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October 20, 2001
Dr Rajiv Vijaykar
1991 was a memorable year.
More than any one, except for 2001, as it saw the arrival of a bevy of potential stars like Manisha Koirala, Raveena Tandon, Urmila Matondkar, Karisma Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgan, besides non-starters like Ravi Behl, Raman Kapoor and Fatima Sheikh.
Let us evaluate their standing a decade later.
Manisha Koirala made a super debut in Subhash Ghai's Saudagar. The stunning Nepalese beauty took the industry by storm as Ghai's most successful protégée -- after all, Madhuri Dixit was a Rajshri discovery.
Armed with devastating beauty and a volcanic talent -- both of which were allowed to rust after a while -- Manisha went on to enact diverse histrionic triumphs like Bombay, 1942-A Love Story, Akele Hum Akele Hum, Khamoshi, Agnisakshi, Dil Se,Grahan and her latest Lajja.
After a misguided attempt to compere a game show, she is now turning producer with a biopic on her grandfather, who is considered the father of the nation in Nepal.
She is doing only select films, including a controversial film on the real-life love story between an Afghan boy and a Nepal girl, a special act as a brattish star in Kamal Haasan's Abhay, Vinay Shukla's Rakt and Ashok Mehta's Moksha.
Filmmakers worked with include Subhash Ghai, Pehlaj Nihlani, Mahesh Bhatt, Rajkumar Santoshi, Feroz Khan, Mani Ratnam, Indra Kumar, Anil Sharma, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, K Vishwanath, Mansoor Khan, Kamal Haasan, Manoj Kumar, Suresh Krishna, Tips and Venus.
But the fact remains that this lady, who was once labelled a jinx, (she had over six releases before she got her first hit) struck gold with Mohra, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Rakshak and Vinashak). And now, she's looking for better roles.
Being devoid of both sham and arrogance, Raveena makes it a point to stress that she will continue to do the glamour routine, as that's what gave her name and fame.
The versatile talent that she is (she is also adept at comedy), you can look forward to an array of roles with her in films like Harmesh Malhotra's Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare, Kamal Haasan's Abhay, Kundan Shah's Kasam Se.. and Tinnu Anand's Ek Hindustani, and she even does the negative role of an obsessive lover in Wah Tera Kya Kehna.
Filmmakers worked with include Kamal Haasan, Yash Chopra, Suresh Krishna, Gulshan Rai, Rajiv Rai, Kalpana Lajmi, Manoj Kumar, Kundan Shah, Rajkumar Santoshi, David Dhawan, GP Sippy, Ramesh Sippy, Guddu Dhanoa, JP Dutta, Pramod Chakravarthy, Raj Kanwar, Mukul S Anand, D Rama Naidu, Venus and T-Series.
Karisma Kapoor is vying for the top slot (after Kajol's exit) along with Aishwarya Rai, Preity Zinta and younger sister Kareena. Ms Professional herself (it seems you can time the clock by her arrival at the studio) and almost completely non-controversial, Karisma's stellar acts include Raja Hindustani, Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Fiza and Zubeidaa.
That apart, she has the highest percentage of hits in the post-Madhuri generation, especially when one considers the quantum of films that she does. She has had a parade of hits with David Dhawan and Govinda also.
Her forthcoming film is Sridevi's home production, directed by Krishna Vamsi, opposite Shah Rukh Khan and Nana Patekar.
Filmmakers worked with include D Rama Naidu, Kundan Shah, Yash Chopra, Rajkumar Santoshi, Suneel Darshan, Dharmesh Darshan, Pramod Chakravarthy, K Vishwanath, Pehlaj Nihlani and Shyam Benegal.
Urmila Matondkar made her debut as a child artiste in Shekhar Kapur's Masoom way back in 1983. Later, she did K Vishwanath's Sur-Sangam in 1985.
Her first lead role was in the film Narsimha in 1991.
Her second film was Chamatkar. Despite a good job in this film, she failed to make an impact.
Ram Gopal Varma cast her in Drohi, and though the film did not work, their liaison did. The combo struck gold in their second effort Rangeela, moving on to Daud, Satya, Mast, Kaun, Jungle and Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya, -- all assorted genre-wise and success-wise, but uniformly Urmila-centric.
She is doing Anees Bazmee's Deewangee and a comedy with Govinda and Saif Ali Khan.
Filmmakers worked with include Ram Gopal Varma, Rajkumar Santoshi, David Dhawan, Raj Kanwar and Tips.
Akshay Kumar, who began with a Rambo image, is perennially taking risks by doing his own stunts. But recently, he has been doing more than the usual action films. He has achieved beyond the Khiladi series of films -- that he did from 1992 (Khiladi) to 2000 (Khiladi 420).
His films on hand include a rumoured film with Subhash Ghai, Aankhen (earlier entitled All The Best), Talaash, Kutumbhand Awara Paagal Deewana.
Filmmakers worked with include Venus, Abbas-Mustan, Suneel Darshan, Dharmesh Darshan, David Dhawan, Gulshan Rai, Rajiv Rai, Priyadarsan, Anil Ganguly, Mahesh Bhatt, Pramod Chakravarthy, Yash Chopra and Tanuja Chandra.
Ajay Devgan began with his intense angry man roles in action films like Phool Aur Kaante, Vijaypath, Suhaag and Dilwale.
But lately, he has opted for variety in his roles, though the cynical dour image persists -- as does his obsession with playing a con man and resorting to his own brand of underplayed comedy (Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha).
With performances like Najayaz, Dilwale, Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha, Zakhm and Kachche Dhaage in his bag, Devgan is all set to do intense roles, including David Dhawan's remake of Analyze This, Mahesh Manjrekar's Tera Mera Saath Rahen and Rajkumar Santoshi's film based on Bhagat Singh.
Filmmakers worked with include Tips, Mahesh Manjrekar, David Dhawan, Raj Kanwar, Mahesh Bhatt, K Vishwanath, Govind Nihlani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
But with these superstars, were some actors that never made it big.
Ayesha Jhulka had a dream run for a while with Khiladi, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Waqt Hamara Hai, Masoom and a few others.
Madhoo gave up her career for marriage, but not before powerful performances in Pehchaan, Roja and Mere Sapnon Ki Rani.
Mamta Kulkarni, the sizzling siren, fizzled out thanks to lack of professionalism and a controversial image. Mamta had some major hits in her bag in the 90s, like Tirangaa, Krantiveer and Ghatak. And if those roles were ornamental, she gave splendid performances in Karan Arjun, Sabse Bada Khiladi and China Gate.
Vivek Mushran courted startdom briefly, giving hits like Prem Deewane and Ram Jaane, including his superhit debut, Saudagar. But a missing 'X' factor led to his quitting the screen.
Sheeba, a Sunil Dutt discovery, failed to make the grade, as her debut film Yeh Aag Kab Bujhegi was probably her only dramatic role. The rest focused mainly on her anatomy and décolletage, highlighting a lack of histrionic potential.
Ashwini Bhave lost out on the glamour quotient, despite a start like Henna, where the title-role debutante Zeba Bakhtiar failed to make an impression in her subsequent films.
The Marathi actress did several films, among them Bhairavi, Ashaant, Parampara, Purush and Cheetah, but she never joined the league that mattered.
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