Mainstream Bollywood female actors have historically tended to be young and unmarried, with few, if any, bagging leading roles after settling down and having children.
However, a bevy of prominent female actors of last decade are gearing up to make their comeback. Among the comeback queens is Madhuri Dixit, once a top female lead in Bollywood, who moved to the United States after tying the knot. Also returning to the screen are Dixit’s rival Sridevi, plus actors Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor. The four women were among the biggest names in cinema through out the 1980s and 1990s.
Madhuri Dixit, 44
Dixit and her contemporaries believe the time is now right for older female actors to have more meaningful and mature roles as the country’s economy expands, changing attitudes and expectations.
“Our society is changing and so are the attitudes of people,” said Dixit, adding, “The subjects of our films have changed dramatically compared to 10 years ago. I feel there is a lot to do for actresses like me in the film industry. The audience tastes too have matured,” she added.
Dixit, who has moved back to Mumbai, is starting relatively small, signing up as a judge on an Indian reality TV show and as the host of a programme on a food channel. However, she is said to be considering offers once her family is settled.
Sridevi, who last appeared in Judaai in 1997, has lost weight to stand a chance of leading roles in the industry and has begun shooting a new film, English Vinglish.
She told Mid-day newspaper that she felt “nervous and excited” about returning to the film industry, but that it felt like she had never been away.
Raveena Tandon, 36
Raveena Tandon made her comeback, after having children, in this year’s Bbuddha Hoga Tera Baap, starring actor Amitabh Bachchan.
Karisma kapoor, 37
Karisma Kapoor, now a mother of two, is in line for her comeback in the 3D horror film Dangerous Ishq. She has also performed a song-and-dance sequence for the film Housefull 2, due out next year. Her sister Kareena, 31, believes the old rules about female actors no longer apply.
“I’m a Meryl Streep fan and I think age or marital status can never be a deterrent for an actor. The only thing that one needs is passion.” said Kareena.