Return of the divas

Return of the divas

In the spotlight

Return of the divas
It seems to be comeback season at the box office these days. The heartthrobs of yesteryear are all set to reclaim their share of the spotlight and when the list includes names like Sridevi, Raveena Tandon, Manisha Koirala and Juhi Chawla, you can’t help but sit up and take notice.

However, it is no secret that Indian film industry, especially Bollywood, is essentially a male-dominated arena and it is going to be no cakewalk for these leading ladies to be noticed among the crop of young faces paired opposite men three times their age.

“It is a fact that Bollywood pulls the plug on the careers of 30-plus heroines, regardless of their acting capabilities or talent,” says Huma, working in the travel and tourism sector. “Raveena Tandon’s ‘Maatr’ and Manisha Koirala’s ‘Dear Maya’ didn’t exactly make a mark at the box office, despite extensive promotions.

Compare that to the triumvirate of Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan, who are still the reigning superstars more than 25 years since their debut.”  But she acknowledges that it is indeed a step in the right direction that once-upon-a-time leading ladies are bouncing back with pivotal roles, after years of matrimony and motherhood.

 Says Sreedeep, a manager with the F&A section of an MNC, “We have seen these stars in their halcyon days and have been awed by their performances; be it Sridevi in ‘Chandni’ and ‘Khuda Gawah’ or Raveena Tandon in ‘Mohra’ and ‘Daman’.

While a comeback is always welcome, they would need a different type of emoting to connect with today’s audience. ‘Bombay Velvet’ and ‘English Vinglish’ seem to give hope that they can still succeed.”

“Another point is that people like me who have seen their stardom several years back and their comeback now would have several expectations. With Bollywood movies more about sound than substance these days, a lot would be expected of these yesteryear stars to deliver performances that will make movies worth watching again,” he adds.

Another important aspect is the kind of roles bring offered to these ladies.

“They are known for the powerful performances they delivered in the past. So, it’s good that they are getting character-driven parts instead of usual mother roles,” notes  Huma.

“Everyone will get an initial welcome, I feel,” says Amalraj, a budding director.

“But after that, everything depends on their selection of movies. Some female actors make a mark with first movie but they may not be able to get a good role after that.”
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