Aishwarya Rai, Kareena elevated out of top-50 list

2014-06-19 00:00

BOLLYWOOD beauties Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor no longer feature in the top 50 most desirable women of Indian cinema.

But this is not because they are no longer popular with their fans as an ever-increasing number of new young actresses appear on the scene every week.

It is rather because the Hindustan Times, organiser of the list in which a quarter million votes were cast in its top-50 search, has created a special category called Forever Desirable, with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor being the first two names to make that list. They were then not included in the voting list.

The real reason for the differential approach though, begs some thought. Is it not perhaps born out of concern that the two drama queens would have been ousted from the top positions, thereby causing embarrassment that could be better avoided by declaring them to be “forever desirable”, no matter how true that might be? Particularly since only four well-known actresses of recent years have made it to the top 50 — Deepika Padukone at number one, Katrina Kaif at number two, Priyanka Chopra at number five and Kangana Ranaut at number nine.

Ranaut might not even have made it if it were not for her two movies this year — Queen and Revolver Rani — which gave her a new lease on life on screen after a bad patch.

The rest of the 50 are all relative newcomers, some even just one or two films old, which might also be reflective of the producers’ views that audiences always want fresh new faces, rather than the same actresses often being typecast.

The trend to find a new face for every film, which has almost been the norm in the south Indian film industry for a while now, has been a windfall to many college and university students, and models who would previously have had to fight harder against established names at auditions. This trend is now being adopted by Bollywood as well.

As for the Forever Desirable list, if this is really a genuine effort to record for posterity the beauty and talent of Indian actresses, why not then start with people such as Zeenat Aman, Rekha, Raakhee, and others who remained stars late into their lives, and even continue to play cameo roles these days?

A last point of note in the Top 50 list is that fans no longer care about whether their favourite heroines are married, divorced or single, doing away with the oft-held view of film-makers that their desirability value decreases after marriage.

Proving this is the fact that married former porn star Sunny Leone was voted in at number three on the list, ahead of Priyanka Chopra, and divorced Chitrangda Singh made it to number six.

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