Bollywood actors tend to experiment with different movie roles, but the leading ladies are not so adventurous.
The actresses generally stick to looking good, shaking a leg and playing second fiddle to the leading man in their films. However, of late, a number of mainstream female stars are trying their hand at off-beat roles (along the lines of Vidya Balan) and, in 2014, this trend looks set to gain ground.
"It happens from time to time. Besides doing regular films, they might like to experiment with their craft and take up challenging parts. That helps satisfy their creative urges," says trade analyst Komal Nahta. Here’s taking a closer look at the top actresses who are experimenting with their movie roles this year:
Last release: Ghanchakkar (2013)
Next ventures: Saket Chaudhary’s Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Samar Shaikh’s Bobby Jasoos and Mohit Suri’s Hamari Adhuri Kahani
The challenge: Trust Vidya to be a natural (as she has proved it with films like Paa, 2009; The Dirty Picture, 2011; and Kahaani, 2012). So it’s not surprising to hear that when Vidya donned a male beggar’s avatar and squatted among real beggars outside a railway station in Hyderabad, a woman passing by reportedly gave her alms and scolded her about how she should get a job and stop begging. "It has been great fun sharpening my wits on this one," says Vidya about the part.
Expert talk: "Vidya has time and again proved that she is a versatile actress who loves doing challenging parts. Once again, she’ll make them seem very easy," says trade expert Amod Mehra.
Kareena Kapoor Khan
Last release: Gori Tere Pyaar Mein (2013)
Next ventures: Dev Benegal’s Bombay Samurai, Karan Malhotra’s Shuddhi, and Singham 2
The challenge: In Benegal’s film, which is being touted by sources as "a crazy, zany, rollicking, roller-coaster ride", will see her play a "wacky and unpredictable" couple with Farhan. In Shuddhi, she will sport two different looks — one from 1910, and another from 1960. For the same, Kareena is reportedly undergoing vigorous training to lose weight and tone up.
Expert talk: "In the past, Kareena has proved herself several times as an actor (with films like Chameli, 2004 and Heroine, 2012). And, at this juncture of her career, she can afford to be a little more fearless with her choices," says trade expert Taran Adarsh.
Last release: Dhoom:3 (2013)
Next ventures: Kabir Khan’s Phantom, Anurag Basu’s Jagga Jasoos, Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor and Bang Bang
The challenge: Generally looked upon as a diva, Katrina’s look from Phantom — that show her sporting a rugged look, in military pants teamed with sports shoes — has already created some buzz. In Kapoor’s film, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, Aditya Roy Kapur will be playing Pip and Katrina will be Estella.
Expert talk: "At this point, a star like Katrina has nothing to lose. She can go all out and experiment with her roles. It’s the right time for her to take up such parts," says Nahta.
Last release: Krrish 3 (2013)
Next ventures: Omung Kumar’s Mary Kom biopic and Ali Abbas Zafar’s Gunday
The challenge: Priyanka will be seen playing the real-life Olympic medallist from Manipur in the biopic. Even before the filming began, she worked hard for the movie, which follows Kom’s journey to Olympic glory. Priyanka even visited Imphal to meet Kom and visit the locations where the boxing champ practises. A few days back, she admitted to have lost weight since she worked "hard to build muscles".
Expert talk: "If Priyanka can come up with a solid performance in Barfi! (2012), why can’t she do justice to Mary Kom’s part? It will be interesting to see her portray Kom’s life," says Nahta.
Last release: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (2013)
Next ventures: Navdeep Singh’s NH10, Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet and Rajkumar Hirani’s P.K.
The challenge: Navdeep, after helming Manorama Six Feet Under (2007), will direct Anushka in a film which promises edge-of-the-seat action and thrills when a road trip goes wrong. Interestingly, she also turns producer (believed to be the youngest actor-producer in the industry) with this film. "It is going to be super-exciting working together again on what promises to be an explosive film," she has said in a previous interview. In Bombay Velvet, she will be seen playing a glamorous jazz singer from the ’50s and ’60s.
Expert talk: "Right now, Anushka is one among the few actors who are attempting different and challenging roles. And the best part is that she can back it up with solid performances," says Adarsh.