Women Actors Over 40 Who Made A Compelling Comeback To Our Screens With OTT

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The film industry has been known to set a time cap on the period that it allows women actors to stay relevant. Beyond a certain point, more specifically, when they are considered to be nearing middle age, women in Bollywood are switched out for younger performers. This, even as male stars remain fixed in their shoes for donkey’s years. Once they are said to go past their ‘prime,’ women actors are typecast into certain roles that are far removed from headliner glory.

Breaking through this stereotypical limit, some prominent women actors we loved through the 1990s and 2000s are making a smashing comeback to the screen. Through powerful roles and female-driven storylines, these women are reclaiming the space they always deserved to have, even after they turned 40.

These powerhouses are refuelling their careers with the liberal OTT medium that embraces diversity and experiments far more than mainstream Bollywood does. And the audiences are richer for it.

Female Actors Comeback: Marking A Return With OTT

1. Sushmita Sen 

The former Miss Universe is back with a bang on our screens and how! Sushmita Sen’s thriller series Aarya has put her on the map of acting once again after years of her retreat from the film industry. Sen, a top actor in the early 2000s, made her comeback to screens in 2020 as a ferocious mother who is pulled into the world of drugs and guns after a tragedy. Aarya, which recently released its second season, was nominated at the prestigious International Emmys.

2. Raveena Tandon 

Raveena Tandon had a fabulous run at the cinemas during the 1990s, credited as the lead in multiple consecutive hits. Mohra, Dilwale and Dulhe Raja are among her most successful titles. She took a break from films post marriage in 2004, making occasional television appearances. Recently, she marked a solid comeback to the screen with Aranyakan OTT crime thriller in which she plays a headstrong cop investigating a rape-murder case.

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3. Lara Dutta 

Another beauty pageant notable, Lara Dutta was among the most prominent faces in Hindi cinema after her win at Miss Universe in 2000. Though she never really left films, her string of releases slowed down in the past decade. In 2019, she played a key role in Gurinder Chadha’s British show Beecham House, which released on television and OTT but failed to perform. She significantly came back to Indian screens in 2020, with Hundred, followed by Hiccups and Hookups and Kaun Banegi Shikharwati.

4. Pooja Bhatt 

A Bhatt family scion, Pooja Bhatt made a mark in Bollywood during the 1990s playing namesake roles on the big screen. After retreating from acting at the turn of the millennium, Bhatt turned to film direction with films like Holiday and Jism 2. Sadak 2, a sequel to one of her earliest successes, marked her comeback to acting in 2020. She came into the spotlight prominently last year as the lead of her debut OTT show Bombay Begums, which stirred controversy upon its release. Here’s why.

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5. Karisma Kapoor 

A top-billing actor through the 1990s and 2000s, Karisma Kapoor, like many others from her family, stood out as a leading star for years in mainstream Hindi cinema. She stepped back from acting in 2004 and was intermittently seen in special appearances in television and films thereafter. In 2020, she marked her return to screen acting with drama series Mentalhood, premised around motherhood, alongside an ensemble cast.

6. Madhuri Dixit 

One of the most well-known film faces, Madhuri Dixit was at the peak of her career during the 1990s, delivering many straight hits that cemented her place as a successful actor. After a few big releases post-2000, like Pukar, Lajja and Devdas, Dixit withdrew from films for a few years, returning to screen to appear only sporadically in powerful roles. She consistently remained on television through the last decade as a judge on several dance shows. Dixit is all set to make her OTT debut with The Fame Game later this year.