From Sadhana To Katrina:Looking At 50 Years Of The 'Yash Raj Heroine'
Chiffon saris. Switzerland. Chiffon saris.Switzerland. And more chiffon saris. Throw in some dance sequences among & an apsara like beauty sashaying in the rain, and ladies and gents let me present to you the quintessential Yash Raj Heroine.
With an illustrious career stretching over five decades that involved producing and directing some of the most iconic films of India, Yash Chopra sure knows how to lend a dreamlike, magical touch to his heroines and make them look as the most gorgeous things on earth. Visions of heavenly beauty,glowing luminously like a bright lamp, pert sexuality and innocence wrapped all into one, dignified, stoic,and ethereal beyond dreams,being in a Yash Chopra directed film is the ultimate dream of any actress. And why not?
After all you get to don those gorgeous chiffon saris,dance among the Alps,whisper some of the most romantic dialogues ever written.
Though almost every prominent actress of Bollywood has at one time or the other starred in a Yash Raj Film, it's been the privilege of only a select few to be directed by the Ace himself. Now as the King Of Romance returns to the director's chair after 8 long years for Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Shahrukh Khan and his two new blue eyed girls-Katrina Kaif & Aunshka Sharma lets see how the Yash Raj Heroine from Sadhna in Waqt four decades ago to Katrina in his recent film has evolved through the years.
Presenting the most popular Yash Raj heroines:-
“Waqt”(1965)first got the Yash Chopra noticed,and noticed in a big way.In Bollywood’s first ensemble cast consisting of Sunil Dutt and Sharmila Tagore,Sadhana stood out distinctively by bringing along the fashion of tight fitting chudidar-kurtas.Apart from playing a delectable ghost,Sadhana's tight fitting churidaars were just as big a rage as her Audrey Hepburn inspired fringe cut. Setting the standards of a future Yash Raj heroine,Sadhana shined both literally & figuratively in a role that provided little scope for acting.
Starring in Daag,Joshila,Trishul,Kaala Patthar Raakhee sure did seem to be Yash Chopra’s favourite to cast in the 70s and 80s.Then came the unforgettable classic “Kabhie Kabhie”(1976) where again thrown in an ensemble cast consisting of super-duper stars like Shashi Kapoor,Waheeda Rehman,Neetu Singh,Rishi Kapoor,Simi Garewal and of course the Shehenshah Amitabh Bachchan with whom she formed a superhit jodi,Raakhee managed to stand out on the sole power of her supreme acting chops alone while looking ethereal and magnificent at the same time.
Although she starred in only a single Yash Chopra directed film-Silsila(1981),Rekha became the stuff of legends in that one film.The film was the most scandalous of their films together; Rekha played Bachchan's love interest, while Bachchan's real-life wife, Jaya Bhaduri, played his wife. It was one of the rare instances when reel truly imitated real.Rekha & Amitabh’s torrid affair was literally brought to life by Yash Chopra in a fine,nuanced,and textured film in which Rekha in those chiffon saris looked every bit the diva she was,while delivering an equally fab performance as the other woman.
Boy I’ve no idea about you,but to me The Devi is the quintessential Yash Chopra heroine.Simply cause from blue to white,from amrapalli costumes to short skirts,from Switzerland to Rajasthan,from Chandni to Pallavi,Sridevi combines her effervescence,regal beauty,child like innocence,and diva aura(while rocking those chiffon saris).Yash Chopra has given her the finest films of her career,and Sri has given him his evergreen heroine. In 1989’s Chandni Sridevi looked every inch a diva whether she’s dancing to Mere Haathon Mein,or sashaying in the rain or making white Amrapalli costumes legendary.Then in 1991’s Lamhe,where the actress once again played a played a double role,Sridevi’s marvellous acting chops just shined through the entire film like never before. So from making the “Chandni”look popular throughout India to rocking Rajasthani attire,from Mere Haathon Mein to Morni Baga Ma,Sridevi was beautiful,sexual,and innocent,bringing together a heady concoction & this makes her the evergreen Yash Chopra heroine.
Ah-ha!Now we’re coming to La Dixit herself are we?Smile,Madhuri,smile and watch the rest of the world turn into a lump of jelly.Even if Yash Chopra would’ve draped Madhuri in a potato sack her pearlies would be enough to make men fog behind their glasses.Lucky for us he draped her in gorgeously tailored salwar kameez teamed with beaded transparent dupattas.In 1997’s Dil To Pagal Hai,Madz comes across as being more sensual and more beautiful than any other Yash Chopra heroine.He’s worked with her in only one film,but add a dash of Madhuri’s charismatic and endearing performance as Pooja,that spellbinding beauty draped in hues of white,blue,pink,those nimble footed dance steps and evergreen romance with SRK,and you have a heroine who’ll feature in the top as Yash Chopra’s most memorable.
There are few things in life(apart from ice-cream & bunny rabbits in tutus)that provide as much joy and warmth as Juhi Chawla.The effervescent Juhi was not exactly the quintessential Bollywood beauty when she entered the industry. But her gorgeous giggles and girl-next-door charm made her the first choice for Darr.Who knew that that sunshine smile could lead King Khan to be obsessed with her to the point of murdering her fiancée?Together they formed one of the most memorable pairs ever,& although most of the credit was taken by Shahrukh Khan as the obsessive lover,Juhi looked looked her best in this film,like an absolute angel walking in a dream!No wonder then that she made SRK stammer: "I love you, K-K-K-Kiran."And that bloodcurdling scream.Yimminy crickets.
If we make a poll about Bollywood’s most natural actresses,no prizes for guessing who’d be right at the top. Unibrow,frumpy,unkempt looks,dusky and least bothered about her appearance,Kajol is hardly the stereotypical Yash Raj heroine. Yet Kajol manages to top all of the sari clad glam dolls,and come up with the most iconic female Yash Raj character. Agreed that Kajol hasn’t been directed by Yash Chopra(but by his son Aditya Chopra in his phenomenal debut)in 1995’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge but her name has bcome so synonymous with it,that it becomes almost impossible to mention Yash Raj without mentioning Kajol. Grooving to a peppy number in DDLJ, it looked like Kajol was just being herself and making the most of the rain and the dance.As real as life can get.
Karisma Kapoor in bra tops and hot pants in Dil To Pagal Hai was enough to make any young lad in 1997(or even today for that matter)sweat a bucket.Quite frankly Karisma was the undisputed show stealer in this film,even in a small part.And what’s more surprising is that she did she stole the show from the two leads by being the complete antithesis of what a Yash Chopra heroine should be.In came the stylish and spunky Nisha who ditched the chiffon saris for hot pants.Coyness & sati savitri thrown out of the window,Karisma epotimized the sexy,saucy modern girl.Quite effortlessly becoming the foil to Madhuri’s Pooja Karisma gave the Yash Raj heroine a stylish makeover for the new millennium and walked away with a National Award to boot!
Yeah,yeah.I know that Yash Chopra has directed Rani in only one film.But nevertheless Rani Mukherjee truly became the new age YRF girl appearing in every hit YRF film twice a year thus cementing her position at the top.Playing a Pakistani lawyer in Veer-Zaara Rani wasn’t even the lead,yet she managed to draw attention on her as a Pakistani lawyer with her intense performance. Thereby Rani played a variety of different characters several YRF successful YRF films-in Saathiya as a medical student discontent with marriage,in Hum Tum as the no-nonsense Riya,in Bunty Aur Babli as the scheming conwoman,Rani’s dream run might have ended with Ta Ra Rum Pum,but the erstwhile reigning queen made sure that she made each role her own,while looking resplendent in each,showing that it will be quite some time till somebody replaces her as YRF’s blue eyed baby.
If you ask me,I can personally see Preity Zinta rock the role of a chic,sophisticated modern woman, more than that of a headstrong Pakistani woman.But I underestimated her and how!She was from every inch the perfect Yash Raj Actress-headstrong,free-willed,fiercely independent,quirky yet breathtakingly beautiful.In Yash Chopra’s star-crossed romance Veer Zaara,the bubbly beauty struck a chord with people and since then the pretty lady has impressed everyone with her dimpled smile and strong roles. And she managed to do the flowing dupatta act too, without losing any of her acting credibility.Now PZ what about leaving Ishq in Paris and doing more films like Veer Zaara?
Box office Queen Katrina Kaif has become the favourite of the biggest production house in the country what with back-to-back blockbusters in the form of Ek Tha Tiger and New York.But half the actresses must have killed themselves due to jealousy,with Katrina being selected by Yash Chopra to star opposite Shahrukh Khan in his directorial comeback.Now the question is will the hot girl of Sheila Ki Jawani and Chikni Chameli fit into the role and do justice to being a Yash Chopra directed heroine? All she has to do is learn how to run in slow motion in chiffon saris and make herself strong enough to sustain extreme cold while shooting in the Swiss Alps. Other than that, she has minor issues to deal with, like improve her Hindi, act a li’l ladylike, swear eternal love to her hero, cry without her nose going red.....Yeah the stakes are pretty stratospheric, but if Katrina can make mango slices look insanely sexy then she can sure as hell sashay in chiffon saris. The acting front might leave a lot to desired though!
Now this one is getting me visibly excited. Simply because out of all the non-acting actors of Bollywood, Anushka Sharma is an actress, who shows genuine promise of being a great performer. She might not be as great a looker as Katrina, but she’s not half as bad herself, what with her luminous skin, expressive eyes and Cheshire smile. And surely if the King of Romance himself nitpicks you from the whole lot of drop-dead gorgeous young stars then you know for sure that something is special about you. In Band Baaja Baarat Anushka was a literal firebrand.Unlike the usual dreamy eyed Yash Raj heroines,Shruti is a gutsy,headstrong,career oriented girl,who has set her goals in life from the word go,and will achieve them come what may. Now in Jab Tak Hai Jaan she might have a comparatively smaller part that Katrina but I personally expect her to shine to a greater extent. She might not fit into the mould of being a stereotypical Yash Raj heroine,but she’s sure to give it a makeover in the same way Karisma gave the YRF heroine one more than a decade ago.
So guys first tell me who is your favourite Yash Raj Heroine or rather the one who has been able to stand the test of time and become eternally evergreen?Remember this is a list of actresses who’ve only been directed by Yash Chopra himself and not just starred in films produced by YRF.
Also do you think both Katrina and Anushka will be able to fill the big shoes of a Yash Raj heroine and do justice to it?
Finally who do you think will be better?