Article Hindi

From Urmila Matondkar to Anupam Kher, artistes whose careers changed after a bold move

They had talent, but their careers only took off once these artistes went in for an image makeover or took up a daring role.

Mayur Lookhar

Things tend to stagnate if you don’t effect a change. Careers often hinge upon that one big break. Sometimes even a big break is not enough and an artiste may need to spring a surprise.

Talent is vital, of course, but an image makeover can do wonders for the career. Hindi cinema is replete with instances of how such makeovers helped to revive careers.

The shining example that springs to mind is of actress Urmila Matondkar. The lady turns 45 today (she was born on 4 February 1974). On the occasion, we cast a look not just at her but at some other artistes whose bold moves reshaped or revived their careers.

1. Urmila Matondkar — Rangeela (1995)

Urmila Matondkar first made an impression as a child artiste in the 1983 classic Masoom. She graduated to lead roles with N Chandra's Narasimha (1991), but the consensus was that her career, like that of most child artistes, would not last.

Matondkar did a few films, but the focus in these was on the hero. Nor did she excel as an actress in films like Chamatkar (1992) and Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1994).

The likes of Raveena Tandon, Karisma Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, and Madhuri Dixit were at the top of their game. Competing with them was well-nigh impossible. The young woman needed to create a niche of her own.

That happened with Ram Gopal Varma’s Rangeela (1995), co-starring Aamir Khan and Jackie Shroff. The very first trailer had Urmila Matondkar running in a casual dress. She was soon on the covers of most magazines, with cheeky headlines, and wooed by many producers and filmmakers.

2. Madhuri Dixit — Dayavan (1988) and Tezaab (1988)


Following her debut in 1984, Madhuri Dixit went unnoticed for close to four years until she set tongues wagging in 1988 with the passionate song ‘Aaj Phir Tumpe Pyaar Aaya Hai’ from Dayavan. Dixit’s lip lock with Vinod Khanna became the talk of the town.

A couple of months later, Dixit had the nation dancing to ‘Ek Do Teen’ and there was no looking back for her from that point on.

Interestingly, years later, Dixit was quoted as saying that she did not really enjoy the passionate scenes in Dayavan. Expressing surprise, Khanna had remarked that she did not complain while the scenes were being shot.

3. Karisma Kapoor — Raja Hindustani (1996)

Being a star child helps you bag films but cannot guarantee success. Having made her debut with Prem Qaidi (1991), Karisma Kapoor bagged a host of films, sharing screen space with A-listers like Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, and Govinda. They were all male-orientated films though and, as an actress, she wasn’t growing.

This may have prompted her to seek an image makeover with Raja Hindustani. Manish Malhotra was also responsible for a sleek and stylish makeover for Kapoor, just like he turned around Matondkar's image in Rangeela the year before.

Karisma Kapoor won the Filmfare award for Best Actress that year, and followed it up with a National award for Best Supporting Actress for Dil To Pagal Hai (1997).

4. Sadashiv Amrapurkar — Sadak (1991)

Having made his big screen acting debut in 1979, the late Sadashiv Amrapurkar showed his mettle as an actor with Ardh Satya (1983), which won him a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award.

But how the masses perceived him changed with Mahesh Bhatt’s 1991 romantic thriller Sadak. The film drew inspiration from Hollywood films and characters, notably Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976).

Bhatt offered Amrapurkar the role of a eunuch, which the actor grabbed with both hands. His Maharani sent shivers down the spines of viewers, and Amrapurkar bagged an award for Best Villain.

5. Anupam Kher — Saaransh (1984)

Anupam Kher's move was not a image makeover. At 29, the actor from Simla played a retired old man of 65 in just his second film, Saaransh.

Interestingly, Kher was dropped from the film at the eleventh hour, but he apparently vented his frustration against director Mahesh Bhatt. He was brought back on board and his stellar act won him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor that year.