Wednesday, May 24, 2006

They're Back!

Viewers of movies in other Indian languages seem to be far less harsh than their Tamil counterparts when it comes to welcoming back actresses after a break. Above are photos of three of my favorite actresses, who are making comebacks in films (though none of them are in Tamil). Simran (seen at a promotion for Rexona in Hyderabad) and Shobana (at a press meet after she announced her comeback) will be acting in Telugu films after long breaks. This weekend will also see Kajol, reentering the Hindi film industry after a long maternity leave, pairing up with Aamir Khan in Fanaa.

Shobana was underutilized even when she was younger. So it’s no surprise that Tamil cinema doesn’t have any offers for her now. But Simran pretty much ruled Tamil cinema as long as she was around and even she hasn’t been able to grab any good roles after marriage. And its not like she has let herself go and ballooned up to twice her size(like some other actresses). Ofcourse her insistence that her hubby be her costar would’ve driven away many producers but I’m not sure that’s the only reason.

The Tamil film industry has for long maintained a rather biased attitude towards actresses. Heroes remain heroes even after they become dads and maybe even granddads. But once our actresses even get married, let alone have children, they immediately stop being heroine material. The lucky ones like Kushboo stay around for a while, pairing up with lesser heroes (remember her movies with Jayaram, Ramki, etc.?) before making a smooth transition into sister and anni roles. The unlucky ones like Ambika show up in marginal roles or are simply forgotten. Its quite telling when even an actress like Nadhiya, who looked as pretty and young as before in M.Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi, could only make a comeback as mom to a young actor.

But television and its megaserials have given our actresses a new lease of life. The megaserials have now become an automatic choice for actresses who are over the hill (Kausalya, Devayani, Seetha to name a few). It’s a win-win situation for both since the megaserial gets publicity with a famous actress even if she is past her prime while the actress is able to continue acting and get paid the big bucks. Ramya Krishnan, with her Thanga Vettai, has proved that an actress doesn’t even have to be restricted to megaserials.

Since our industry is blatantly hero-centric, the heroes ask for and get away with being paired up with much younger heroines. This simply leads to a string of young, usually North Indian actresses who barely make an impression and disappear after a film or two. Once in a while, it might be a refreshing change to see an established actress reenter films with a strong role…


At 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unga minnadi solla vendaam-nu paarthaen, Balaji.. but can't stop myself.. what is it with Simran and those nerdy glasses lately?.. Sorry girl, but if you wanna come back.. lose the glasses or lose your career with it. This is pins and needles time and all eyes are on you and what do you do?.. Wear simple clothes and a pair of 'urkel' glasses... Sorry, Balaji.. unga favorite heroine-oda dress sense thaangalai! :-(

Also, I would say that only Hindi cinema has been forgiving in the department of married women. The Sonali Bendre, Dimple Kapadia, Hemamalini and the million others who got married and continued acting are many many in the counting there than anywhere else.

Also, Shobana coming back isn't very big news to me, particularly (more so, because she rejected the "Vilai Uyirendraalum" role).. how can you say "no" to a Gautham Menon film if you want to make a comeback of sorts, especially to a film whose 3 central characters are middle-aged individuals?.. Beats me!..

At 4:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sandya, adhu 'urkel' glasses-illa. Adhan latest fashion. Have seen lot of people wearing something similar. Sania Mirza comes to mind.

Reg. the main topic, I was thinking about which top heroine lost market after marriage. I came up blank. Most top heroines I could think of didn't get married till their market was down &/or they were already out of the mainstream. Kushboo had sunk to Ramki/Jayaram level even before getting married. Sripriya, Ambika, Radha, Bhanupriya, Gowthami--none of them lost market as a result of marriage. Amala and Shalini simply retired after marriage. So I am not sure if it's marriage or "old age" that's the culprit. The only exception I can think of is Revathi, who didn't lose a beat after marriage. But she always marched to a different beat anyway.

As you mentioned, our heroes seem ageless. But the same applies in all the woods--Tolly, Bolly and Holly. NTR w/ Sridevi, Amitabh boogying with Shilpa Shetty, Michael Douglas paired with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Nicholson with Helen Hunt ... The reverse Sridevi-Nagarjuna combinations are rare.

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of the 3, Shobana is the oldest, so will look older.

Coming to Simran being put off the telugu film, to think that a half-backed actor like Rajashekar who hasn't had a decent hit in 'I don't know how many years' has a problem with a once A-list(which he never was) actress, is troubling:-)

Anyhow, we all know this happens to actresses. Even Revathy, after marriage, started off with good roles and had to go for side roles as the choices were dim. Moreover, seeing just how ugly or old our heros are, you can't blame the audience for wanting to see something that doesn't burn the eye onscreen.


P.S. Just giving vent to my feelings, guys.

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prakash, thanks for the clarification.. but those sure do look like Steve Urkel glasses to me! (For those, who don't recall who he is.. from the ABC hit sitcom: Family Matters (1990, anyone?).. Sorry to be a spoil sport about the current Indian fashion (Sania and Simran, have you guys really looked yourself in the mirror, lately?).. For Sania, it doesn't really matter how good she looks, they only care for her tennis playing skills. But Simran, looks is everything.. Personally, it's good to try to stay with the fashion of current times, but you should also see if it suits you well. Sorry Sims, it doesn't!..

Also, if you are going to some hi-tech press conference, glasses are okay. But if you are going to promote a soap, where are those contact lenses, jazzy clothes and good makeup, please?.. Sorry, I'm quite the traditionalist in dress sense especially if we are trying, hoping, praying and promoting a yesteryear diva(?)(Behindwoods usage? Remember, everyone is a diva at that site!:-) to make a comeback!..

At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB, enadhu manadhai kavarndha moondru nadigaigallai patriya thaangaladhu thirunaayvai paarthen...paravasam adaindhen...

totally agree with sandhya- those glasses...sahikkala...!

I remember Devyani being dropped from PKS after she eloped with Mr. Naaladiyaar. She was getting quite a few meaty roles in the period starting from kadhal koattai (1996) upto bharathi (2000) and she was turning into a fine actress (albeit with more than a little aid from glycerine!), esp. her turn in Bharathi being mighty impressive. The scene where she expresses discomfort in a Christian's house, asking her daughter, "Ivallaam Christhuvaallaa?" was brilliant...

i'm going on a tangent here...but yeah, I guess that's the reason why actresses like Sneha and Meena (naan ara-nijaar poatta vayasulaendhu avange amma, "en ponnukku maapla thaedren"-nu sollitrukaango...naan payntu potruken...innum avange amma adhaye solraango!) hesitate to take the plunge into marriage...

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sandya I totally agree with the glasses comment!.. I was just thinking that yesterday..what is the deal with those really ugly glasses that dont suit her one bit and the frumpy dress style like a 50+ punjabi mathaji? If she wants to tone down the glamorous part, she must atleast stick to well fitting clothes, light make up that suits and get rid of the glasses. Maybe thats one reason why a Revathy or Kajol stayed on (with good acting skills, good presentation & sartorial sense while ageing with grace) while a Simran or Khusboo fade away. Afterall heroes do it all the time..why not take a cue from them!

That said.. I have to concede that the indian film industry is rather harsh to actresses.. and their life span gets shorter and shorter..

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At 2:16 AM, Blogger Sasiprabha said...

Fanaa.. Kajol is back.. My darling is back.. looking more cute with her dazzling, captive, powerful eyes enriched with the never fade pretty smile.. hooooooooo..

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simran out of telugu film. Reason: weight.

Hmmm..oru Vijay padamnaalum paravaayila, but to think this Rajashekar(half-backed, hitless for a decade B-grade hero) would cite her weight(which compared with him doesn't look bad at all). What does he and wife think they are playing at? Enappa ulagam ithu.

Too bad, Fanaa turned out to be a disappointment, according to reviews. I too like Kajol.


At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


But did you read the latest?.. Simran is in Dasavathaaram.. looks like Ulaga Naayagan has become Simran's knight in shining armor this time around!..

Simran, please don't ask for a role for your husband.. Just 'reel' kiss Kamal and go for it! :-)..

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