One of the prime reasons why India watches films is none other than the beautiful heroines sizzling on screen alongside macho heroes. Well, getting into the shoes of the heroines has never been an easy task—and being counted among the top heroines, well, that’s a wholly different task altogether. Although Hindi film industry have seen humungous amount of footfall from different parts of India to feature in the league of top heroines, Bengali actresses have succeeded in carving a niche for themselves in the same, amidst much antagonism.
Well, this list is about all those beautiful maidens who have not only made it to Bollywood but made it really big. Take a look—
9. Suchitra Sen
Regarded as one of the most beautiful women ever, Suchitra Sen has been the star of mainstream Bengali films since the day she started her career—and also made it equally big in Bollywood. Her performances in films like Musafir, Deep Jele Jai, Mamta, and, of course, Andhi are regarded as the best! And, if you watch her depiction of Paro in the earlier Devdas, you’ll surely forget the one by Bansali!
8. Devika Rani
If you’re a true-blue Bolly buff, then you must be knowing this gentle beauty who starred in numerous early-Bollywood movies, like Achhyut Kanya and Karma. Along with her husband, Himanshu Rai, she founded the Bombay Talkies film studio—one of the best and oldest! This highly educated, great-grand niece of Rabindranath Tagore holds the world record of having acted in the longest kissing scene ever in the film fraternity of the world! Hey, Emraan Hashmi—are you listening?!
7. Jaya Bachchan
Jaya Bachchan, née Jaya Bhaduri, is one of the most celebrated names among the leading actresses of Bollywood. She made her entry into the world of films with Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar, and since then there hasn’t been any looking back. This petite alumnus of FTII, Pune, is regarded for her outstanding acting skills in both commercial as well as middle-of-the-road films. Among all her films, our pick would be Koshish, Anamika, Mili, Guddi and Parichay—to name a few!
Who’s unaware of this dark-skinned beauty?—certainly not any Indian, at least! Born into the famous Mukherjee family, she’s known for her charming and easy-going persona as much as she is known for her great acting skills. Although she limited her silver screen appearances after becoming the Devgan-wife, she still is one of the charming personalities around. Among all her other films, our favorites would be, of course, DDLJ, Gupt and Fanaa.
5. Konkona Sen Sharma
She might not be conventionally beautiful, but she’s definitely an eclectic amalgam of beauty and brain! Born to the famous actress-director, Aparna Sen, Konkona started her film career with Bengali films, and later went on to do some very good Hindi films, like Wake Up Sid! Although all the films in her filmography is worth watching, we recommend you Amu, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, Omkara, Sunglass and Life in a Metro.
4. Moushumi Chatterjee
She’s a charming persona who captured the hearts of her audiences with her perfect depiction of irritated and quarrelsome maidens and women onscreen—and boy! Was she good at that! Although she did numerous films with the leading actors of her time, we’d recommend you Balika Badhu, Parineeta, Anuraag and Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan among many others!
Kabhie Kabhie, Sharmili, Basera, Kasme Vaade, Shrimaan Shrimati, Paroma, Karan Arjun, Shubho Mahurat—phew! There seems to be no end to her list of brilliant films! Rakhee is one actress who could done the garb of a flirtatious maiden as well as a doting mother to the “hero” at the same time—can you name any other personality who could have done that? Well, keep searching….
2. Sharmila Tagore
A part of the famous Tagore family, Sharmila’s foray into films, too, was cemented by the likes of Ray, Tapan Sinha, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Shakti Samanta among others. From comedy to drama and from middle of the road films and new wave films to out-and-out commercial films—she’s been a part of everything, and depicted every role with equal poise and charm. We recommend all her films; yes, it’s this difficult to chalk out a few!
1. Rani Mukherjee
This petite, hazel eyed beauty, and the cousin to Kajol, too belongs to the famous Mukherjee family of Bollywood. Although she started her career with a series of flops, it gained momentum from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Ghulam, and since then there’s no looking back for this dancing star. We recommend her Ghulam, Bunty Aur Bubly, and, of course, Black among other films!