2013/14 seems to be a sort of comeback for Bollywood divas who had ruled the silver-screen with their charm and power house acting ability.
It has been a return of sorts for the Dhak Dhak girl whose film 'Dedh Ishqiya' hit the screens early this year. The film did not do as well as one would have envisaged the business prospects for the Abhishek Chaubey directed sequel of the original 'Ishqiya' that starred Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi, but then Madhuri’s role of Begum Para was appreciated a lot and the film went on to do a decent business.
And after 'Dedh Ishqiya', it is 'Gulaab Gang' that has hit the screens. Also returning to big time cinema is Juhi Chawla, another girl who had made her presence felt in the ’90s, when she entered Bollywood with the film 'Sultanat'. Juhi who was a Miss India winner, went on to do several more films like 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak', 'Darr', 'Mr and Mrs Khiladi', in the Hindi movie industry. She remained Madhuri Dixit’s biggest competitor for the longest time ever, but Madhuri was always ahead of Juhi all the while.
Perhaps that is one reason why the effervescent and cute looking Juhi had to opt for the antagonist’s role in 'Gulaab Gang', which is a first for her too.
'English Vinglish' sees the return of Srdevi to the big screen after a gap of 15 years.
For more than three decades the mononymous Sridevi, 49, dominated the silver screen like a colossus, starring in a series of blockbuster films that set cash registers ringing. Sridevi's effortless acting and spontaneity are the hallmark of her performances. She will be remembered for her dances, her iconic films and her ability to connect with audiences. When you think of cinema of the 80s, you think of Sridevi.
Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee attends the premiere of 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'. (Sanskriti Media Entertainment)
Also trying to make a mark this year with her film 'Mardani' is Rani Mukherji who had debuted in the ’90s film 'Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat'. Also having done films like 'Ghulam', 'Hey Ram', and 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', Rani was firmly in the driver’s seat then. But a series of flops in the last few years has made Rani also try and work hard in what can be touted as a comeback vehicle 'Mardani' where she essays the role of a cop for the first time in her career. She did play a cop’s wife in the Aamir Khan film 'Talaash', but has now decided to don the Khakee herself in this film for Yash Raj Films.
'Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin' and 'Daddy' girl Pooja Bhatt also has been in talks with Kalpana Lajmi to produce and act in her film 'Dhumua' on the life of Dr Bhupen Hazarika. Kalpana who has been Dr Hazarika’s companion for many years now has also convinced Pooja to play her in the film.
"I have been flattered by the offer," says Pooja who has been off films as an actor after Everybody Says I Am Fine. "It is reason enough for me to start working out."
Pooja will thus play her second real life character in the form of Kalpana Lajmi in this film, having played the role of Tamanna, a girl adopted by a eunuch in the eponymous film directed by Mahesh Bhatt and produced by Pooja herself.
Raveena Tandon, the Mast Mast girl also makes a comeback with a couple of films this year. Her film 'Bombay Velvet' for Anurag Kashyap where she plays a dancer in a film set in the ’60s. The film also has Karan Johar with her in an important role. "Anurag’s film is such that I just can’t say no. I have seen ‘Bombay Velvet’ as much as it is shot and it was amazing. It’s a small role that I am playing alongside Karan (Johar). The film is absolutely out of the world and is something that I will be proud to be a part of. I have already heard the script for Anurag’s film, and it is something that will challenge me as an actor.”
And after an attenuated hiatus she is back in the movies now. She will also be seen in a film called 'Shobhana’s Seven Nights' opposite newcomer Amit Purohit. The film which was to have released last year, seems to have hit a roadblock for several reasons.
Urmila Matondkar who has also been doing films on and off, will be seen making her debut in a Marathi film called 'Ajoba' but is not really contemplating any Hindi film role.
Urmila plays a wildlife biologist in the said film. The film tells the tale of of a 120 km and 29-day journey of a leopard from Pune to Mumbai.