Some of the biggest female stars in Bollywood like Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt are marking their presence in Bollywood in the most assured way possible. On International Women’s Day, here’s a look at these amazing women.
On March 8 every year, the status of women in society is hotly debated and the discussion is always about their achievements and challenges ahead. Every International Women’s Day, a fair degree of tokenism gets bandied about—crime against women, rights, privileges etc. Feminism, in its truest sense, ought to be just this: for a woman to achieve her full potential as a member of society in a safe and secure environment, The Hindustan Times reports.
It is also true that many women are slowly but surely realising that they have nothing to prove to anybody; they just need to create space to blossom. Doing this in an assured way are some of the biggest female names in Bollywood – Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut, Alia Bhatt, Anushka Sharma, Karena Kapoor and Vidya Balan. From the money they earn, their clout in the industry, their ability to hold sway over the public to the power to command box office returns—these actors are doing it all.
On International Women’s Day, there’s a look at women who have never taken a ‘no’ for an answer.
In 2018, Deepika had just one release — Padmaavat – and yet when the year ended, she found herself among the top five richest Indian celebrities (2018 Forbes India Celebrity 100 List) with a net earning of Rs 112.8 crore. Think about it – for Padmaavat, she was paid more than the other male leads, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor! Now, how often has that happened in the best of times?
How did that happen? From making a spectacular start with Om Shanti Om (2007), getting called wooden in films that followed (thanks to some bad choices), bouncing back with films like Cocktail to finally finding her mojo in films like Chennai Express, Yeh Jaawani Hai Deewani, Bajirao Mastani and finally going international, Deepika’s career graph has shown her own growth as an individual. She was never a struggler; having been a successful model before her film career took off. She was criticised for her South Indian accent. Deepika, however, worked her way up with a disciplined work ethics and taking criticism in the stride and working on it.
She has come to a position where she is headlining films and not just that, she also commands a box office status, much like stars like Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn to name a few.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that she is even getting into production with her next, Chhapaak. Women like her shy away from nothing; her open discussion on her struggle with depression is a case in point. Women like her also celebrate life like she did when she decided to get married to Ranveer Singh, late last year. That’s called clout.
The proverbial ‘problem girl’ of Bollywood, Kangana Ranaut is unique. Provocative, intelligent, controversial and successful – that is a hard thing to achieve. Here is a woman who is greedy for success and is unapologetic about it. With the success of Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi, she has also proved that to be successful in Bollywood, political correctness is a thing of the past. The film, which entered the coveted Rs 100 crore club, showed that Kangana is a consummate artist – she is a star, who can act and direct.
She has fought it all—isolation from the industry (partly because of her confrontational attitude), flops (Rangoon and Simran), fights with many of the most powerful people in the industry like Karan Johar and Hrithik Roshan, she has proved to be quite an iconoclast—fitting in nowhere yet blazing her way through.
Kangana is one of the most expensive female actors in Bollywood today, reportedly being paid Rs 11 crore per film. After the success of Manikarnika, this figure is sure to get revised.
If there is one person, who proves that first impression is never a proof of who a person is, then it has to be Alia. For a girl who made her debut in a typical bubble-gum romance in Karan Johar’s Student of the Year, Alia has only grown from strength to strength.
Alia has shown that what she appears is a far cry from what she is; for a person who couldn’t name the president of the country, her ability to pull off complex characters like the ones she essayed in films like Udta Punjab and Dear Zindagi is hard to digest. How does she get them?
Without doubt, Alia is one of the most talented actors in Bollywood today; from song and dance (which she does in thorough enjoyment) to portraying layered characters, there’s nothing she can’t do. To that extent, she is arguably the most natural and effortless actor today.
However, with the success of Raazi, which has grossed more than Rs 200 crore (worldwide) and an estimated Rs 125 crores domestically, Alia has proven that she is quite capable of carrying a film on her shoulders. She is eyeing production next.
Kareena Kapoor Khan
Kareena’s last blockbuster, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, was way back in 2015. She did a forgettable Ki & Ka after that and later became a young mother when she delivered Taimur Ali Khan in December 2016. And yet, in mid 2018, she was back in circulation with an all-women film called Veere Di Wedding. A story of four-women on a journey of self discovery and produced by two women, it went on to be one of the many hits of 2018.
Without doubt, Kareena was the biggest draw of the film, for a manner in which is used glamour to the hilt to keep the spotlight on the film. Surprised? Not really.
Kareena is, without doubt, one of the biggest stars in the country today. The audience interest in her is legendary; from her hits and flops, her love life, her ramp presence, her magazine shoots and now the attention her son gets, everything about Kareena’s life is in sharp focus.
Surprisingly, unlike her colleagues like Deepika and Alia, she has rarely done a role which has rested purely on her credentials (barring Jab We Met, of course) and yet her clout in the industry is phenomenal.
Reports suggest that she was given Rs 7 crore before Veere Di Wedding and post its success she has hiked her fee to Rs 11 crore, joining the ranks of Deepika and Kangana. Says something, does it?
There is something about Anushka that is hard to define. Is she among the most successful actors? Well, not quite. Is she the most talented? Perhaps not but she is quite good in whatever she does. The thing about Anushka is that she has gone where few went before her.
Take her plunge into production, for instance. When in 2015, she decided to produce a small budget film like NH 10, it was an unheard phenomenon. A leading Bollywood heroine putting her money into a risky proposition like production was far from being common. Not only did Anushka do it, she won a lot of nods too. The film itself was as uncomfortable was it gets; much of its success came from way it does a reality check. With her films Phillauri and Pari, she has shown that she is unafraid of trying out experimental stuff and is willing to go where nobody willingly wants to go.
Anushka, however, remains a huge favourite of not just big stars but important directors as well. That explains her presence in films like Bombay Velvet (Anurag Kashyap), Sultan (Salman Khan), Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (Ranbir Kapoor, Karan Johar), Dil DhadakneDo (Zoya Akhtar) and Zero (Shah Rukh Khan) to name a few.
Her Instagram posts and her life with Virat Kohli are actively followed and there is no let up when it comes to ads and brand endorsements too. In 2018, Sharma appeared in the Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30 list. The lady has ventured into Netflix too and will soon be producing new series for them.
She may not have done any Bollywood in the last four years (Jai Gangajal in 2016), but that has not dimmed her halo in India. She remains one of the top billed actors. Her forays into Hollywood and American TV have only added to her popularity. Even though her series Quantico never really took off or for that matter, her film Baywatch, there is no disputing the fact that Priyanka remains our best mascot in popular culture internationally.
She is constantly in news – be it her high-profile wedding to American singer, Nick Jonas, her Hollywood projects like Isn’t It Romantic, her failed Bollywood projects like Bharat, her production house and its decision to make other Indian languages’ cinema (she’s already produced a Marathi, Punjabi and Sikkimese film each), her many public appearances or simply her Instagram posts, Priyanka Chopra is a force unto herself.
Even her decision to leave Bharat, the Salman Khan starrer, was the talk of the town. She remains one of high paid female actors in Bollywood, despite her relative absence. She reportedly was to be given Rs 6.5 crore for Bharat.
Here’s one actor who is nothing like a glamorous star is expected to be but remains one of the biggest names in the industry. The Kahaani actor can command the attention of her audience like nobody else. Just how many other actors can do what she did with Tumhari Sulu? Not many.
It would not be wrong to say that viewers buy tickets to watch her perform.
These women are redefining notions of power in Bollywood. It wasn’t as if women weren’t successful in Bollywood before – it is said, roles were written for Meena Kumari, Hema Malini was a formidable counter force in the heydays of Amitabh Bachchan. Both Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit ruled during their hey days. However, what we are seen today is different – it is about owning the space.Read more