Feb 02 2016

These bold moves changed their careers

by   Mayur Lookhar

A look at actors who stepped out of their comfort zones to redefine their careers

1 Madhuri Dixit  - Dayavan, Tezaab

Following her debut in 1984, Madhuri Dixit was unnoticed for 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 wih Vinod Khanna became the talk of the town and, a couple of months later, she had the nation dancing to ‘Ek, Do, Teen.’  There was no looking back for Madhuri from that point on. Interestingly, years later, she was quoted saying that she didn’t really enjoy the passionate smooches in Dayavan. Expressing surprise at her stance, Vinod Khanna had remarked that she didn’t complain while it was being shot.

2 Simi Garewal – Mera Naam Joker, Siddhartha

Simi Garewal made her debut in 1962, then bagged a Supporting Actor’s award for her role in Do Badan four years later. She bagged another award in the same category for Saathi not long after. Then, in 1970, she bagged a cameo in Raj Kapoor’s controversial film Mera Naam Joker, playing a teacher to a young Raju (played by Raj’s son Rishi). The film was a flop, but Garewal’s undressing scene was a hit. Two years later, she courted controversy again by going topless for the international film Siddhartha, with Shashi Kapoor. Those roles opened up a bagful of opportunities for Garewal though, with films like Kabhie Kabhie, Namak Haraam, Chalte Chalte and Karz.

3 Urmila Matondkar – Rangeela (1995)

Urmila Matondkar first made an impression as a child artist in the 1983 cult classic Masoom. She graduated to lead cast with 1991 flick Narsimha, but the consensus was her career, like that of most child actors, would not last long. Then, in 1995, came Rangeela, by director Ram Gopal Varma, starring Aamir Khan and Jackie Shroff. The very first trailer had Urmila running in a sleeveless casual dress that barely covered her thighs. She was soon on the covers of most magazines, with cheeky headlines, and wooed by many producers and filmmakers.

4 Karisma Kapoor   - Sundara Sundara

Being a star child helps you bag films, but doesn’t guarantee success. Having made her debut with Prem Qaidi, Karisma Kapoor bagged a host of films, sharing screen space with A-listers like Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Govinda. They were all male oriented films though and, as an actor, she wasn’t really growing. This may have prompted her to seek an image makeover. Karisma showed glimpses of her blossoming beauty in Aatish, but she wowed fans in 1996 with Rakshak, becoming the first Kapoor to wear short dresses while dancing to the sizzling ‘Sundara Sundara.’ A year later, she bagged Dil To Pagal Hai.

5 Deepa Sahi – Maya Memsaab (1993)

Truth be told, many viewers were not even aware of her name until Maya Memsaab. Having begun her career in 1984, mainly with nondescript roles, Sahi shocked everyone with her utterly bold display in the 1993 film made by her husband Ketan Mehta. She played a sexually frustrated wife and a number of steamy scenes were cleared by the Censor Board. Sahi returned in her sexy avatar with another Ketan Mehta and SRK film called ‘Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India’ before disappearing from the scene.

6 Abhishek Bachchan - Dostana (2008)

Junior Bachchan’s career has been anything but smooth. With the exception of Guru, Abhishek has seldom produced a solo hit. After his debut in 2000, Bachchan took four years for his first hit, Dhoom. He bagged a Filmfare Award for Supporting Actor thanks to Sarkar in 2005, but the next three years were largely disappointing until Guru. A few more flops later, the knives were out, until the 2008 comedy Dostana, when Bachchan and John Abraham locked lips – a first for Bollywood males – in the Karan Johar-produced film. Many were critical of the stereotypical portrayal, but fans rooted for Jr. Bachchan. The film gave him a new lease of life.

7 Sadashiv Amrapurkar – Sadak (1991)

Having made his debut in 1979, the late Sadashiv Amrapurkar showed his mettle as an actor with Ardh Satya (1983), which got him a Filmfare Supporting Actor award. How people perceived him changed with Mahesh Bhatt’s 1991 romantic thriller Sadak though. The film drew inspiration from Hollwood films and characters, notably Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Bhatt offered Amrapurkar the role of a eunuch, which the actor grabbed with both hands. Maharani sent shivers down the spines of viewers, and Amrapurkar bagged an award for Best Villain.

8 Mamta Kulkarni –  Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995)

Mamta Kulkarni made her debut with Mehul Kumar’s Tiranga, following it a year later with a lead role in Saif Ali Khan’s debut ‘Aashiq Awara’. Three years on, she was one of the heroines in the SRK-Salman starrer Karan Arjun, followed by Aamir Khan’s Baazi. She generated some controversy in 1993 by posing topless for a magazine cover, but continued to be cast largely as a traditional Indian heroine until the 1995 action thriller Sabse Bada Khiladi, where her smooch set tongues wagging.

9 Sharman Joshi/Zarine Khan – Hate Story 3 (2015)

One was a promising actor looking for a bigger break, the other was referred to as a Katrina Kaif clone. Both Sharman Joshi and Zarine Khan found themselves in a now or never situation when Hate Story 3 came along. Joshi bulked up and shared extremely passionate scenes with Zarine Khan in this sensual revenge drama. The film was a commercial success and he later confessed that it resurrected his career.

10  Jacqueline Fernandez – Murder 2 (2011)

Miss Sri Lanka Jaqueline Fernandez knew that her lack of proficiency in Hindi could scupper her Bollywood ambitions. Her initial films bombed, until 2011, when she was cast as the lead in Mohit  Suri’s Murder 2. The prequel was a hit on account of the explicit scenes between Mallika Sherawat and Emraan Hashmi, so Murder 2 was expected to up the ante. Fernandez had no qualms about that, while Hashmi only enhanced his reputation as a serial kisser. Murder 2’s success paved the way for Jacqueline's roles in hits like Housefull 2, Race 2 and the Salman-starrer Kick.