The Hindi film industry is obsessed with having young women romance actors much older than them. The idea is to capitalise on the macho image of these older and successful male actors, well into their 50s, who have been dominating the silver screen since the 90s. These men have been having a dream run in the movies, getting roles that are loved by the masses and a paycheck that will make your jaws drop. But if you think women who they once courted on the screens in the initial parts of their career have faded away from the limelight, think again. Very quietly, heroines from the 90s are making their way back in the entertainment space, this time with roles that do justice to their talent. What’s more, the viewers are now noticing them and showering them with love, finally.
Tabu is one of those actors from the 90s who has been a part of films and shows where she captivated the audience with her grace. Tabu through her stints—be it as Ashima in The Namesake or as Haider‘s Ghazala—has been nothing short of a pleasant surprise. She took on the roles that you cannot imagine another actor playing or perhaps it is her charisma.
Tabu in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2: Carrying a film on experienced shoulders
Even with her most recent release Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, she carried the film on her back. While the resounding success of the film has worked wonders for actors Kartik Aryan and Kiara Advani by taking them to new heights of stardom; it further cemented Tabu’s place in our hearts as one of the most versatile actors of this era, who portrayed the dichotomy of good and bad through her characters. It is hard to let her work go unnoticed.
The sequel to the 2007 Priyadarshan film by the same name was released in theatres on May 20 this year and premiered on the OTT platform Netflix on June 19. In the film, Tabu mesmerised the audience as sweet Anjulika and raised goosebumps as black magic practising sister Manjulika. Her rhythmic performance in the film and the control over the shift in her demeanour as and when the script demanded were simply astounding!
The actor’s performance in recent films like Drishyam, Andhadhun, A Suitable Boy or even in masala entertainers like Golmaal Again speaks of what she can do with her craft when she is handed a meaty part. Every role she took on, never did it feel like she was attempting to impersonate someone or appear shoddy. The success of these films has also made it clear that she is not only a capable actor but a bankable star.
Viewers can’t get enough of 90s divas
Another actor from the 90s who still rules the hearts is former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, who caught our attention with films like Devdas, Hum Dil De Chule Sanam and Taal and others. While the actor has featured in several hit films over the last two decades, it was Sanjay Gupta’s 2015 thriller film Jazbaa alongside Irrfan Khan, that somewhat revived her career. She then appeared in two films Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and the biographical drama Sarbjit. Two years later, she again appeared as a lead in the 2018 film Fanney Khan which starred Rajkummar Rao and Anil Kapoor.
Irrespective of whether the films were a commercial success or not, the actor managed to shine through and leave a mark. Especially with her roles in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Sarbjit.
Suggested Reading: Selective Ageism In Bollywood: Why Must Women Hide Their Age On Screen?
With the advent of OTT platforms and original content being produced by them, many actors have gotten an opportunity to expand their horizons, something that films never allowed them to do and that’s what Sushmita Sen and Raveena Tandon did with their performances in web shows Aarya and Aranyak respectively.
Based on a Dutch series, Aarya featured Sushmita Sen and Chandrachur Singh who were ultimate crushes in the 90s. Sen’s character is that of a naive woman who turns coats to become a powerful matriarch and mafia queen after her husband is mysteriously killed by his enemies.
Tandon, too, since she forayed into the films after a hiatus with a cameo in the 2015 film Bombay Velvet, has only gone on to impress the audience by picking up substantial roles, rather than those that would reduce her to a mere garnish. Be it her role as Vidya Chauhan in Maatr or as politician Ramika Sen in KGF: Chapter 2 which was released earlier this year.
Be it, Tabu or Raveena Tandon, these actors have been breaking glass ceilings in the film industry that believes that once a woman starts ageing, her career as an actor goes for a toss. They have been nothing but the epitome of grace and essayed each character with conviction. The audience too is excited about what these women are bringing to the screens, and is now wondering- what new heights of success and fame will these women achieve?
Views expressed are the author’s own
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