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Bollywood actresses are game for action

After decades of playing the conventional heroine, Bollywood actresses are increasingly making their presence felt in the hitherto male preserve of action films.
By Prithwish Ganguly | Reuters, Mumbai
UPDATED ON OCT 01, 2008 04:14 PM IST

After decades of playing the conventional heroine, Bollywood actresses are increasingly making their presence felt in the hitherto male preserve of action films.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Dhoom 2, Sushmita Sen in Samay and Priyanka Chopra in Don came into their own in action sequences - carrying out intricate stunts with practised ease.

Chopra, whose dexterity will be on display in the action film Drona, goes on the defensive when asked about her liking for such roles.

"If we can pull off dramas, comedies - then why can't we do action films?" the actress told Reuters.

"I think it's very wrong to think that only actors can do action films and stunts and a woman can't do it. There is definitely a risk when you do action sequences but if you are properly trained then why not?"

The trend sees actresses performing stunts for perhaps the first time since Mary Evans, better known as Fearless Nadia, wowed Indian audiences in the first half of the 20th century.

Other actresses like Kareena Kapoor, Esha Deol and Deepika Padukone are also experimenting with the genre and are prepared to take the risk of injury.

"I have simply fallen in love with action, it excites me a lot," Aishwarya Rai Bachchan told reporters at an event in Mumbai.

The 34-year-old wielded the sword for a sequence in Jodhaa Akbar and also did several stunts for the Hollywood film The Last Legion.

"After I got a taste of it, I just can't wait to do action stunts again and again. It is so exciting to do sword fights or for that matter jumping off from a cliff."

But some commentators feel that Bollywood actresses are being forced to experiment with the action genre as films are still written keeping the hero in mind. In fact, films like Chak De India and Bheja Fry did not even have a leading lady.

"We are in an era when the role of the conventional Hindi heroine is fast getting marginalised," Bollywood historian Derek Bose told Reuters.

"Today it is either a comedy or an action flick that can assure you a box-office draw. If an actress has to find employment she has to choose between the two."

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