Sometimes subtle, sometimes sizzling, these
are arguably the 12 desi women whose sensuality has been setting Bollywood screens on fire since the late 1950s -
Asha Parekh: Before her subsequent roles as TV producer-director and controversial chairperson of the Censor Board overshadowed her previously enjoyed fame, she was the endearing lisping tho-thweet heroine of the '60s musical romances.
Sharmila Tagore: A Bengali actress who made her debut as Apu's wife in Satyajit Ray's Apur Sansar, she went on to act in several Bengali classics. Later, she became a Hindi film star and a national sex symbol with Shakti Samanta's Kashmir Ki Kali (opposite Shammi Kapoor), Sawan Ki Ghata (where she wore a bikini) and An Evening In Paris (where she played a cabaret dancer). She successfully changed her image in Rajesh Khanna's first megahit Aradhana, where she played his wife as well as his mother! She returned to her controversial sexy persona for the last time with Gulzar's memorable Mausam.
Smita Patil: She is considered to be the greatest Hindi film actress. An MA in Literature, she worked briefly as a TV announcer before joining FTII and going on to lead the parallel cinema movement. Her unglamorous dusky looks proved no barrier to her success in commercial films, earning her praises and accolades. Her premature death during childbirth was a loss to the industry.
Sridevi: A highly successful actress in Tamil and Telugu films, she struggled for a long haul before finding success opposite Jeetendra in a series of South-produced Hindi films. After Mr India, she became the leading female star in Bollywood (and the highest paid, it was rumoured) for a while. After a brief hiatus on account of her mother's unexpected death and her much talked about marriage to producer Boney Kapoor, she unexpectedly returned to the screen.
Shabana Azmi: Along with Naseeruddin Shah, she was a cornerstone of the parallel cinema movement. She later turned towards commercial roles quite successfully, as in Amar Akbar Anthony. Found international acceptance with a few well-chosen roles like Madame Souzatska. Recently, better known as a Rajya Sabha MP and prominent human rights and women's right activist, she plays an occasionally controversial role as in Deepa Mehta's Fire.
Seema Biswas: Spotted by director Shekhar Kapur in a National School of Drama stage comedy, she made her film debut with the stunning role of real-life dacoit Phoolan Devi in his internationally acclaimed Bandit Queen. While her ability to play demanding roles, as in Khamoshi, remains undisputed, her unglamorous looks restrict her opportunities in Bollywood. She is a great actress waiting for another great role.
Nutan: She was Shobana Samarth's daughter, Tanuja's sister, Kajol's aunt and Mohnish Bahl's mother. She became famous for her ability to portray realistic female characters, thanks to her relatively plain looks and natural acting ability. From frothy, romantic roles in Paying Guest and Tere Ghar Ke Saamne, she moved on to become the neo-realistic heroine in films by Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Bimal Dutt and Raj Khosla. Later, she played mother roles to perfection.
Nargis: She was introduced to Hindi cinema at the age of five by her mother, actress-singer-producer, Jaddanbai. Baby Rani, as she was then known, went on to become famous as Raj Kapoor's heroine in some of Hindi cinema's greatest melodramas: Barsaat, Andaz, Awara, Shri 420. Her entwined image with Raj Kapoor went on to become the emblem of R K Studios. Later, she became a serious actress, reaching her pinnacle with her classic role in Mother India, after which she married co-star Sunil Dutt, who played her son in the film. She became a Congress MP for a brief period. She also launched a scathing attack on Satyajit Ray's films and was honoured by the Indian and Soviet governments. She died of cancer after seeing her son, Sanjay, launched as an actor.
Meena Kumari: Daughter of a Parsi stage actor and a Muslim dancer, she began her career as Baby Meena when her family fell on hard times. She was renamed Meena Kumari in the big musical hit, Baiju Bawra. Best known for her '50s comedies, she turned to serious roles in Kamal Amrohi's Daera, Bimal Roy's Yahudi, Guru Dutt's Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and her most famous film, Pakeezah. Continuing in the tradition of Zubeida, she created the classic image of the tragic Hindi film heroine, adding to her legend by her real-life passion and drinking, which led to her premature death.
Manisha Koirala: She has been dubbed the 'modern-day Meena Kumari' by the press for her bold lifestyle and tragic-heroine looks. Able to straddle both serious films like Mani Ratnam's Bombay as well as blockbusters like Gupt with equal panache, her talent seems to often demand bigger, better roles than the ones she usually gets.
Madhuri Dixit: A Biology student at Parle College, she began her career with a flop called Abodh. She then struggled for years, until her success with the Ek do teen song in N Chandra's Tezaab. Her overtly sensual dance style continued to bring her fame -- Dhak dhak in Beta and Choli ke peeche in Khalnayak being a few examples. Now Mrs Nene, she reigns as one of the leading female stars of Bollywood, proving her acting ability with fine performances in films like Prakash Jha's Mrityudand.
Jaya Bhaduri: Better known now as Mrs Bachchan, this Bengali actress became an instant success with her sincere and heart-touching performances in films Mili and Guddi. She later blossomed into a majorly talented actress with the ability to convey volumes without even saying a word, as in her brief but memorable part in Sholay. She quit acting after husband Amitabh's career took off, returning only for the much publicized Silsila. Now she has resurfaced as a serious mature stage and screen actress.
Big breast beauty in a sexposing song.
Heavy bosom portrayal in a Tamil movie "Sivakasi".
Mallu sex bomb Mamtha seducing Suresh Gopi.
Kajal Kiran being sexually enjoyed by superstar Mohanlal.
Kajol and Lara Dutta ignite passion in Aamir Khan through their figure and expressions in "Fanaa".
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Tanushree Dutta performs the indian version of 'basic instinct' in "Chocolate" infront of Anil Kapoor including a hot wet song.
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