August 1974 in Mumbai and has a happy and comfortable childhood. She debuted with the film ‘Bekhudi’ in 1992 which was a box office disaster. The came her film ‘Baazigar’ with Shahrukh Khan and the industry started talking about this not-so-glamorous girl who seemed to have acting potentials. Her next flick ‘Udhar Ki Zindagi’ truly brought out her flair for acting. In 1998 she again had a hit with Shahrukh Khan in ‘Kara Arjun’.

Kajol was best paired on-screen with actor Shah Rukh Khan and both make a magical romantic pair. In fact, each of her five movies with him (Baazigar, Karan Arjun, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and Kabhi Khushie Kabhi Gham) have all gone on to become super-hits and blockbusters. She has appeared with her husband Ajay Devgan in movies like ‘Hulchul’, ‘Gundaraj’, ‘Raju Chacha’,,, ‘Ishq’ and ‘Pyar to Hona Hi Tha’ among which the last two were commercially successful.

In her short filmi career, Kajol has got rave reviews along with a lot of awards. The latter includes Filmfare Best Actress Award for ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ (1995), Filmfare Best Villain Award and Zee Cine Award Best Actor in a Negative Role for ‘Gupt‘ (1997), Filmfare Best Actress Award and Zee Cine Award Best Actor- Female for ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai ‘ (1998), Star Screen Award Best Actress for Dushman (1998), Filmfare Best Actress Award and Star Screen Award Best Actress for ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (2001), Zee Cine Special Award for Outstanding Performance- Female for ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (2001).

Her marriage to Ajay Devgan in February 24, 1999 was a quiet affair where only a few close friends and relatives were invited. The newly wed couple went on a two month honeymoon traveling the world visiting such places as Sydney & Cairo. The couple has carried off their marriage well and compliment each other perfectly as Kajol is known for a bubbly, cheerful and extrovert nature and Ajay is shy, serious and introvert. Post marriage Kajol has cut down the number of movies to spend more time with her family. She had a miscarriage but was blessed with a baby girl in 2003 whom she named Nyasa.

The films which were released after the marriage include ‘Raju Chacha’ (2000), ‘Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi’ (2001), Karan Johar’s ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’ (2001) and ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ (2003). She gave a brilliant performance in ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’. After this movie, she stayed away from the film industry for a while. In 2006, she came back enacting the role of a blind Kashmiri girl with Aamir Khan in Kunal Kohli’s ‘Fanaa‘ which again showed that the journey is not over for this talented gem of Bollywood.

9. Rani Mukherjee

The Bong beauty Rani Mukherjee was born on 21st March 1978. Being the daughter of the famous director Ram Mukherjee and the cousin of one of the greatest actresses Kajol, the road ahead for Rani Mukherjee has been clear. She did a small cameo role in her father’s Bengali film “Biyer Phool” in 1992 at a very young age of 14.

She made her Bollywood debut when Salim Akthar came up with “Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat” in 1996. The film bombed at the box office and Rani’s career took a back seat with her devoting her attention back to completing her studies. She was back with a bang with “Ghulam” in 1998 where she starred opposite to Aamir Khan. Thought the film was very successful at the box office a few critics raised some questions on her acting skills and commented on her hoarse voice. Rani’s response was her brilliant performance in Karan Johar’s “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” where she played the hot and sexy Tina and won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award.

Again in 1998 she gave another brilliant performance in “Mehndi”. After a few flops like Hello Brother, Baadal, Bichhoo she once again came into the limelight with her controversial performance in “Hey Ram” (2000). The film itself was a centre of discussion with its controversial subject matter and her steamy kiss scene with Kamal Hasan just added spice to the discussion. The film though was India’s official entry for the Oscars.

Between 2000 and 2002 she did quite a few films like Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega, Nayak, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, Mujhse Dosti Karoge etc. Some of them were commercially successful but none were huge box office hits. Her next big hit was “Saathiya” in 2002. She won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance and was nominated for Filmfare Best Actress Award for her role in that film. The film was also screened at the Casablanca Film Festival.

Again her career went through a quiet phase before the release of Yuva in 2004. The film was a huge box office hit and her role also won critically acclaimed. This was just the beginning, Rani’s career has been on a rise ever since. Yuva was followed by “Hum Tum” for which she won the Filmfare Best Actress Award and “Veer Zaara” which was another box office hit.

But the world had yet to see the best Rani had to offer which came with the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Black” where her role as Michelle won her appreciation, fame and recognition all round. She won both the Filmfare Best Actress Award and the Critics Award that year for this role. The film was screened at the Casablanca Film Festival and The International Film Festival of India.

Black was followed by other hits like Bunty Aur Babli, Paheli and Mangal Panday The Rising in 2005. In 2006 Rani once again topped the charts with “Kabhi Alvida Na kehna” and Baabul. The most recent of Rani’s releases has been “Ta ra Rum Pum” where she stars next to Saif Ali Khan.

With Rani’s career at its peak Rani has a long list of movies queued up for release next in line being “Laaga Chunari Mein Daag” followed by “Saawariya”. With Rani giving one hit performance after the other one gets a feeling that this Bong beauty is just getting started and has a great career ahead of her!

10. Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan)

Born into a traditional South Indian family Aishwarya Rai popularly called as ‘Ash’ is one of Bollywood’s pre-eminent leading ladies. She started modeling at a very young age and appeared in a number of commercials but it was the Pepsi ad with Mahima Choudhary that really brought her into the limelight. In 1994 she was the runner-up to the Miss India contest and became a strong contender for the Miss World crown which she won.

Ash stormed into the Indian movie industry, where she has proven herself a brilliant & genuine actress. Her performance in “Iruvar” (1997) was critically acclaimed. She made her Bollywood debut with Rahul Rawail’s “Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya” (1997). Though the film was not commercially successful it won her the “Screen best female debutant award”. The South Indian movie “Jeans” was her first commercially successful film.

The year 1999 saw a steep rise in the career graph of Ash with her blockbuster hits “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” and “Taal”. Her performances in both the films were highly applauded and she won the “Filmfare Best Actress Award” for the former. These films answered the questions raised by critics on her acting talents and proved that she was not just looks and charms but a rare talent that could deliver emotions, dialogues and dance with great élan.

Between 2000 and 2001 she starred in a number of films like Josh, Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, Albela, Mohabbatein etc. and starred next to major actors like Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Govinda etc. In 2002 she landed a role in the lavishly produced “Devdas” next to Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. The film was a major box-office hit. It won her the Filmfare Best Actress Award and also received international acclaim. The film was screened at the Cannes film festival. It was during that time that Ash signed a few Hollywood projects as well.

After that Rai stormed the international stage and claimed world wide recognition by being a regular at the Cannes film festival. She was a member of the jury in 2003. She was chosen as one of the World’s “100 Most Influential People” by the Time magazine in 2004. She was the subject of a 60 Minutes profile on January 2. A month later she appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. She was also featured on Oprah’s “Women Across the Globe” segment.

Ash’s first foreign film was “Pride and Prejudice” which was followed by the “Mistress of Spices” which though was not commercially successful earned the critics respects.

At the end of 2006 she starred in “Dhoom 2” which again brought her back to attention. She starred next to Hritik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan. Her marriage to the latter was a grand affair in April 2007. With much media attention and hype, Aishwarya joined the famous Bachchan family post a traditional marriage.

Aishwarya Bachchan’s forthcoming releases include Jodha-Akbar, Sarkar 2 (in which she would be starring next to her husband), Raaste and Happy Birthday. She also has a long lineup of her Hollywood releases including movies like The Rebel, Chaos and Singularity in which she is starring with “The Mummy” fame Brandon Fraiser. Looks like the future is bright for the “Queen of Bollywood”.

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