Desi Lara Crofts: Bollywood actresses turn stunt-women

India's Mary Kom(L) reacts after she defeated Poland's Karolina Michalczuk in their Women's Fly (51kg) Round of 16 boxing match during the London 2012 Olympic Games. Reuters photo/Murad Sezer

The men in Bollywood have beaten up goons, blown up cars and indulged in all sorts of heavy-duty stunts. But now, they seem to have competition from their leading ladies. Not content with playing demure characters, actresses are now taking up more and more action-packed roles. So don’t be surprised to see female stars such as Madhuri Dixit, Kangana Ranaut, Rani Mukerji, Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra kicking and punching on screen.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says, “Meatier roles are being written for female actors. If the storyline is convincing, these actors will be accepted in action roles.”

Madhuri Dixit
Madhuri said in a recent interview that she has done action for the first time (in Gulaab Gang). “It is tough to do it, but I am a tough person and I enjoyed it,” the 46-year-old was quoted as saying. For the Soumik Sen-directed film, she trained under Shaolin master Shifu Kanishka Sharma for four hours daily over three weeks. She reportedly performed most of the stunts herself.

Kangana Ranaut
Rakesh Roshan, who directed Kangana for her mutant role in Krissh 3, says, “We made sure she was properly trained before she started shooting.” In another upcoming film, Revolver Rani, Kangana is supposed to look unattractive. The actor will sport prosthetic scars and a crooked nose. She also underwent training to use revolvers properly.

Katrina Kaif
For her role as an acrobat in Dhoom:3, Katrina trained for four-five hours daily for six months. She did a mix of martial arts, gymnastics and Parkour. In upcoming film Bang Bang, too, she intends to do all the stunts herself.

Priyanka Chopra
PeeCee is up for some serious punching as she prepares to play the role of Olympic prize-winning pugilist Mary Kom. Priyanka has been undergoing rigorous physical training, and is having to work on her stamina and strength. Samir Jaura is her trainer for the film.

Rani Mukerji
Physical trainer Samir Jaura, who is working with Rani for Pradeep Sarkar’s Mardaani, says, “Rani is working extremely hard for her role of a tough cop.” Rani aims to lose almost 10 kilos for the action-packed role.


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