The name itself had thrown some generations into sleepless nights!
She is the Atiloka Sundari of Indian Silver screen and the long-time ruling Numero Uno of Bollywood and Southern Films, including Tollywood. Sridevi had made a come back with critically acclaimed and stunningly successful English Vinglish recently after hiatus of 14-odd years. The audience across India and abroad had eagerly watched the movie and made it a success!
The contemporary sizzling siren of silver screen across India had a great track record of super hits like 3 Idiots, Bodygaurd, Ra.One, Heroine, etc. She is touted to be the first heroine to churn out more 100-crore club movies. She got married recently to long time beau, Saif Ali Khan!
These two star heroines have their own special significance and difference in general. But now, both of them have created the same question in the minds of film pundits and audience alike! The success of Sridevi and the marriage of Kareena, has rekindle the hopes and resurfaced the debate-- whether the married heroines can attract the audience like earlier?
The heroine- Perception of a moviegoer:
In the view and perception of common cinegoer, heroine of Indian cinema is a dream girl who epitomizes and satisfies all the ideas, emotions and aesthetics on the screen. She is the personified form of his sense of beauty, emotional integrity and centre of his attention. As such, the film buffs will develop some sort of possessiveness and sense of belongingness towards the on screen images of the heroines unconsciously. This unintentional thinking of admiration and fascination of the viewers towards the screen idols is in turn making the heroines to win the minds of the masses in millions. Every move and act of Heroines in the movies they are acted in, is making the box office to ring.
As psychologists rightly points it out that, the sensibility of the cinegoers in identifying and possessing themselves with the images of the heroines is the main reason for all the stardom, fan –following and saleability they achieve in the show business. For the last many generations, heroine of Indian Cinema, including Tollywood has been established as the unconscious satisfier of all the desires, aspirations and emotions of the audience.
The Factor -M in Heroine's career:
The Indian society and its norms, value system is totally based on the point-of-view of the male population. So The ''Factor-M'', i.e. Marriage, plays a vital role in the careers of Heroines than that of the Heroes. As such, the charm, grace, attention, stardom and following enjoyed by the heroines prior to their marriage deliberately gets down after their marriage.
As a natural phenomenon, the audience will lose the sense of possessiveness towards that heroine which in turn influence the film career of the heroines so far. Keeping this ''psychological approval-disapproval'' in view, all the heroines in the past and at the present also will not try to confess their marriage in the public with the fear and insecurity of losing their chances and slipping from the attention of the audience. Or the heroines are used to put a full-stop to their careers after getting marriage. That is the reason, the greatest show girls of yester-years have disappeared from the public eye after their marriages, except in the selected public functions related to the movie world. Nargis, SairaBanu, Babitha, Neetu Singh, Tina Munim are to name a few who totally said a farewell to Bollywood after their marriages with Sunil Dutt, Dilip Kumar, Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Anil Ambani respectively. Even Twinkle Khanna also followed them after her nuptial knot with Khiladi Akshay Kumar.
The recent Developments:
In the past, if the heroines are willing to work in the films after marriage, they have been compelled to play the character roles of mother, sister-in-law et al only. Jaya Bachchan, RakheeGulzar, Hema Malini, Helen, Dimple Kapadia, Shabana Azmi, Rekha is some of the heroines who transformed themselves to this shift even though their counter-part heroes have still have the appeal and acceptance as heroes from the audience.
The audience's perception and their ideology towards the on-screen idols, has been changed and some sort of boldness has been taken place now. The increased literacy rates, exposure to the global affairs, knowledge he is getting through the satellite channels, press and media is successfully changed the attitude and perceptions of the masses towards cinema in general and to the heroines in particular. This positive shift is resulted in confining himself in appreciating the performances only, leaving the personal affairs of the heroines including their marriages aside.
Of course, the private events and off-the-screen affairs of the celebrities are always have an ear to hear. But the audience has also become professional. This is a good sign which ultimately led to continue the careers of the heroines irrespective of their marriages.
Juhi Chawla, Kajol and Madhuri Dixit have succeeded in encashing this attitudinal change of the new age audience and proved their talent with their hits like Jhankar Beats, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Fanaah, My Name is Khan, Devdas respectively.
Ayesha Takia, the sizzling sexy siren and a proved actor of performance, who acted in Tarzan, the wonder car and Dor had proved her spell on the audience with the super hit film, "Wanted".
And Aishwarya Rai has totally became an exception and still maintaining her status as the hot property in show business with her magic, even after her marriage with Abhishek Bachchan and having a child.
In addition to this, the re-appearance of the married heroines on the screen after a gap also became a publicity stunt in the name of their come-back cinema in pulling the audience towards the cinema halls.
All is not well:
Now, the heroines are bold enough to act in movies even after their marriage. But all is not well with them now.
Once the heart-throb of millions of the masses, Madhuri Dixit had re-entered to the film world with Aaja Nachle. But the movie gave a bitter experience to her. The recent re-entry of Lolo Karishma Kapoor, with Dangerous Ishq too tasted failure with the audience.
What about Tollywood?
Tollywood audience are still conventional and had the orthodox feelings towards Married Heroines. The fate of the Heroines of yester-years like, Savitri, Anjali, Shavukaru Janaki, Vanishree had turned to playing the character roles only. Even the earlier star heroines like Bhanu Priya, Suhasini, Sita, Tulasi, Ramya Krishna et al have transformed themselves from heroines to roles of Mother, Aunt etc.
But, heroines like Simran, have tried level best to re-establish themselves as the heroines. But their efforts gone in vain. However, Kalyani, entered to Tollywood with Sheshu movie, is enacting the lady protagonist roles in the lady-oriented films. But turning out with poor acceptance from the audience.
So, most of the Tollywood heroines are bidding an adieu to filmdom after their marriage, just like Laya!
A Positive Turn:
Now the contemporary cinegoer has changed and so as the heroines! At present,. Madhuri Dixit has shifted her base totally from US to Mumbai and keen on returning to the screen with a new film, Gulabo Gang. Raveena Tandon is also planning to act in a couple of films as heroine.
The latest success of Sridevi is creating a positive turn towards Married Heroines, subject to condition of a good script and the role of substance! It is encouraging and strengthening the idea of these married heroines to take plunge in the movies again!
by Mamidi Harikrishna (harikrishnam at ragalahari.in)