In India, where people love to watch movies and go crazy after film stars, it is natural for almost everybody to have role models, mimic their favourite stars and be inspired by them. Actresses in particular are adored, loved and looked upon as epitome of beauty. Men dream about these beauty queens and desire for them, while women are in awe of them and want to be 'like' them. With time, women have begun to idolise actresses who are not only beautiful, but also have made a niche for themselves and are 'women of substance'.
Whether it is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sridevi Kapoor, Kajol Devgn, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Sonam Kapoor or Vidya Balan - each of these heroines are not only great actresses, but have also set an example to the rest of the women in the country in many ways.
Since time immemorial, movie actors and actresses have inspired their audiences. People perceive their favourite film star as their role models and desire to be like them. Whether it be children or adult, film stars influence and inspire our lives in more than one way.
Aishwarya, for instance, broke all norms by putting on weight post pregnancy and refusing to give in to the popular demand of looking slim and trim. Nandita Das and Vidya Balan broke all stereotype and did unique and different character roles. Likewise, Shabana Azmi, Sharmila Tagore and Jaya Bachchaan have stood apart from their contemporaries and made a unique place for themselves in the minds of the moviegoers. Kajol Devgn is enjoying her life as a mother and wife and at the same time is also active doing social service.
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Nandita Das is known to never shy away from controversial issues and unconventional roles, and has chosen to be part of stories that she feels need to be told. She continues to advocate issues of social justice, especially those of women, children and the marginalised communities, through various platforms. She has been a featured speaker at many reputed universities and social forums, both in India and abroad.
Kajol Devgn is one of the finest actresses in Bollywood. Though she never had a 'perfect' figure or mind blowing looks, Kajol, with a girl-next-door image has been an actress whom every girl could identify with. After marriage with Ajay Devgn, Kajol chose to concentrate more on her home and family. She made a comeback with Fanaa opposite Aamir Khan and later went to act in My Name is Khan opposite Shahrukh Khan and We Are Family opposite Arjun Rampal. At present, Kajol is quite active in social service. Her 'Help A Child Reach 5 Handwashing Campaign' is the talk of the town.
Sridevi, one of the best and most successful actresses of the early 80s had a tough start and had to work very hard to secure the number one spot for herself in the industry. After marriage with Boney Kapoor in 1996, she stopped acting and began concentrating on her husband and two kids - Jahanvi and Khushi.
After a long gap, Sridevi bounced back with a hit film titled English Vinglish in the year 2012. At the age of 50, Sridevi still looks glamorous, desirable and can give any actress a run for their money!
Madhuri Dixit Nene
Madhuri Dixit, popularly known as the 'Ek do teen' or 'dhak dhak' girl is an epitome of grace, dignity and wonderful acting. At the age of 46, Madhuri still exudes immense 'oomph'.
After her marriage to Dr Shriram Madhav Nene in 1999, Madhuri left tinsel town to settle in marital bliss. However, she shifted her base back to Mumbai, India, along with her family in October 2011. Madhuri Dixit Nene still has a lot of projects in her kitty and is presently judging Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa, one of the most popular dance show on Colors.
Vidya Balan did not have any godfather or mentor in Bollywood and made a place for herself in the industry with her own talent, determination and grit. Vidya Balan is one of the few actresses who could get to do some meaty and character roles in her films. Though Vidya has often been criticised for her dressing style, the actress choose to dress up the way she is comfortable.
Sushmita Sen, who rose to fame after being crowned Miss Universe 1994, did not do exceedingly well in Bollywood. However, she made a mark wherever she went and always did what she thought was right.
Sushmita was so fond of kids that she adopted a baby girl at the age of 18 and named her Renee. She went to adopt another girl recently, whom she named Alicia.
Sonam Kapoor, known for her dressing and fashion sense had to work very hard on her weight to look glamorous and desirable. Sonam weighed 90 kg before her debut film Sawariya opposite Ranbir Kapoor. The pretty lass lost 30 kg in a brief period and is today one of the most stylish actresses in Bollywood.
Shabana Azmi, one of the finest actresses we have had in Bollywood industry is today a committed social activist, active in supporting child survival and fighting AIDS and injustice in real life.
Azmi has voiced her opinion on a variety of issues. Initially, her activism drew skepticism and was dubbed by some as a publicity gimmick. However, she proved her critics wrong and used her celebrity status to emerge as a high-profile social activist.
Sharmila Tagore Pataudi
Sharmila Tagore Pataudi, who was once one of the most loved and beautiful actresses in Bollywood is today one of the most dignified persons in the industry.
After her marriage with cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the Nawab of Pataudi and former captain of the Indian cricket team, Sharmila left Bollywood for good. She has led the Indian Film Censor Board from October 2004 till March 2011. In December 2005, she was chosen as an UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In 2013, she was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.
Jaya Bachchan is recognised as one of the finest Hindi film actresses of her time, particularly known for reinforcing a naturalistic style of acting in both mainstream and offbeat cinema.