A beauty to reckon, virtuoso performer and excellent dancer, that's how actress Madhuri Dixit, who turns 40 Tuesday, will always be remembered by millions of her fans.
Her admirers are now eagerly awaiting her comeback film Aaja Nachle. After a five-year hiatus, she steps under the arc lights to portray the role of a theatre artiste. Though she had many offers, she chose to work in the Yash Raj Films' project, directed by Anil Mehta.
Set in the theatre world, the film depicts the journey of an aging actress.Though she has played a dancer in films like Tezaab and Dil To Paagal Hai, this is the first time she's playing a theatre artiste. The film is in its completion stage and may be screened at cinema halls in November.
The dhak dhak girl, as she is fondly called, danced her way into millions of hearts with the evergreen number Ek do teen... in Tezaab in 1988. Both the film and the song were smash hits.
"I hope I'm not sounding presumptuous or vain. I think like Sridevi, I was another heroine who could break the barriers between the classes and the masses," she was quoted as saying earlier.
Madhuri started her acting career with Kranthi Kumar's Swati in 1986 but then featured in dam squibs like Abodh. It was Tezaab that launched her into the star league. Madhuri's career witnessed a meteoric rise after the film's phenomenal success.
Movie buffs remember her performances in songs like Bada dukh dina (Ram Lakhan), Dhak dhak (Beta), Chane ke kheth mein (Anjaam), Choli ke peechche (Khalnayak), and Maar dala (Devdas).
"She is a wonderfully graceful dancer and never looks unbecoming, no matter how cheap the movements are," director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was quoted as saying in an interview while he was making "Devdas" with her.
He is a huge fan of Madhuri and claims she is the best dancer in Bollywood.
Apart from being a great dancer, Madhuri proved her acting skills in films like Ram Lakhan, Dil, Parinda, Khalnayak. She starred opposite Salman Khan in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, which is often called the crowning glory of her career.
Madhuri also found a fan in renowned painter MF Husain, who later made a movie called Gaja Gamini - a tribute to the actress' beauty and talent. The two continue to be in touch.
She has won four Filmfare awards for Best Actress and was also honoured with the Best National Citizens Award in 2001.
Her career suffered a slide after Anjaam, which was followed by a series of flops like Raja and Rajkumar. She, however, did regain some ground with her performance in Dil To Pagal Hai.
Bhansali's magnum opus Devdas became her swan song after which she joined her husband in the US and is now the proud mother of two sons.
Aaja Nachle will hopefully bring her more awards and accolades.