Bollywood 2012 Heroines rule hearts and box office


Even though 100 crore-earning, hero-centric films dominated the calendar, heroines too made a mark by taking on lead roles in many interesting films. The likes of Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee, Bipasha Basu, Vidya Balan and Sridevi chose offbeat roles to battle it out with their male counterparts at the box office. The year began with Vidya’s Kahaani. The actress, who had already delivered a success with The Dirty Picture last year, broke many stereotypes with the thriller. The film explored themes of feminism and motherhood in a male-dominated Indian society. It had a seven-month pregnant heroine in the lead without any recognisable stars but managed to earn critical acclaim as well as audience’s love. Word-of-mouth publicity and good critical response paved the way for the film’s commercial success, with a 50 day worldwide gross of Rs104 crore. Bipasha had three releases this year. While Players and Jodi Breakers failed to make a mark, she delivered a hit with the horror flick Raaz 3 portraying a fading superstar obsessed with her career. Even Kareena, who is largely seen playing the glam doll in hero-centric films, carried Madhur Bhandarkar’s next “Heroine” on her shoulders. Although the film garnered mixed reviews, Kareena’s performance as a declining superstar was appreciated. From doing the raunchy item song Halkat Jawaani to the scenes where she is battling depression and popping pills, Kareena made her character Mahi memorable and lovable. Sridevi, who ruled the silver screen with films like Sadma, Chandni, Mr India and Lamhe in the eighties, was back on the big screen after a gap of nearly 15 years with the sweet and simple English Vinglish. The 49-year-old actress played the central role of a middle class Indian housewife burdened with an ungrateful family, who embarks on learning English after being mocked by her relatives. The story evolved as she rediscovers her self-esteem by sneaking off to English lessons during a visit to New York for a family wedding. The film was premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, where Sridevi’s performance received a standing ovation. The film was declared a big hit in India and overseas. It also went on to complete a golden jubilee 50-day run at the box-office. While Rani, who was seen playing a headstrong journalist in No One Killed Jessica last year, was back to scorch the silver screen with back-to-back films — romantic comedy Aiyyaa and thriller Talaash opposite Aamir Khan. Although Aiyyaa failed to create magic at the box office, Rani convincingly played the role of a devastated mother and a caring wife in Talaash.