This idea germinated in my wicked brain when I read a post on io9 discussing the new faces who are supposedly going to be the successors of the Sigourney Weaver throne of Action Girl. So we have had Angelina Jolie, Uma Thurman and Mila Jovovich who are the alumni of the ‘League of Action Queens’, but it made me wonder if we did have any such ladies to flaunt in Bollywood. The answer is not so surprising. It is a big NO. I get it. We Indians are not very violent by nature, and the ladies are far away from it. I know, we occassionally find ladies learning and practicing martial arts in some movies, but that is about it. I don’t see a remote possibility of a Rani Mukherjee or Katrina Kaif doing a double flip, wearing a body suit and gunning down 25 gunmen with an Uzi while she casually chews on her gum. Of course, we saw a bit of that with Deepika Padukone in CC2C, but we all know what happened to that.
And yes, although I do miss this void that Bollywood has, I do think that Bollywood leading ladies are Kick-Ass in their own way. ‘Inki Alag hi Baat Hai’. I do accept that Bollywood leading ladies have come a long way from being the ever demanding damsel in distress, to the companion of the Hero’s plans, to even being completely kick-ass in a very independent way. And after intense brainstorming over my cup of capuccino, I have narrowed down to the following 10. These are imo, the Kick-Ass Bollywood Ladies. Some are indeed very femme fatale, while others are more domestic ["gharelu"], but even so, they all kick some good desi buttocks.
In no particular order:
Zeenat Aman – Roma – Don
I believe she is a template for every Kickass Bollywood leading lady. After all she has the ‘Pratishod ki Jwala’ [ The Volcano of Vengeance, ha! it sounds even more fun in English] in her. She is trained in Martial Arts, Gun Fight, and she has a plan in mind with a set goal – Kill DON. And above all, she does not hesitate to kick ass. Compared to this, Priyanka Chopra did get her ass kicked.
Long before Barkha Dutt became the nations “Leading” journalist, Seema showed what it takes to commit to the job. Working for a daily newspaper with an Editor who gets wrong numbers [ ha! the 80s], Seema is so committed to getting the headlines material, that she gambles her own life to go to the villains den, dress as a Hawaiian dancer dressed in shimmering gold and almost escaping being lashed. Phew! And this was way before ‘Breaking News’ existed.
Madhuri Dixit – Saraswati – Beta
I am a Madhuri Bhakt[devotee]. And this movie was the one which made me a Bhakt. Ever seen a movie which totally reverses what the filmmaker intended to. Indra Kumar’s Beta has Anil Kapoor as ‘the Beta’ and Madhuri as the Bahu. But trust me on this, after you watch this movie, you’ll soon realise why it actually needs to be renamed as ‘Bahu’. Madhuri effortlessly kicks Sasu-maas ass with her endless counter attacks to Sasu-maa Aruna Irani’s Soutela Witchcraft, I mean evil plans.
Hema Malini – Geeta -Seeta Aur Geeta
I know it is (very) similar to Hema jee’s Geeta. But c’mon. Did you think that I would not include Manju from the Kick-Ass list. Never before in the whole wide world, has anyone been so amazingly daarubaaz, chaalbaaz and romance Rajnikanth at the same time. Add to that, she dances in the rain, the disco and has an awesome sense of make up. Manju deserves to be here, and she is not going anywhere. Period!
Hema Malini-Basanti – Sholay
This one’s obvious. She is an independent soul. She makes her own living in a remote town called Ramgarh, where the average women help their bread-earner men by making them Roti and Sabzee. She even has her financial plan ready[Belapur ka 2 Rupya, Ramgarh ka Dedh Rupa remember], wants to learn how to shoot a gun [ well, hold a gun at leaast]. And dude, did you just hear how much she can talk? If Gabbar would have been a good listener, she would’ve kill ‘em all.
Rekha- Aarti – Khoon Bhari Maang
Now, if we are talking about proper Femme Fatale types, this is THE ONE. I have very vivid memories of Khoon Bhari Maang, and specially geeking out at the Plastic Surgery scene when the skin from the thigh was taken and pasted on the face. [I'll rant about that in a future post]. But here’s why she is kick ass. She is a vulnerable single mother who survives a friggin Crocodile incident. In any book, that is bloody huge. And just like Roma, her “Volcano of Vengeance” drives her to stay away from her own kids, get a facial transformation and kick the Bewafa Sanam’s ass.
You’re already quite aware about my love for Khubsoorat, and I know I cannot postpone writing about the movie for long now. But for now, yet another snippet of my love for Manju [yet another Manju on this list ]. Manju is the epitome of “independence”. The song “Kaayda Todke Socho Ek Din” speaks it all. And yes, Rekha sang it herself. She’s not a rebel, but not a meek, gharelu behenji types either. Manju knows how to have fun. She’s a brilliant PR person who knows the means of effective communication and is also excellent at taking risks – well not as risky as gambling with her own life. But when someone like Dina Pathak is the disciplinarian, gambling for an in-house stage show is a big gamble in its own way. And for all that, I believe Manju is ekdum Bindass and Kickass [ say it in a rhyming fashion for maximum delight and effect]
Kareena Kapoor-Geet – Jab We Met
I know this list has now gone from the utterly dangerous and femme fatale types to the independent types. But Jab We Met’s Geet is one of the few leading lady characters which reminded me of Manju. Geet, as Shahid truly points out, is - Ek Hi Piece. Tumhe Dekhne Ke Liye Ticket Lagna Chahiye Her childish innocence coupled with the wicked gleam in her eyes make her one of my most beloved leading ladies. But why is she featured as kickass. C’mon dude. She is a Jattni and granddaughter of Daara Singh,the Great. She is infectiously optimistic [at least the first half] and you can’t match her instantaneous replies. To quote the great Geet – Tum Chaho Bhi to Rape Nahi Kar Sakte [ Even if you want to, you can't rape me ] Geet- Tussi Great Ho!
And finally,..drumroll please..
Babli – Bunty aur Babli
We all love the effervescent Rani. And this is ONE BIG BOTTLE filled to the brim with Rani magic. Don’t you think so? C’mon, she looted a whole mall for fuck sake. Yeah, yeah! Half of it is Bunty aka Rakesh’s idea too. But where would Bunty be without Babli? And let’s not forget the -Sell the Taj Mahal hoax. Babli is simply brilliant. After all, it does show if you are Puneet ‘Duryodhan’ Issar’s beti
So that is my List of the the Kickass Bollywood Ladies. I know I haven’t included the likes of Helen in many a dangerous roles or Parveen Babi, Bindiya Goswami or Neetu Singh. Also, the exclusion of the Bandit Queen or Hunterwali are simply because of my non-familiarity with them. Can you think of other kickass leading ladies of Bollywood? Jump to the comments section and shout it out NOW!!!
P.S. I might be suffering from non-regularitis on OKS because of my scheduled holiday to India during May. I will try my best to blog, but nothing is certain. But I’ll definitely try to catch up with all you guys once I am back. Cheerio!