Recently, I was thinking of all the nominees and award winners of the past years and how 90% of the time I was in agreement of some stars receiving trophies. Some of these actors and actresses have improved with every film and others are moving away from repeated roles seen time and time again. In many cases, the new AVATAAR, has brought life to their true acting skills, and there is no looking back to the bad roles they might’ve had. Here is list of my top 10 stars, who I feel, will continue to grow and be successful:
10) Aishwarya Rai: When she first began in Bollywood, nobody would’ve thought that she would be in great demand. From her debut in Aur Pyar Ho Gaya, right down to Khakee, this actress has proven that she has talent. Her breakthrough performance was back in 1999, when we witnessed her in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Her portrayal of a wife searching for her boyfriend (Salman Khan) in Italy was viewed as shameful to some because she had a loving husband (Ajay Devgan). Luckily, in the end, she stays with Ajay and proves that love conquers all with maturity. Despite the fact the film was spurned by some viewers, the film was her breakthrough role and she went on to play good roles in Taal, Devdas, and the recently invisible villain in Khakee.
8) Kareena Kapoor: Some may think she is popular, but is she a star? She was an overnight sensation with Refugee (her best performance to date). She fell into a rut of playing a typical role with skimpy outfits and a western attitude. She gave a sincere performance in L.O.C: Kargil and with Chameli she proved that she can dress down in inexpensive clothes and cheap make up. Chameli was a breakthrough role because she played a prostitute with real feelings and made her chracter seem genuine. Her upcoming projects include Dev and Yuva. She is not at Karishma’s acting level yet, but she keeps improving with each film.
7) Salman Khan: This bad boy has always been a target with the critics. Despite all the controversy and issues he’s had in the past, this actor could act from the get-go. His first real role in Maine Pyar Kiya started his career and since then he has had mixed roles. His breakthrough role was in 2003’s Tere Naam. His look, his attitude, and acting surprised many because to play a role like Radhe Mohan was quite complex. Salman acted with passion and his longing for Nirjara (Bhumika Chawla) made us feel his emotions and sadness. Watch out for his new role in Garv releasing in June.
6) Akshay Kumar: Here’s another bad boy who’s always had to prove himself in films. He went away from the typical martial arts role and diversified his acting choices. From Dhadkan, we saw a nice and understanding husband. In Ajnabee, we saw a man with no shame and eyes for only money. In Andaaz, we saw a friend sacrifice his love. And with his breakthrough performance in Khakee, Akshay proves that being a playboy aside, he can be remorseful and hurt when the truth comes forward. I would not be surprised if he was to be nominated for Best Supporting actor in 2004.
5) Rani Mukherjee: Its funny how many thought her debut film was Ghulam. Rani began her career in 1996 with a film called Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat. She played a woman who was raped and ends up marrying her rapist by order of a court as justice. I believe her best performance and breakthrough role has been Saathiya. Not only did she win a Filmfare’s Critics’ choice for Best Actress, she began to choose her roles carefully. After Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, she had already signed on to do 22 films. She’s come a long way and there is no looking back. Saathiya was a great performance for Rani because she played the wife of Adi (Vivek Oberoi), who is trying to keep her marriage from falling apart. Her forthcoming roles include: Hum Tum and Yuva.
4) Ajay Devgan: I would’ve never imagined of becoming a fan of his until 3 years ago. Why? Because I never saw anything special in his acting until . . . Company and The Legend of Bhagat Singh. The entire 2002 year was a breakthrough in acting for Ajay. He did have a good performance in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, but 2002 re-defined his career. Ajay chose great roles and acted perfectly in almost all films since Company. His best performance, hands down, has been The Legend of Bhagat Singh. This was a complicated role that Bobby Deol failed in, but Ajay portrayed the freedom fighter as a real hero. You truly feel Bhagat Singh’s worthy fight through Ajay’s performance. Ajay has had a string of fantastic roles in 2003 and it continues in 2004.
3) Preity Zinta: Should she be at the top of this list? Of course! Preity Zinta is one of the few versatile actresses who digs deep within her skin to perform out-of-the-norm roles. Her breakthrough role came in 2000’s Kya Kehna. She played a young teen named Priya, who becomes pregnant, and decides to keep the baby when her lover, Saif Ali Khan, rejects her. She was only 2 years old in the industry when she played Priya, but I could see from her debut in Dil Se that she would make it big. She has had some great movie roles and practically has great on-screen chemistry with anyone she acts with. Her best performance to date has been Kal Ho Naa Ho and we patiently await her with Hritik Roshan in Lakshya.
2) Saif Ali Khan: Who thought that the guy who began his career in Aashiq Awara and married someone older, despite criticism, would be a star? Saif Ali Khan was not a real star in the 90s but he was around and not taken too seriously. His breakthrough role came in Dil Chahta Hai. His comedic timing was superb and not forced on the audience. You literally laugh at his attempt to win the girl of his dreams with his sarcastic comments. Saif Ali Khan is not looking back and continues to work hard and improve with every film. His best performance has been the role of the metrosexual Rohit in Kal Ho Naa Ho. He was superb as a cunning villain in Ek Hasina Thi. His upcoming role is Hum Tum.
1) Urmila Matondkar: Surprised she is number 1? Well, you shouldn’t! Urmila has been hard at work since Rangeela. Ram Gopal Verma was a blessing in disguise when he re-launched this actress. For me, her breakthrough performance was Judaai. Urmila had been in the industry for a few years, however, she played a factastic role of a woman who pays Sridevi to marry her husband (Anil Kapoor). Was it an easy role? Not at all! Judaai proved that Urmila could play complex and mature roles. Her best performance has been Bhoot, but 2003 has been lucky for her. She’s been winning awards for Bhoot, had a great and strong character in Pinjar, played an estranged daughter in Tehzeeb, and now in 2004, Urmila is not looking to play small roles. Urmila is one of Bollywood’s finest actresses who will be successful for many more years to come.
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