It’s great to see that commercial cinema in India has accepted some wonderful movies with female lead characters. But much before these free speaking women of today stepped into Bollywood, there were actresses who delivered some power packed performances and didn’t accept being side chick.

Jaya Bhaduri/Bachchan worked in many such movies which were female oriented, instantly relatable and thoroughly entertaining. Even if she wasn’t the quintessential badass women who broke every norm, she made her mark because of her naturalistic style of acting and the progressive yet girl-next-door characters she portrayed.
She dared to give up her superstardom at the peak of her career when she decided to choose motherhood as her priority.

As Jaya Bachchan the actor and politician turns 69, we wish her Happy Birthday and bring you five of her best women-centric roles.

Guddi (1971)
A carefree teenaged Kusum refuses to her family’s attempt to arrange a marriage for her, as her heart is currently too full of love for the heartthrob actor “Dharmendra.” Jaya Bhaduri started her Bollywood journey with this movie. Guddi was a film courageously built around a young girl’s persona. It focuses around her astounding realisation that even sensational male movie stars are but hard-working human beings. She is shorn of her illusions as she gets a reality check on films and film people through her journey in Bombay.

Koshish (1972)
Haricharan and Arti are two dumb and mute people who fall in love and vow to be together. Despite their challenges, there is never a moment in the film when you do not feel their feelings and hear their heartfelt desires. There love story is as romantic and as touching. Arti neglects her mother’s caution and accepts Hari. Through the journey of the two protagonists, the film celebrates life.

Anamika (1973)
A writer, Devendra Dutt, rescues a young woman lying injured on the road and brings her home. She awakens with amnesia the next morning and claims that she is the writer’s wife. There is something very charming about her role as she aces the grey shades of the character: a woman faking amnesia. Her character undergoes several changes in dimension and she slips from one mood to another with utmost ease.

Abhimaan (1973)
This is a wonderful emotional drama where love, ego and understanding form the core of a marriage. Uma is shown to be clearly much more talented than her husband. Subir is a popular playback singer but soon finds his throne being usurped by his simple wife. The big question of male ego and pride comes to haunt the life and love of Subir and Uma. To save her marriage, Uma woes to never to perform in public again.

Mili(1975)
Another of her films which revolve around a bubbly young girl with a terminal illness. Mili is a motherless child, whose exuberance and passion for life won the hearts of everyone in the neighbourhood but she suffers from pernicious anaemia, a disease which was incurable during that period. Milli becomes an inspiration for Shekhar, her new neighbour, who is an alcoholic and dejected. Mili lives fully in the present and enjoys life to the fullest. Eventually, Shekhar falls in love with her, unaware of her ailment.

Picture Credit: SKJ Bollywood

Also Read: On Amitabh Bachchan’s Birthday, We Celebrate His Support For Women