In­dia’s come­back queens

Se­nior in­dian actresses on a come­back trail are be­ing em­braced by the au­di­ence and pro­duc­ers.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - BY NEETA LAL

i N an in­dus­try that idolises youth, it is a tad ironic that a slew of Bol­ly­wood’s se­nior actresses – some push­ing 40 and oth­ers well past that thresh­old – are mak­ing strong come­back bids.

From Madhuri Dixit (44) to Sridevi (47), Raveena Tan­don (37) and Karishma Kapoor (37) to Pre­ity Zinta (36), the lure of the mar­quee is strik­ing the se­nior Bol­ly­wood bri­gade with a vengeance.

Not long ago, my­opic Bol­ly­wood could scarcely look be­yond teenaged nu­bile nymphets for its fe­male pro­tag­o­nists. Not any more. In fact, now is a great time to be a Bol­ly­wood ac­tress as mar­riage and kids no longer sound the death knell of a flour­ish­ing ca­reer. With 30 no longer the sellby date, film­mak­ers and view­ers too are more will­ing to ac­cept that moth­ers also can be al­lur­ing on screen. Never mind if they have re­sorted to sur­gi­cal in­ter­ven­tion, Botox and killer gym rou­tines to be in great shape.

Take Madhuri Dixit, for in­stance. Ac­claimed star of such 1990s block­busters as Ram Lakhan, Dil, Saa­jan and Hum Aaapke Hain Kaun, she es­chewed the arc lights at the height of her su­per­star­dom af­ter ty­ing the knot with Den­ver-based heart sur­geon Dr Shri­ram Nene. She re­lo­cated to the United States in 1999 and got busy with her two kids. In 2006, Madhuri re­turned to the sil­ver screen as the pro­tag­o­nist of the dis­as­trous Aaja Nachle.

This pro­pelled Madhuri back to do­mes­tic­ity. But the de­ter­mined ac­tress resur­faced this year with the thump­ing suc­cess of Jha­lak Dikhla Ja, a dance-based re­al­ity show on tele­vi­sion. This made pro­duc­ers sit up and take note of Madhuri’s still-strong con­nec­tion with the masses and they queued up to sign her.

The vet­eran ac­tor is now in the thick of ne­go­ti­a­tions with Bol­ly­wood big­gies and will re­port- edly star in the re­make of Satte Pe Satta, an 80s block­buster star­ring Amitabh Bachchan where she will share screen time with San­jay Dutt. Madhuri is also be­ing con­sid­ered as one of the two fe­male leads in the se­quel to Ishqiya, now re-chris­tened Dedh Ishqiya.

Sim­i­larly, the still gor­geous Sridevi – whose last out­ing was Ju­daai (1997) – is all set to re­turn to the sil­ver screen af­ter a 14-year hia­tus with English Vinglish. The movie will be di­rected by debu­tante di­rec­tor Gauri Shinde, wife of di­rec­tor, R Balki (of Paa fame).

Af­ter star­ring in such 90s hits as Him­mat­wala, Jaan­baaz, Mr In­dia and Chandni, Sridevi dis­ap­peared from the cin­e­matic radar af­ter her mar­riage to pro­ducer Boney Kapoor in 1996 and the birth of daugh­ters Jhanvi and Khushi.

Raveena Tan­don’s story has been strik­ingly sim­i­lar. Mar­ried to film dis­trib­u­tor Anil Thadani, this mother of two took a sab­bat­i­cal for five years. She is now warm­ing up for her ca­reer’s sec­ond in­nings and re­cently did an item song in the Amitabh Bachchan-star­rer Bbud­dah Hoga Terra Baap. Next, she will be seen act­ing op­po­site, San­jay Dutt in a psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller, Alert.

But Raveena re­fuses to call her re­turn a come­back. “When Ju­lia Roberts or San­dra Bul­lock do one a film a year, it’s not called a come­back, is it?’ she quipped re­cently.

Mean­while, Pre­ity Zinta – who grad­u­ally faded from the sil­ver screen – has launched her own pro­duc­tion com­pany. She is mak­ing Ishq In Paris with her­self in the lead. The ac­tor

Oh mama! bomb­shells Madhuri dixit and Sridevi Kapoor are moth­ers. Won­der if their chil­dren take af­ter their good-look­ing mums?

age­ing has never looked bet­ter; raveena tan­don and Pre­ity Zinta who are in their late thir­ties are still glow­ing.

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