Yeah, we have finally come to the end of our 33 days long Poll (No.3) to find out the best actress of the last decade. The poll was a grand success with so many people participating in it and first few places saw fierce competition. We started the poll with 20 entries and added 5 more after 10 days considering the suggestions we had received; we can see the actual list here. Well, we have got our lists ready. We have a ‘critic’s top 10’ list as well as a ‘popular top 10’ list. Critic’s top 10 is selected after considering the votes we have received from our critics’ panel and the popular top 10 is based entirely on the votes we have received from the general public.
On that note, let’s take a look at the critic’s list first.
CRITIC’S TOP 10
10) Priyanka Chopra – Aitraaz (2004)
Being a femme-fatale could be extremely liberating and powerful; however, it has its downside too, that is what Priyanka character (Sonia) has shown us. This could be an extremely difficult role for any actress and Priyanka pulls it off with extreme elan. Look at her slow, confident, earnest walk; look at her wry smile which could make any man week on his knees; look at the way she speaks in that slow, seductive tone; look at her ‘would you able to survive my heat?’ gaze; well, Priyanka redefines the femme-fatale and gives us a performance which none of us can forget for a long time. Well, her character depicted the changing times where women put their career before anything. Could a woman attempt rape on a man? Well, not too many could believe this but she did and she’s not the first women to do it, either. May be Sonia needed a little balance; and little sense too. Priyanka was living the character from the first scene to the last; and she deserves huge round of applause!
09) Kalki Koechlin – Dev D (2009)
There is something extremely endearing and fascinating about the character Chandramukhi (here it is Chanda), isn’t it? Are we fascinated by the idea of a prostitute with a golden heart? May be we are, but above all, what makes this performance so touching is the fact that Chanda is extremely lovable; her numb face draws us to her instantly. We end up asking “Hey, why are you so sad today, put on that amazing smile”. Being an innocent school girl, she only knew that she did nothing wrong with her classmate for the whole world to point their fingers at her and corner her. That MMS shook her world completely and she still was wondering what the problem with the world around her was. She became a prostitute by choice (well, nothing else was left for her, but it wasn’t forced on her, either). She became this prostitute who goes to college. Did she complain? Did she blame the world? Nope, she was quite calm and numb mostly; and she never realized that there is this beautiful heart of hers was slowly transforming into gold. Her face has the right amount of innocence and calmness. It’s a pleasure to see her in that phone sex scene where she speaks to different clients in different languages and the scene where she asks Abhay whether Paro was beautiful. You have got to see her expression when he answered that question. Can any other performance be more beautiful than this?
08 ) Kangna Ranaut – Fashion (2008 )
Madhur Bhandarkar, known for his hard-hitting realistic films, got the seed of Fashion when he came across the news item on the tragedy of famous model Gitanjali Nagpal, where she was found on the road begging. What does the high glamour of fashion industry do to those wannabes who have stars in their eyes? Is it a road to destruction? Not necessarily, but the movie warns us that you have got to be your own guard in this chaotic wonderland. Shonali Gujral’s (Kangna’s Character) part was difficult role for sure and someone with an average talent would never have conveyed the inner chaos and turmoil of Shonali. I have never seen a better performance where the body language was used to its maximum potential. Shonali doesn’t have too many dialogues as she is constantly on drugs, cigarettes and drinks. She is this dysfunctional super diva who is also the epitome of arrogance. Her arrogance and attitude come across in the way she walks the ramp or even when she smokes a cigarette. Wow, the perfect body language! And it’s a pleasure looking at her I-care-damn-about-the-world demeanor! At times we wonder, has Kangna lost in the character while playing the role? Well, we can see the traces of a powerhouse talent in her which is still not tapped by anybody. Above all, her National Award was one of the most deserving National Awards in the recent times!
07) Kajol – Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001)
You must be wondering what Kajol’s over-the-top Punjabi kudi Anjali doing on the critics list. Well, let me remind you, ‘Man, it’s Kajol, who doesn’t need an off-beat movie to show how talented she is’! That is the biggest achievement of Kajol as an actress; she doesn’t need to count her off-beat movies to show-off her talent, as she could be the best in anything she does. Last week she deservedly won the Padma Shree and she had already won the millions of hearts years ago. Well, comedy is one of the most difficult things to pull off (all the great actors will instantly agree to this) and it’s no mean feat to be this over the top chatter box. The biggest success of her role is that she remains in the character from start to end, luckily Karan never tried to change a thing about her to make her look demure and intelligent. She is this carefree girl who is full of heart and laughter. Above all, Kajol’s comic timing is impeccable and it’s a treat to watch her antics. Only a Madhuri or Kajol command such an effect on the audience and nobody wonders why!!
06) Urmila Matondkar – Ek Hasina Thi (2003)
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! That’s exactly what Sarika (Urmila’s character) taught us! I remember reading one of the news items in which a woman killed her abusive husband by cutting his body in to hundreds of pieces. According to the news, she silently suffered the humiliation, rape and physical abuse for several years until a point where she couldn’t hold any longer. Well, then she turned in to a tigress and the suppressed anger made her do one of the most brutal murders ever! Well, coming to our own tigress, a travel agent, un-assuming Sarika has been cheated by a businessman called Karan Rathod (Saif Ali Khan). She’s been trapped by Karan pretending to be her lover and he also make sure that she gets a 7 years jail term; what did she do exactly for this? She jailbreaks and becomes this cold blooded, calculated, crazy avenger. There is fire in her eyes; there is death in her eyes; beware, that’s all we can say. Amazing could be an understatement to describe Urmila’s powerhouse performance. One of the finest female portrayals in the last decade and Sriram Raghavan deserves all the praise for creating this amazing character!
05)Kareena Kapoor – Jab We Met (2007)
Here comes the most loved and cherished performance of the decade! Geet- She’s a chatterbox, She’s feisty, she’s lively, she’s fun, she’s over-the-top, she’s sweet, she’s stupid, she’s hopelessly-romantic, she’s full-of-heart, she’s innocent, she’s naughty and above all she is so lovable, so much so that we take her home with us. It was ingenious of Imtiaz Ali to create a character as vivacious as Geet. She went on to became another Simran(Kajol’s character in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge) of 2000s. It was extremely unfortunate that Jab We Met released at the time when the leading pair Shahid and Kareena were breaking up in real life. It was the time when their pairing was recognized for the first time for their intense chemistry, so ironic, isn’t it? Well, Kareena ended up sweeping all the awards that year and became a top league actress in terms of box office success as well. There was no looking back for Kareena since then and people are still talking about her Geet; what else could an actress want in her life?
04) Rani Mukherjee – Black (2005)
Despite being deaf and blind Helen Keller lived a life which was nothing less than epic. She was the first deaf-blind person to achieve a bachelor degree in arts. When Sanjay Leela Bhansali decided to make a movie on her life, every actress would have given their right hand to bag this plum project. Finally it landed on Rani’s lap and she came out like a real queen with her towering performance. It would have been hell of a task to be that character and Rani’s efforts come across. Right from her fixed gaze to the unsure walk with that blind stick, she’s done it amazingly. The scene where she kisses Amitabh is one of the most beautiful cinematic moments in the history of Bollywood and Rani carried every scene with a Midas touch. Speechless would be the right word to describe her performance!
03) Kareena Kapoor – Chameli (2004)
Chameli : The prostitute with a golden heart. She dons bright colored cheap dresses and unapologetic about being a prostitute in the Mumbai red streets. Though not excited being a prostitute she has no complaints being one and doesn’t expect her prince charming to come and rescue her, like in the Bollywood movies revolving around prostitutes. She is a fighter and knows how to laugh at the very face of life. One rainy night, an unhappy and confused businessman, Aman Kapoor (Rahul Bose) meets Chameli at the bus stop where he is stranded due to the heavy rain. He is uncomfortable and irritated in her presence where she tries to mock and provoke him. At this moment, he doesn’t have any idea that he was taken in for an unforgettable ride with Chameli all through that night. He finds out later that beneath that sarcastic, tough face there is this beautiful girl who is irresistibly charming. Kareena gives everything she has to Chameli to make her one of the most stunning women ever on Bollywood celluloid. He realizes that somewhere he forgot to laugh at himself and begins to see life in a whole new color. There is an amazing actress in Kareena somewhere and there are times when it appears off guard and Chameli is one such moment! Poetic is one word to describe her performance!
02) Tabu – Maqbool (2004)
We wonder if Tabu ever realizes how good an actress she is! If acting is something which is bestowed upon you by god, then god must have been very kind to Tabu. After winning 2 national awards nobody needs to be told how talented she is. Lady Macbeth is one of the most complex and fascinating characters of Shakespeare and not everyone can even dream of playing this character; yes, of course, Tabu can! Maqbool is undoubtedly one of the best works of Vishal Bharadwaj yet and we must add that Vishal was extremely lucky to have Tabu playing this multi-layered, complex character. Nimmi is married to the old yet powerful Mumbai underworld don Abba Ji (Pankaj Kapoor) and at the same time she is in love with Maqbool who is young and Abba Ji’s right hand. This extra marital affair leads her to face a far darker side of her as she is tempted to force Maqbool to kill Abba Ji and take over the throne. Was she an outright bad woman? No, she wasn’t, but she had no control of this side of her which veered towards the dark arena and it was too late for her to control the tragedy which followed. Well, you have got to see her face and body language convey extreme emotions such as love, cruelty, guilt, fear and despair. Someone with an average talent can’t even imagine handling these many extreme complex emotions. It’s amazing to see how she deals with the guilt, especially, well; we would say Vishal was the luckiest man in the world to have Tabu to play his Nimmi.
01) Madhuri Dixit In Devdas (2002)
If there is one actress who deserves to be called a ‘complete actress’ then it must be none other than Madhuri Dixit. Madhuri Dixit is referred to as a complete actress for the reason that she’ breathtakingly beautiful, unbelievable dancer, versatile, extremely graceful, delightfully feminine and above all she holds an aura which not too many Bollywood actresses could ever claim to have. When she flashes her million dollar smile she could make the whole nation week on its knees. She was a true blue female superstar in every sense. Much like Kajol, she doesn’t need an off-beat movie to display her histrionics; she is simply brilliant the moment she appears on the screen. Coming to Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Chandramukhi, the courtesan with a golden heart, nobody else could have played the role of Chandramukhi as beautifully as Madhuri; as if it was written for her! Also, Chandramukhi was the only role which could do justice to her talent, finally! She’s this seductress courtesan who fell in love with the only man she ever came across, well, Devdas was lot different from the men she had seen till that day. She realized that she possess a heart behind that thick veil, which longs for nothing but the acknowledgement of the man she worships at her heart. Well, look at the song, “Kahe Chched Mohe..” and the beautiful expressions flashes through that beautiful face which resembles moon. She irritates Shahrukh Khan by throwing her veil at him and finally he catches that with an angry face, voila! You should see her sudden reaction to that. Madhuri stands for beauty, perfection and grace and an actress of her caliber is yet to take birth!
Take a look at her amazing turn in Kahe Chched Mohe
POPULAR TOP 10
10) Aishwarya Rai Bachchan – Guzaarish (2010)
Sofia is undoubtedly the best character of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan yet. She is lucky to play this demanding role of a selfless nurse who is also deeply madly in love with her patient. It must have been a huge challenge for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to pull it off since this role demanded her to rely on her face, eyes and body language than her dialogues for the reason that she doesn’t have too many dialogues to deliver in the movie. Sofia is the epitome of womanhood as she willingly centers her life on this paralyzed man whom she loves secretly. Therefore Sofia’s every move shows her immense love and awe towards him. She loves changing his clothes, she loves brushing him and she loves taking care of him as if he is a child. She knows that he could never reciprocate her love with physical affection, yet she is not complaining and she is more than happy with a loving gaze of him. Despite knowing that he wouldn’t be able to come back to his old self, she fights relentlessly for him. Her body language, eyes and voice show that she is deeply madly in love with Ethan (Hrithik). What a beautiful characterization and she is indeed lucky to have played this beautiful Sofia.
09) Aishwarya Rai Bachchan – Devdas (2002)
Paro was often compared as the most beautiful women ever and who else could have justified this role except Aishwarya Rai Bachchan? For decades, she was the kind of woman every man would have loved to fall in love with. She reminds us of Radha. There is a sharp contrast in the way she handles her love. On one hand she keeps her flame of love always lit and on the other hand she throws away the man she loves because of mere ego. Yes, she is a childish woman despite being idealistic and passionate in romance. May be she chose to burn herself in the flame of love. Well, despite having Madhuri in the movie, Aishwarya held her own being the classic Paro. She convincingly portrayed the tormented Paro with required poise and elan.
08 )Kareena Kapoor – Chameli (2004)
This performance has already been featured on the critic’s list. Refer #3.
07) Priyanka Chopra – Fashion (2008 )
In this National Award winning performance, Priyanka tries to live the difficult and ambitious life of Meghna Mathur, a wannabe model. Madhur Bhandarkar movies always had strong female characters and Meghna was no exception. In pursuit of being a super model, Meghna has to go through a difficult path. From being a small town girl to the arrogant supermodel and again coming back to her small town girl self, Priyanka witnesses many upheavals. Her amazing talent lets her display the gradual growth of this character from one extreme to the other. Meghna Mathur’s role was not an easy one to perform and Priyanka does justice to the role completely with the help of the amazing actress in her. Priyanka rightfully bagged the National Award and today she is hailed as a superb actress. Way to go priyanka!
06) Madhuri Dixit – Devdas (2002)
This performance has already been featured on the critic’s list. Refer #1.
05) Kajol – Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001)
This performance has already been featured on the critic’s list. Refer #7.
04) Kareena Kapoor – Jab We Met (2007)
This performance has already been featured on the critic’s list. Refer #5.
03)Kajol – We Are Family (2010)
The USP of the ‘Stepmom’ remake is without a doubt Kajol. The story of WAF is not new, especially if you have seen ‘Stepmom’. Yet you can’t help but feel for Kajol as basically single mother, suffer with her when Aman(Arjun Rampal) makes it clear he isn’t interested in rekindling the marital relationship and be heartbroken when Kajol says goodbye to her children. Kajol can portray powerful emotions even without dialogue. Her eyes and body language alone are sufficient to get the point across. Kajol charms the socks off of you just by being in a frame. In addition to that she does deliver her dialogue with great impact, even though the lines are sometimes a bit… question worthy, bordering on corny. Kajol looks beautiful throughout the movie, with minimal make-up. She is certainly one of the finest actresses to come out of Bollywood, ever! She makes the character played in the original by Susan Sarandon her own. The movie revolves about her character, and this is only fitting, as Kajol is in top form here.
02) Rani Mukherjee – Black (2005)
This performance has already been featured on the critic’s list. Refer #4.
01) Kajol – My Name Is Khan (2010)
Kajol plays the Hindu women Mandira who falls in love with this Muslim man who has Aspenger’s Syndrome. Since the story revolves around the American terrorist attack on Sept, 11, 2001, Karan takes this Hindu-Muslim love angle to convey the message across. Mandira is a single mom who has seen her share of troubles in her life and finally has found peace in her life being a successful businesswoman while raising her son. She is independent and smart. She becomes this tigress when her son had to bear the brunt of anti-Muslim sentiment in America post Sept 11. Karan has always written best roles for Kajol and he does the same this time too. She pulls off the mature mother act really well and she can simply light up the screen by just being in it. She can easily handle even the toughest scenes with much easiness and she proves that yet again in My Name Is Khan. It’s a pleasure to watch kajol on screen and the viewers will not have enough of her, ever!
Check the Sajda song from My Name Is Khan
With that our third poll comes to an end and we thank all of you for making it a grand success. We promise to come back with a new poll within next few days and please continue giving us your support! :)