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15 memorable roles of Madhuri Dixit that made us fall in love with her again and again! Do look them up today as we wish this 1000 watt smile actor a happy birthday!
Madhuri Dixit is a gorgeous woman, a talent house of performance, and a breath taking dancer. She has a smile that lights up any room and a humble and down to earth personality. All this in one person!
My earliest memory of Madhuri is of her dancing in the iconic green sharara in Hum Aapke Hai Kaun which became a fashion sensation back then. She was not just an actress. For the 12 year old me, she defined the word actress.
Madhuri Dixit, as she is fondly known in the film industry, paved a way for herself without the blessings of any Godfather. Coming from a simple Maharashtrian family, she was trained in kathak since the age of three. A microbiologist by profession, the entire nation secretly thanks her for joining Bollywood, and enriching the lives and dreams of countless people in the world.
Madhuri made Bollywood fans fall in love with her over and over again with legendary performances in movies like Abodh, Beta and Devdas. She holds the record of being nominated for the award of best actress 14 times and has won 6 times. Be it the determined Saraswati from Beta, the courageous police officer from Khalnayak, the simple but sensitive Nisha from Hum Apke Hain Kaun, or Rajjo – a woman of steel from Gulaab Gang, she has played every character with conviction and ease delivering believable and life like performances over the years. ‘Depend on yourself and you will never be let down’ she believes.
I enjoy watching most of her movies but here is a list of her films which really stand out:
Literally translating to Innocent, Abodh describes Madhuri perfectly in the year of 1984.
Abodh is a story of an unwilling young bride who is married off to a stranger, and her journey of falling in love with her husband without realising it, until something happens to jolt her into reality.
Madhuri was just 17 years old when she did her debut with Abodh. Although the film did not perform well commercially, Madhuri was well noticed and appreciated by the industry for delivering a mature performance, resulting into many roles coming her way since.
After a series of commercial failures, Madhuri finally hit the home run with Tezaab. She played the character of Mohini, a young woman who is forced into stage shows by her step-father. Her iconic performance in the song ‘Ek do teen’ (recently re-mixed with Jaqueline Fernandez gyrating to it) is fresh in everyone’s memory till date.
Madhuri Dixit got her 1st nomination for best actress with this movie.
Parinda is said to be one of the best films made in the crime genre in Bollywood. Apart from the storyline, the movie also stood out for its music. Madhuri Dixit, as Paro, who is the love interest of Anil Kapoor, plays a strong woman who refuses to leave her loved one’s side till the end. Although, Madhuri had more of a supporting role in the movie, with just a few scenes, she surely made her mark, and made the song ‘Tumse Milke’ eternally beautiful for us.
She played the character of Madhu – a rich and a stubborn girl who is spiteful in her nature till she meets Raja. She has portrayed the role so well that in the beginning of the movie we instantly dislike her character and later fall in love with it.
Dil, once again, proved that Madhuri Dixit was not just a beautiful young artist who danced incredibly but also showed her better side of acting. She won her first filmfare award for this movie.
Madhuri Dixit was not the lead in the movie and had a fairly small role, but managed to make a mark nonetheless.
Madhuri played the character of Shirley who is married to an Army officer. Shirley is a hot headed Catholic girl who is very opinionated and strong. Even after the death of her husband she hides her grief by putting up a strong face. Nana Patekar was much smitten by Madhuri at the time. He insisted that she wear no make-up during the shooting of this movie and I bet no one can tell the difference. She looks gorgeous no matter what.
By 1991, Madhuri had done films in various genres but a suspense thriller was a first one. A hit at the box office, she played the lead by the name of Devi – a woman who has Extrasensory Perception. A murder mystery, 100 days showcased a different side of Madhuri to her fans. This movie is about Devi’s journey of finding the truth behind her sister’s murder. A must watch, Madhuri once again proves, that she is indded the jack of all trades when it comes to acting.
This was one of Madhuri’s most successful films. Although the film is named Beta, Madhuri Dixit carried the weight of the film on her shoulders and that too effortlessly.
She plays the role of Sarawati who is aware of the cruel intentions of her mother in law and ensures she exposes her true nature in front of her naïve husband. Madhuri had admitted to being always supporting women empowerment and has expressed eagerness to act in films which are women centric. Beta was one such film which had not one but two women running the show, second being Aruna Irani. She won another award for best actress for Beta. Also, after this movie, Madhuri became the eternal ‘Dhak Dhak girl’ for all her fans.
Yet one more time, Madhuri Dixit proved that she was in Bollywood to rule. After Beta, Khel was a completely different role – it is one of the few films where she has played comedy. Seema is a con-woman and has displayed her perfect sense of comic timing, making this a memorable role.
Another of her hit movies, this film was a true Bollywood masala flick. It had everything from romance, action, drama, suspense, tragedy and a happy ending.
Madhuri plays the role of a police officer named Ganga. She is a level headed woman who knows to differentiate wrong and right. When the reputation of her lover is in danger, she decides to risk her career and life to catch a most wanted criminal. But she also sympathizes with the criminal after knowing his circumstances.
With another stellar performance she won herself a nomination in the category of best actress with this one.
A classic thriller of the 90’s, Anjaam was another woman centric role done by Madhuri Dixit.
She plays the role of Shivani who is a simple woman leading a simple life, until an unwanted entity destroys her life to pieces. Shivani decides to take the law in her hands, and rises from all the atrocities and avenges the death of her husband, daughter and sister.
The film indirectly showcases a lot of social issues like stalking, mental harassment of women, abandonment by husband, corruption to name a few. Madhuri surely overshadowed a rising superstar like Shahrukh Khan in this movie, and made Anjaam about herself with her engaging acting skills.
This movie needs no introduction and neither does Nisha! She is this bubbly and chirpy girl loved by one and all. A near perfect woman, Nisha’s character transits beautifully from a young, dreamy, hopelessly in love girl to a mature and a selfless woman. Her fans went crazy on a whole new level as she danced her way to their hearts.
Madhuri’s expressions in this film are undeniably among the very best that Indian actresses have given. Men wanted her and women wanted to be her. Needless to say, she won another best actress award for this one.
This film managed to have the perfect balance between art and commercial films, it had an outstanding starcast of Shabana Azmi, Madhuri Dixit, Om Puri, Mohan Joshi and Mohan Agashe to name a few. The movie highlights social issues of corruption and gender inequality against women. Set in the backdrop of a village in Bihar, the film rotates around how 3 sisters-in-law fight injustice and corruption which have broken the ethics of the society and also their homes.
Ketki played by Madhuri leads the pack of women who literally decides to pick up the rifle to fight the bad men and emerge victorious. Another strong feminine character by Madhuri, she held her own against the seasoned and acclaimed actors Shabana Azmi, Om Puri, and Mohan Agashe and surpassed herself. In my opinion, one of her best roles.
Madhuri played the role of Janki, an independent thinker who refuses to follow the norms of the world. She is an artist at heart and loves someone unconditionally without worrying too much about fitting into the parameters of societal acceptance.
Although Madhuri had a small role in this movie, she ensured to be remembered by the audience because of 2 things – her acting and her dance in the song ‘Badi mushkil’. She once again reminded us Indians the true meaning of gracefulness.
Devdas would not have been the film it is today without Madhuri Dixit as Chandramukhi. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali thought only of Madhuri when it came to this role, and she comes off as an even better actor than Aishwarya Rai, who has the other female lead in the movie.
Chandramukhi is a very complex character as she is a selfless but proud woman. She is a classy courtesan and Madhuri gave utmost justice to the character. She effortlessly slipped into the role and needless to say, her expressions and moves in ‘Kahe ched ched mohe’ and ‘Dola re’ will be etched in our memories forever.
It is a sequel to the movie Ishquiya and falls in the genre of black comedy.
Madhuri re-entered Bollywood after a break of 6 years only to look more picturesque. She was a treat to watch as the noble woman Begum Para, and reminded us a lot of Chandramukhi from Devdas. She kept the audiences wanting for more with her thumkas in the song ‘Humari Atariya Pe’ and her chemistry with Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi was commendable.
Madhuri took a break from Bollywood for a decade to come back to work in films like Aaja Nachle, Dedh Ishqiya and Gulaab Gang. Currently, she is on her way to enter her home turf by acting and producing a Marathi film titled ‘Bucket List’.
Apart from this project, I cannot wait to see her in the upcoming multi starrer ‘Kalank’.
Madhuri, your fans are so not done with you yet! Our hearts still go ‘dhak dhak’ every time we see your 1000 watt smile, and I hope we get to witness your on screen magic for many many years to come!
Header image is a composite of stills from Madhuri Dixit movies
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Rucha Ogale, 29, is a Marketing Communication professional who is currently on a maternity break.
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