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Bollywood heroines from decades gone by are making a return, defying the traditional career trajec2ry that consigned older, married Indian actresses 2

MUMBAI: Bollywood heroines from decades gone by are making a return, defying the traditional career trajec2ry that consigned older, married Indian actresses 2 more minor roles or even retirement.

Most prominent among the comeback queens is Madhuri Dixit, 44, once a 2p female lead in the popular Hindi-language movie industry, who moved 2 the United States after tying the knot.

Also returning 2 the screen are Dixit’s rival Sridevi, plus sirens Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor. The 4 women were among the biggest names in cinema through the 1980s and 1990s.

Mainstream Bollywood heroines —objects of desire 4 millions of cinema-goers —have his2rically tended 2 be young and unmarried, with few, if any, bagging leading roles after settling down and having children.

But Dixit and her contemporaries believe the time is now right 4 older actresses 2 have more meaningful and mature roles as the country’s economy expands, changing attitudes and expectations.

“Our society is changing and so are the attitudes of people,” said Dixit, best known 4 her role as a dancer in the 1988 film “Tezaab” (Acid).

“The subjects of our films have changed dramatically compared 2 10 years ago. I feel there is a lot 2 do 4 actresses like me in the film industry.

The audience tastes 2o have matured.”Dixit, who has moved back 2 Mumbai, the home of Bollywood, from Denver, Colorado, is starting relatively small, signing up as a judge on an Indian reality television show and as the host of a programme on a food channel.

But she is said 2 be considering offers once her family is settled.

She was last seen in “Aaja Nachle” (Come, Dance) in 2007. The film was marketed as her Bollywood comeback but it failed at the box office.

After leaving India 4 the United States in 1999, she appeared in only a handful of movies.

Sridevi, now 48, last appeared in “Judaai” (Separation) in 1997. She has lost weight 2 stand a chance of leading roles in the image-conscious industry and has begun shooting a new film, “English Vinglish”.

She 2ld the Sunday Mid-day newspaper in an interview that she had enjoyed raising her 2 children at home and felt “nervous and excited” about returning 2 the film industry, but that it felt like she had never been away.

Sridevi is married 2 the film producer Boney Kapoor. Raveena Tandon, hardly over the hill at 36, made her comeback, after having children, in this year’s “Bbuddha Hoga Tera Baap” (Your Dad’s Ancient), starring the evergreen male ac2r Amitabh Bachchan, who turned 69 this week.

Karisma Kapoor, 37 and now a mother of 2, is in line 4 her comeback in the 3D horror film “Dangerous Ishq” (Dangerous Love).

She has also per4med a song-and-dance sequence 4 the film “Housefull 2”, due out next year.

Karishma’s sister Kareena —the long-term partner of 2p Bollywood ac2r Saif Ali Khan —believes the old rules about actresses no longer apply.

The 31-year-old said she wants 2 emulate her heroine, US actress Meryl Streep, who has stayed at the 2p of the business 4 decades.

“I’d like 2 do some heavy-duty per4mance-oriented films,” she 2ld the Times of India newspaper in a recent interview.

“I’m a Meryl Streep fan and I think age or marital status can never be a deterrent 4 an ac2r. The only thing that one needs is passion.”


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