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Marriage: Actresses in Trouble waters

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By: Arya Aiyappan
Friday, January 19, 2007
Bollywood is a dreamer's paradise. It unfurls a dream sequence embellished with laces and frills, the niceties of life, we can ever dream of. Bollywood cinema an inevitable part of people's psyche bears relation to both reality and fancy. But beneath these superfluities lies the biting reality where upon we are face to face with the nitty gritty of the glamour world.

The celluloid world churns out fancy. To uphold the audience' interest they adhere to some notions illogical to the core, but keeping with the taste of the audience. In the world of cinema, the visual image overrides other concerns. Marriage is a vital criterion, which decides the star value of film stars. It concerns both actors and actresses, in different ways. Marriage is considered to work wonders for actors for whom the "family man" image increases star value whereas for actresses the reverse holds true.

"Bollywood operates on fantasy formula, where the heroine is an object of desire." Instances are galore in the film industry; Rakhee who essayed romantic roles with Amitabh Bachchan had to portray the role of his mother after her marriage. Sreedevi, Raveena Tandon, Sonali Bendre and Karisma Kapoor do have immense potential but no longer are they considered for prime characters except in women-oriented stories, offbeat films, or some serious roles.

Marriage alone is not the crux of the issue, heroines have to maintain a good public image sans drinking, smoking and for that matter even love affairs are not much encouraged. Thereby heroines' acting career is limited only up to early 30s while for heroes it stretches even beyond 40s when it comes to depicting the main role. Juhi had to refute her marriage until she turned to production whereas Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgan, etc found their acting career soaring high. Acting relegates to the backstage for married actresses who cannot cope with the erratic shooting schedules, far-off shooting locales, the hesitation to enact bold scenes onscreen, and the pressing family responsibilities.

A wave of change is blowing across as married heroines like Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla, and Kajol are coming back to films through powerful roles. Kajol's Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, and Fanaa and Malaika Arora Khan's sizzling number in Kaal have been much appreciated by the audience in spite of being aware of her marital status. Madhuri's forthcoming movie Aaja Naachley is sure to set the screen ablaze. Modern directors like Farhan Akhtar, Meghna Gulzar and Mahesh Manjrekar experimenting with themes are proffering meaty roles to talented artistes regardless of their marital status.

Years ago actress Devika Rani had started her acting career, after her marriage to producer-actor Himansu Rai. Later actresses like Shobhana Samarth, Meena Kumari and Nutan followed the suit. This trend was slowly trounced by the mad pursuit for glamour and sex appeal in the long run.

Whether the desire factor or the innate talent rules is still an issue of grave concern. The patriarchal undercurrents were slowly surfacing but with the change in reception and the onset of experimental films with novel themes, a fresh lease of life was conferred to the film industry, otherwise stagnant. With Abhishek-Aishwarya marriage in the offing, the million-dollar question is not just whether Aishwarya would continue acting but whether she would still be able to sway her magic wand to sustain her charisma, star-appeal and incredible fan following even after marriage?

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