Flexing muscles, swinging a sword or jumping from one building to another is no longer the forte of heroes as Bollywood actresses are increasingly embracing action-oriented roles.
Be it Aishwarya Rai, Deepika Padukone, Bipasha Basu, Katrina Kaif or Koena Mitra, heroines are no longer content with just dancing around trees or singing in the rain. Instead, they are in a bid to compete with action heroes.
"The trend of more heroines taking up action roles itself shows that with the evolution of the Hindi film industry, women are getting to do more in films than just dance around trees," Deepika told IANS.
Said actor Ajay Devgan: "Heroines are as strong as heroes. If we can do it, why can't they? It is great to see them opting for action roles and I think they must continue to do action scenes in films."
Deepika is all set to give a heady rush of adrenaline to audiences with action scenes in Nikhil Advani's Chandni Chowk To China opposite Akshay Kumar.
Viewers will also soon see Priyanka Chopra doing heavy-duty action in Love Story 2050, Aishwarya swinging the sword in the historical epic Jodhaa-Akbar and Koena playing a superwoman in Karna.
<b1>Prior to these, Seema Biswas wielded revolvers in Bandit Queen, a film-based on dacoit Phoolan Devi, Sushmita Sen gave an action packed performance in Samay and Esha Deol's and Aishwarya's racy acts proved a crowd puller for Dhoom and Dhoom 2 respectively.
Also, Priyanka and Soha Ali Khan had action scenes in Krrish and Khoya Khoya Chand respectively, while Esha, Dia Mirza and Shamita Shetty did some stunts in Cash.
Commenting on the trend, Amrita Rao said: "I would love to do an action flick. In fact I find myself fortunate that I entered the film industry during a phase when actresses are doing so much and have longer terms.
"It gives me hope for a longer innings. And the credit goes to banners for defying the roles set earlier for actresses," she added.
However, in the 1930s and 40s, Bollywood heroines did have important roles in action films. Indian cinema at that time saw Mary Evans, fondly called Fearless Nadia, tossing the myth of the docile heroine into air.
Riding a horse with a whip in hand, fencing with villains atop running trains, swinging from chandeliers and doing stunts without resorting to stuntmen, Nadia's films Hunterwali, Pahadi Kanya, Miss Frontier Mail, Lutaru Lalna, Punjab Mail, Diamond Queen, Bombaiwali, Jungle Princess and Hunterwali ki Beti ran houseful.
Director and actor Rajat Kapoor said: "It is nothing new. After every 20 years, trends comes back. According to me, today the trend of actresses doing more action in films is more related to fitness.
"It is no doubt great but as far as the ornamental role of women is concerned I feel no progress is happening".