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Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Not paying any heed to the countless bans and debates on actors smoking onscreen, our desi stars continue to puff away to glory! This includes our heroines, as well. It is not only the present day actresses, but even the veterans who were okay with taking a drag or two on the silver screen! So let's take a look at the chimneys of Indian cinema.
Perhaps one of the most avid smokers in reel life is someone who smokes in real life as well - Manisha Koirala. She started off with the smoking in Yugpurush and continued in Company and Market. In Market, she was given company by her co-star Suman Runganathan. Company certainly took the cake, with her chain smoking act. Rukhsar's role in D was kind of a prequel to Manisha's role in Company and she too took to tobacco.
Preity Zinta's bubbly image went for a toss when she took to the cigarette in Chori Chori Chupke Chupke. Madhoo in Pehchaan, Sonam in Mitti Aur Sona, Moon Moon Sen in a Kannada movie Yugapurusha - what is the common element. They all played prostitutes. As if smoking was a characteristic property attributed to the profession in Bollywood.
Madhuri Dixit known for her goody-two-shoes-image off screen surprised everyone by playing the character of a real junkie in Zindagi Ek Jua. She ultimately succumbed to her addictions at the end of the movie. Varsha Usgaonkar was a chain-smoking newspaper editor on Khalnayikaa. Katrina Kaif who made her film debut with Kaizad Gustad's Boom wasn't seen without her cigar in the film. Ditto Madhu Sapre in the same film. The third person who made the trio in Boom, Padma Lakshmi, had a slight variation by smoking a hookah. Esha Deol too did not have any inhibitions while taking a puff in front of her husband Ajay Devgan in Main Aisa Hi Hoon.
Nandita Das, Raveen Tandon, Sonali Bendre.... You name them.. And they've done it. In Fire, although Nandita Das didn't play a smoker, there was a scene where she imitated a smoker in front of the mirror. The point being that ultimately the film depicted a woman smoking. However, showing a woman smoking was hardly the scene that got the film in trouble! Raveena Tandon had no issues with smoking in her Kannada film Upendra. Similarly, Sonali Bendra was seen smoking with some real attitude, not in a Bollywood film, but in a Telugu movie, Kadgam and so did Sridevi also in a Telugu flick.
So do these actresses actually like doing it? We spoke to Payal Rohatgi who had to smoke a few lights for Madhur Bhandarkar's forthcoming film Corporate. "I don't smoke in real life. So polishing off ten cigarettes in a day was quite a task. There was quite a bit of coughing!"
As mentioned earlier, even the old timers were pretty okay with puffing away on screen. Shabana Azmi must have easily polished off four packets in Doosri Dulhan! While Zeenat Aman took a drag or two occasionally in Don, we don't need to tell you about Hare Rama Hare Krishna! Sharmila Tagore who played a prostitute in the film Mausam, was seen with bidis. Another bidi-smokin-babe was Mumtaz in Roti, who played the role of a village belle. Rekha too smoked a couple of times in Do Anjaane. Sonu Walia too smoked a couple of times in Aakarshan.
If we were to sit and list out all the popular actresses who have smoked on screen, it would be one helluva long list! But one thing is certain. When it comes to smoking, our desi actresses can definitely give the actors a run for their money.