Married actresses ruling the roost in Bollywood – by Valliyoor Satya SignUp
Married actresses ruling the roost in Bollywood –
Valliyoor Satya Bookmark and Share

Of late, a lot of fuss is being created about how married actresses like Vidya Balan and Kareena Kapoor continue to be offered good roles. But then what is the big deal ? Way back, Kamini Kaushal was hugely successful as an actress even after marriage (she had married her sister’s husband after the latter was widowed). She still looks beautiful, charming and radiant (Remember her in “Chennai Express”?). 

Sharmila Tagore and Maushmi Chatterjee continued to rule the roost in Bollywood though they were much married. Look at Saira Banu who continued to be a super star till 1976 (10 years after her marriage to Dilip Kumar in 1966) after which she called it quits. She made a brief appearance in Yash Johar’s movie Duniya and this is her last movie.

Even after Hema Malini married Dharmendra, she continued to deliver hits in the era of Sridevis and Jayapradas. Some of these movies like “Durga”, “Sharara” and "Farz Aur Kanoon" were big hits as Hema carried these films on her shoulders. Some actresses like Lina Chandavarkar had a shorter life span as a leading lady as their personal tragedies came in the way of professional success.

Then there are actresses who get married at the fag end of their career after enjoying superstardom for many years. Their career comes to  a grinding halt after their marriage. While some like Vyjayanthimala quit movies, forever vowing never to face the arclights again, actresses like Sadhana and Mala Sinha continued to act in the movies for a few more years.

Post her marriage, Sadhana mostly acted in movies like Inteqam, Aap aye bahar ayee and Geeta mera nam that were produced under her own home banner. Mala Sinha switched to character roles soon after marriage (with the exception being the much delayed "Archana" with Sanjeev Kumar that got released in 1975 after it took 6 long years to get completed) and unfortunately, we have seen little of her after “ Radha ka Sangam” and “Khel”.

Nutan was one actress who continued to enjoy the top slot as a heroine even after marriage. That her personal life was not so peaceful was a matter of great tragedy for this wonderful actress whose talent remains immortal. She played Kusum in the super hit movie "Saraswatichandra" that was released in 1968 six years after her marriage.

Who can forget Nutan's brilliant portrayal as “Kaliganj ki bahu” in a TV serial. Navni Parihar debuted in this serial as the puzzled wife who fails to understand her husband’s recalcitrance to consummate their marriage. Navni,Smita Jaykar and Maya Alagh are examples of film/ TV actresses who were hugely successful in character roles.

Meena Kumari’s troubled marriage and her controversial personal life notwithstanding, she had a hugely successful career before her excessive drinking put a full stop to her career as a supporting actress. It is wrong to call Meena's role in "Mere Apne" or "Dushman" as a supporting role. These were roles that were pivotal to the narrative of these movies.

Nargis quit movies after marriage though she made one last appearance in the thriller – Raat Aur Din (1967) which took too long to make. Madhubala’s career came to an end once she was diagnosed with a rare ailment. Shakila and Amita never made it big in Bollywood.  Actresses like Kumud Chugani, Neeta Mehta, Alka played supporting characters for a while and once the roles dried up, they  decided to marry and quit. Lucky ones like Anupama (she hailed from Kalyan and hit big time when she married a US-based doctor ; she continues to do stage plays in US and is highly respected) used marriage as a spring board to experience better things in life.

Waheeda Rehman and Zeenat Aman got married when their careers as leading ladies ended and unlike Waheeda who switched to character roles with ease, Zeenat unfortunately could never shed her glamorous image. For some actresses like Poonam Dhillon, Reena Roy, Raakhee, Simi Garewal and Sarika, the failure of their marriages made them make a comeback to tinsel town.

For reasons best known to her, Reena chose to stay away from Bollywood after the1993 disaster – “Admi Khilona Hai” that was produced and directed by her favourite director J Om Prakash (Hrithik Roshan’s grandfather). Actresses like Nalini Jaywant returned to movies for a brief while only to vow never to face the arclights again after the bitter experience that they had.
Incidentally, both her last movies (Bandish , Nastik) were movies where Hema Malini was the leading lady.

Padmini Kolhapure and Jaya Bachchan returned to the movies under their own terms and conditions. Padmini looks the same as she was in “ Pyar Kiya Hai Pyar Karenge”. Wonder how she has never aged !

Most of Vidya Sinha’s hit movies released after her first marriage with a Tamilian entrepreneur.  Dimple Kapadia and Amrita Singh are in no need of earning money by acting in movies, so they continue to do that odd role. Shyama and Nimmi were two actresses who continued to act even after marriage. We also had Juhi Chawla who chose to hide her marriage to business tycoon Jai Mehta for fear of losing her market.

Many of the current crop of actresses are sensible. Dia Mirza is all set to tie the knot. Bipasha is getting married this year. Esha Deol made the most sensible decision of her life. Twinkle Khanna, Rinke Khanna and Pooja Bedi resisted the lure of arclights. Pooja Bhatt stopped acting and turned to direction. Udita Goswami chose to marry her director instead of waiting endlessly for roles. Even the actress who played Akshay Kumar's sister in "Khatta meeta" has married a Maharashtrian politician. Genelia quit at the right time.

Veena Malik has already tied the knot. Yana Gupta (Babuji zara dheere chalo) and Lisa Ray could never make it in Bollywood. Libi Rana (aka Nivedita) quit movie after she was reduced to playing an extra in “Sabse Bada Rupaiya” though she had debuted as a heroine in “Shagun” in 1965 and Waheeda Rehman was her co-star.

Zaheeda’s tantrums could not be digested by Bollywood and as offers dried up, she did what actresses always do during such times – get married. Sameera Reddy tried her luck in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada movies and failed everywhere. So, she is getting married. Babita may rue that she quit movies after her marriage, but she was hardly star material. Look at her movies and her horrible wigs and dead pan expressions and you know what I am talking about. Fortunately, her daughters were better than her. The bohemian Tanuja had a disastrous marriage and going by reports, her second daughter seems to be having that streak in her ( think of Big Boss and Arman Kohli).

Thus married actresses have ruled the roost in Bollywood from time immemorial . This is not a new trend. Marriage or no marriage, an actress’s shelf life is limited. Otherwise actresses like Nanda, Urmila Matondkar and Asha Parekh would have had a longer run in Bollywood. The last movies of  Nanda and Asha were disasters and this was a clear sign that their time was up. Asha of course made a transition to character roles within no time though Nanda was not so lucky. Urmila has vanished from the scene and is now seen in obscure advertisements. Tabu and Shabana Azmi make rare appearances …    

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More by :  Valliyoor Satya
Views: 22682      Comments: 11

Comments on this Blog

Comment A good article on Nivedita followed by equally nice comments. I would like to know about Rani, dancer cum artist.One of her notable films was Dil diya dard liya.
Unfortunately, there is no info about her on the net, although she acted in 60 odd B and C grade films.

05/25/2020 05:31 AM

Comment Great forum would like to discuss many topics relating my lovely Bollywood

Vijay Choudhary
09/03/2019 09:58 AM

Comment Found this interesting...

03/11/2018 12:33 PM

Comment We talked about Libi Rana's ( Shagun Fame ) roles but what about her stunning Charms !

06/19/2017 13:19 PM

Comment where is old actress - Libi rana who worked in hindi film shagun 1960s

03/30/2016 07:18 AM

Comment Arvind I presume that you are referring to Nivedita aka Libi Rana who starred in Jyoti, Shagun, Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke, Dhund. Years ago I read that she is very much in Mumbai away from the arclights and glitz and glamour of Bollywood. She had accidentally met film critic Khalid Mohammed at Hotel Taj's book shop. She compared Bollywood to Sunset Boulevard and said that she did not want to pursue a career in Bollywood as she couldn't take on the pressure. She was the Katrina Kaif of the late 60's and early 70's. So sad that a pretty actress like her had such a short lived career bereft of opportunities. Though critics of those days had very little to say about her acting talent, even by those standards, she had such a short career span. It was sad that her name did not figure in the credits of the 1973 release "Dhund". It was painful to see her play a 10-minute comical role in Mehmood's Sabse Bada Rupaiyya (1974). I understand that she was under contract with R K Banner to do movies with Raj Kapoor but I think nothing came out of it. Who said talent is always recognised in Bollywood? For every one Amitabh, there are hundreds of Anil Dhawans and Vijay Aroras and Rehana Sultans.

12/18/2015 02:18 AM

Comment Thanks Ashfaq and Krishna; Himanshu - agree with you - all three of them were accomplished actresses but Tanuja lost the race despite showing lots of promise due to her devil-may-care attitude and bohemian behaviour.

12/18/2015 02:11 AM

Comment Hello. I have accidentally come across your site. Very interesting reading about " Bollywood ". I WOULD love to find out about Libi Rana --- is she still with us, where does she reside and how old would she be now. Also, any information about Arjun --- actor in Mukesh movie ---- Malabar. Thank you.

Arvind Joshi
12/11/2015 01:47 AM

Comment Though I did give up following films when decent Hindi Cinema morphed into the trash bucket disgustingly labelled as Bollywood, I was pleasuntly surprised to once again see Suhasini Muley (who had acted with Utpal Dutt and Sadhu Meher in Bhuvan Shome)- turn up after many years in a "character" role of the mother in Lagaan. As far as acting went, it is almost impossible to avoid acknowledging Waheeda, Nutan and Tanuja as "top shelf " actresses- Nutan's sensitive roles were in Bimal Roy's Bandini and Sujata but of course Hindi cinema had quite some talent then

06/16/2015 04:45 AM

Comment Nice

01/13/2015 05:14 AM

Comment padmini was also an actress who ruled bollywood after her marriage... While acting in mera naam joker 1970, she was married and she had a son 9 yrs old.

07/01/2014 05:21 AM

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