Thursday,March 09, 2006
Move over Lara Croft. Because our desi heroines are here to give you a run for your money. It's the new age Bollywood heroine, who is no more the damsel in distress. Yeah... She packs quite a punch.
Case in point. Shilpa Shetty in the recently released Dus. She was noticed in Dus more for her action sequences than her dancing ability. It was well received by the audience. The movie saw her doing some high flying kicks and other daring stunts. This woman proves that acting and dancing is not all she does. Quite a multi-talented actress, this one. Even the petite Esha Deol had an action oriented role in Dus as well as in Dhoom playing a con girl in both.
When talking about stunts, there has to be a mention to India's answer to Lara Croft. Namely Lara Dutta. (Pun unintended). Lara is one actress who is not afraid to display her macho side. She has no issues if she comes across as someone who can take care of herself. For Vikram Bhatt's Elaan, Lara performed some daring stunts without a stuntman. In fact, it is said that she went through a rigorous training session for the action sequences, prior to the movie. And her hard work sure shows on screen. While on the topic of Elaan, the other actress in the film, namely the otherwise-perpetually-whimpering-damsel-in-distress Amisha Patel, managed to surprise the audience. She was seen driving monster trucks and was quite comfortable being 'one of the guys.' A refreshing change from the 'save me' act that has become a trademark for the lass! Perhaps that's the reason why even the tagline of the film acknowledged the fact that the leading ladies in a formula film can be a 'Hero' too. 'Five unlikely Heroes...And One Elaan' read the tagline wherein Lara and Amisha were included in the hero list.
Another spunky actress, Sameera Reddy is all for action on screen. Her action director Tinu Varma made her do quite a few stunts in Musafir. Those who have seen the movie saw Sameera go through glass tables, climb a floor and shoot guns. Sameera thought that these stunts were the most exciting part of the movie. Similarly the Shah Rukh- Kareena starrer Asoka saw Kareena performing sequences with a sword. If one has to count, recently there have been many actresses who have performed not-so-conventional roles. Sushmita Sen and Isha Koppikar played the no-nonsense cops in Samay and Kyaa Kool Hai Hum exuding loads of cool attitude. They were as good at handling guns as their guys. Kashmira Shah was the only female hooligan in the entirely menacing male mob in Jungle. And she seemed quite comfortable holding a rifle through most part of the movie. Quite masculine, we must say!
In the coming months, the audience will witness some more action packed babes! Girl-next-door Tara Sharma, who will soon be seen in the horror flick Amavas, insisted on doing all her stunts by herself. She has performed stunts like flying over a car, while being held by a harness, of course. Celina Jaitley is undergoing some heavy duty training for the desi version of Charlie's Angels. However, this film is still in its nascent stages. You can also expect the graceful Aishwarya Rai to do some action in the sequel to Dhoom. Also expect Priyanka Chopra to display some macho martial arts in the Don remake akin to what Zeenat Aman did in the original. And the most interesting of them all is Antara Mali who will be seen playing a guy trapped in a girl's body in Mr. Ya Miss. Though the physical form of the Mali in the film is that of a female; from the heart, mind and soul, she is still a male! She fights off eve teasers with kicks and punches. She thinks and acts like a male and her body language is indicative of anything but a female.
Life always comes in full circle. And so do trends. If you think Bollywood babes' daring deeds are only a recent development, think again! Way back in the 30s when Hindi cinema was just evolving, the Australian born actress Nadia graduated from a circus girl to being Bollywood's first actress who could fight the baddies all by herself and convincingly so. She was best known for portraying the masked, cloaked adventuress Hunterwali in 1935. Her movie titles itself gives a clear indication of what her films were like - Hurricane Hansa, Pahadi Kanya, Lady Robinhood, Toofani Tirandaz, Stunt Queen and Tigress to name a few. Subsequently tagged as Fearless Nadia, she went on to marry prominent producer-director Homi Wadia in the early 1960s and retired from films.
Looks like the Hunterwali days are back. Our current actresses could give the Fearless Nadia some tough competition. Going by the recently released movies and also those that will be released in the near future, it appears that this trend is here to stay. These women need no hunky heroes to protect them. No Sir, they can do it themselves.