In her initial days, she was often ridiculed for her accent, poor English, and a ruler like thin body. But nothing could stop her from success because she believed in her dreams, worked hard to get her craft right, and never gave up. That’s the story of Kangana Ranaut – one of the most interesting and amazing actors of Indian Cinema. Interesting because of her selection of movies and amazing because in her movies she always steals the show.

Career-wise her graph is more like Vidya Balan. Why? Because both these girls came to Bollywood alone, without any godfather, and survived without the sponsorship of any lead actor. They are the heroes of their movies and always reward us with unconventional roles.

Kangana Ranaut didn’t become a star overnight. In her 3rd year as an actress, she received a National Film Award. But the ride was not so smooth. There was a time when it felt that she was trying desperately to fit into the template roles of a Bollywood heroine. If you see her Box office record, it has never been a steady one – one hit, a few flops, and then again one hit after a long time. At least that was happening to her before 2014.

She was ready to leave for New York for a film direction course but then the script of Queen came and as we all know that changed her image in Bollywood. It also helped many other actresses and directors to create different roles for women.

That big success with Queen followed by Tanu Weds Manu Returns gave her much-needed confidence. We saw a big change in her interviews (who can forget the KWK season 5 episode?) also. She is loved among masses and classes for her beautiful on-screen presence. You see her as Rani, Datto, Simran, Bobby, or Jhansi ki Rani and not as Kangana Ranaut – and that’s her success.

Kangana Ranaut’s craft is the most outstanding one among all the present actors. On her birthday, let’s rejoice her best performances.

Gangster (2006)
Image Source – Google

It was a dream debut that fetched her a Filmfare award. The last time Bollywood saw such a stunning debut, I think it was Hrithik Roshan in 2000.

You can watch it on YouTube.

Woh Lamhe (2006)
Woh Lamhe
Image Source – Google

As Sana Azim, she was playing Parveen Babi. A schizophrenic patient, abandoned and tortured by her lover, finding solace in an upcoming director – she was fierce, bold, and vulnerable. It was a pleasure watching her in this role.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

Fashion (2008)
Image Source – Google

Shonali Gujral – a drug addict top model becomes prey to her vices. She ruins all her name and fame and then one day a wardrobe malfunction happens that leaves her scarred for life. What a painfully poetic performance KR gave.

You can watch it on Netflix.

Queen (2014)
Image Source – Google

The story of a middle-class “Shaadi ke liye pagal” girl finding her worth miles away from her roots was an eye-opener to Bollywood. It is undoubtedly the bravest movie made in recent times. And it fetched her another National Award.

You can watch it on SonyLiv, Netflix, and Voot.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015)
Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Image Source – Google

The initial one was a fun ride but this sequel got bigger, crazier, and better. Datto won our hearts and we want another part of this series – isn’t it?

You can watch it on Amazon Prime & ZEE5.

Manikarnika (2019)
Image Source – Google

The story of the Queen of Jhansi and her valor, patriotism, and courage was wonderfully presented by KR. As Anupama Chopra said, “only Kangana Ranaut can pull off a pearl necklace while in a battlefield”. No one else could pull off this role except her.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

Judgemental Hai Kya (2019)
Judgemental Hai Kya
Image Source – Google

Kangana was astounding as someone with acute psychosis. From where does she derives this amazing power to be so flawless?

You can watch it on ZEE5

Special mentions- Revolver Rani, Once upon a time in Mumbai, Kites (the only good thing about that movie), Simran, & Panga.

I grew up watching Bollywood movies, which means I had the most dramatic childhood. Waiting for Shah Rukh Khan to appear on the screen and narrate his romantic dialogues. Everything Salman Khan ever said about romance was like a bible, while every romantic song featuring Rishi Kapoor took my breath away.
When Imran Hashmi stopped Sonal Chauhan’s office cab, to propose her despite her refusing him several times, 15 years old me went like “Awwwwww..” (Reference Movie: Jannat)

So, you see where the problem is? Bollywood romance is great on the reel but not in reality. Since I grew up watching them, it totally ruined my idea of romance.

Here is how:

“Taani started to Love Raj after he took off his glasses”– Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Image Source – Giphy

It is not happening in real life for sure. Firstly, if someone does not love you, they don’t. You can not pester someone to love you. Secondly, taking off your glasses won’t give you the ability to dance or be unrecognizable to your wife. I legit thought that once my braces are off, it would change my luck in relationships.

“Sanjana persistently pursuing Laxman, and ignoring Percy”– Main Hoon Na
Image Source – Giphy

You got to be kidding me. Bollywood has consistently shown how the college stud, who isn’t really a great guy ends up with the chic. Girl, Percy will not only be rich in the future but will treat you better. To date, I end up friend-zoning every Percy (well, subconsciously).

“Geet trusting Aditya, and then Aditya trusting her in return”– Jab We Met
Image Source – Giphy

As far as I remember, my parents instructed me never to trust anyone while travelling. I am still scared of strangers while travelling alone. How and why? Geet literally asked a stranger to drop her home, spent a night in a hotel with him, and in return, Aditya tells her that he is super-rich. (In the middle of nowhere, where she could have easily killed him for his money). Oh yes, he falls for her, which of course was one-sided.

“Bunny gives up his career just to stay with Naina”- Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Image Source – Giphy

While my boyfriend can not give up his sleep, this guy blew his entire dream. I can not give up my space, yet Naina did not do anything when Bunny constantly disrespected her choices. Millennials need to understand “pyar vyar sab dhoka hai padhle beta mauka hai” is true.

“You are supposed to cry on Airports, especially when you are dropping off your better half”– Literally Every Bollywood Movie Ever
Image Source – Giphy

Parting from your partner can be painful. The first time I dropped my long-distance boyfriend at the airport, I couldn’t cry, neither could he. I literally thought there was something wrong with us, but then you know we were supposed to meet next month. It is okay not to cry every time you part from your partner, sometimes mature adults can accept the situation and move on.

“Sameer beating the hell out of numerous people because they teased his girlfriend.”– Mujhse Shaadi Karogi
Image Source – Google

I remember when I was walking down the street with my boyfriend, and a group of guys started to stare. When I told him, he switched sides with me and asked me to keep walking. As per Bollywood logic, he should have stopped and beat the hell out of those people. In reality, 8 people were staring at me, it would have been really stupid to fight them. While in reality, fighting 8 people would have been stupid.

“Badrinath stalking Vaidehi, and she eventually falls in love with him”- Badrinath Ki Dulhania
Image Source – Google

Firstly, doesn’t he understand the meaning of no? Secondly, where is my pepper spray. Thirdly, no I am not giving up my successful career to get married. Why would anyone?

“Bumping into a stranger, falling in love, then marry someone else, and eventually marry him because your husband died”– Hum Tum
Image Source – Giphy

How many times will Karan and Rhea bump into each other? Fact: An annoying stranger sitting next to you in the flight is not your future husband.

“Rahul loves Aarohi, but he loves Alcohol more, so he ends up killing himself” – Aashiqui 2
Image Source – Giphy

I believe we all know what is wrong with that movie. If you love her, give up the damn alcohol, and if you can’t, break up with her. Why kill yourself? Moreover, have you ever seen an alcoholic make such a big sacrifice for their better half? I am sure 90% of the people would answer with a big NO.

“Dancing in the rain with your beloved is the key to romance”- Every Bollywood Movie Ever
Image Source – Giphy

I tried that once and ended up in bed with 102 fever. And trust me, if you think you would hear music in the background, and it would be a good idea to dance with your better half, it’s not. People around you won’t join you, instead, they would end up passing really mean comments.

So, Bollywood romance is not a real-life romance. In my cases, having similar expectations not only failed but has been a reason for friction in my relationship. But again, I would never stop watching these extremely stupid yet amazingly romantic movies.

He started his career through ad films and became a teenage crush among girls in the 90’s. Little did the bees of the ’90s knew that one day he will be known as one of the finest actors in Bollywood. Born to filmy-family, he got his Bollywood break in the year 2003 with a movie named Ishq Vishk that was about college romance. He was applauded by the audience.

But then it took many years to establish the place that he has created for himself. Today he is one of the top paid actors and his recent successes at the Box Office have proved that he is here for longer innings.

Shahid Kapoor despite being a successful Bollywood name has been quite an underrated actor. His performances have gone better from one movie to another but somehow he is still to get his due.

Some of his powerhouse performances are listed below:

Prem ka Vivah (2006)
Prem ka Vivah
Image Source – Google

This movie came from the Rajshri productions who are known for their tear-jerking family dramas. Vivah was about the journey of a couple’s relationship from their engagement to marriage. It was a Box Office winner and Shahid Kapoor played the part of shy Prem beautifully. The innocence of a first-time lover, the expectations of a lover, or the commitment of a husband – all the shades of Prem were carried out by SK with perfection.

The Aditya Kashyap of Jab We Met (2007)
The Aditya Kashyap of Jab We Met
Image Source – Google

This movie was a game-changer for the lead actress but Shahid, in my opinion, was under-praised. His silence when he is devastated, his confusion when his life is falling apart, his excitement when he found his lost passion, his grief when he is unable to find Geet, or his flamboyance while walking through the sugarcane fields – he was one of the strong points of JWM. Without his contrast, Geet wouldn’t have become a sensation.

Charlie aur Guddu Hai Kaminey (2009)
Charlie aur Guddu Hai Kaminey
Image Source – Google

This is one of my most favorite performances of Shahid Kapoor. He played twin roles – one is 360 degrees different than the other. Vishal Bharadwaj brought the best out of this hungry actor. Lisping or stuttering – he was perfect in portraying both the flaws. Be it intensely romantic scenes, dark humor scenes, or the dream sequences – Shahid Kapoor gave a career-defining performance here.

Jhelum wala Bismil in Haider (2014)
Jhelum wala Bismil in Haider
Image Source – Google

After 5 years he again collaborated with Vishal Bharadwaj who pushes him as an actor to limits he didn’t know he can win over. Haider won him the much-awaited Best Actor award after 11 years of sheer hard work and perseverance. Leave the whole movie aside, just see him perform in that Bismil song and you will know what an amazing actor he is.

Tommy Singh of Udta Punjab (2016)
Tommy Singh of Udta Punjab
Image Source – Google

He played a singer who is a drug-addict and that addiction eats up his life and career. As Tommy Singh, he was mad, aggressive, sympathetic, stupid, and courageous. That confrontational scene on stage is still one of his best scenes ever portrayed on-screen. He deserved all the awards that year. Who else could have depicted that turmoil?

Mewar wale Rawal Ratan Singh in Padmavat (2018)
Mewar wale Rawal Ratan Singh in Padmavat
Image Source – Google

The grapevine of Bollywood was rife that no one was keen to take up this role. Why? Because Ranveer Singh is Bhansali’s favorite and he is doing the role of Khilji and that character will be larger than life. One after the other actors were declining this role and this is when our heart-throb Shahid Kapoor took up this challenge. Remember that his last Hit was Udta Punjab where he played a flawed and crazy character. This Padmavat role was about a noble king who lives with honesty – that contrast was applauded much. He reached a phase where his limited screen time can also have an outstanding effect on the minds of people.

Bekhayali Kabir Singh (2019)
Bekhayali Kabir Singh
Image Source – Google

Seems like Shahid Kapoor is in the best phase of his career. Everyone expected Kabir Singh will do well but the thing that it will be one of the biggest blockbusters of Bollywood and Shahid’s career was out of the calculation. Shahid Kapoor has truly put his heart and soul in this role. His anger or frustration all seemed effortless here. Although this movie drove some controversies – despite that no critics or mass audience can deny the fact that this is one of Shahid’s best performances till date.

Let’s rewind some of these movies and greet him a Happy Birthday!

Madhubala- born on the day of love, 14th February is one of India’s most enchanting actors. Her beauty and acting mesmerized people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Her portrayal of Anarkali in Mughal-e-Azam is still the strongest role of her career. In the book ‘I want to live’ – The Story of Madhubala by Khatija Akbar you will get to know the fascinating tale of love, craving, treachery, despair, and struggle in Madhubala’s life.

There was, is, and would be no other Madhubala. The current generation of movie buffs or film enthusiasts should know about her. So, taking a cue from the aforementioned book and also based on various interviews and writings online, here are some of the amazing facts about Madhubala.

Know Madhubala more here:

  1. Her real name is Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi and was born in the year 1933.
  2. She acted in 66 films out of which only 15 were Box Office hits. But unlike her contemporaries like Meena Kumari, Vyjanthimala, or Nargis, she never won an award. And that doesn’t make her any less popular.
  3. After a painful break-up with Dilip Kumar, she was married to Kishore Kumar.
  4. Due to family responsibilities, Madhubala had to start working at a tender age. She missed school for that. People closer to her in the industry says that she used to work like a machine. She commuted daily in the overcrowded 3rd class compartments from Malad to Dadar and still was never late at work.
  5. Theater Arts, an American Magazine, once conferred Madhubala with the title- “The Biggest Star in the World”. It was a rare honor although she never visited Beverly Hills.
  6. If you have seen Mughal-e-Azam, you must remember the outstanding performances of Dilip Kumar & Madhubala – they were amazing in their scenes together. Can you now believe that they were not in talking terms back then as a result of their bitter break up? Imagine the level of professional and artistic excellence that never came in the way of their portrayal of a romantic couple.
  7. Our beloved Madhubala was also a fashion diva. She carried the off-shoulder dress, the hip wide trousers and chequered shirts brilliantly. Even the simple chiffons, buxom blouses, the Anarkali dress, and that wavy hairdo – all were trendsetters back then till today.
  8. Madhubala wanted to direct a movie named “Farz Aur Ishq” in 1969. But she then became seriously ill and the world couldn’t see her behind the lenses ever.
  9. She suffered from heart disease and died at the young age of 36.
  10. In the New Delhi Center of Madame Tussauds there is a statue of Madhubala that is inspired by her look in the film Mughal-E-Azam.

Bollywood – the biggest movie-making industry in India is full of surprises (sometimes good and sometimes bad). The last year has been another fabulous year in terms of a variety of content but the box office was appalling. Uri emerged as a surprise hit of the year while Kabir Singh made headlines both with controversy and box office. We witnessed brave movies like Article 15 & Section 375, enjoyed mindless comedies like Total Dhamaal & Housefull 4, cried at the heartfelt tale of The Sky is Pink & Super 30, lauded the social dramas like Dreamgirl & Bala, felt proud with women protagonists in Saand Ki Aankh & Mardaani 2, and got swept away with Gully Boy & Judgementall Hai Kya.

2020 has started and we are almost at the end of January where we already enjoyed Chhapak, Tanhaji, & Panga. Tanhaji emerged as a BO winner while Chhapak touched our souls. Panga proved again that there is currently no competitor to Kangana Ranaut.

The rest of the much-awaited Bollywood movies of 2020 are listed below:

Jawaani Jaaneman- Releasing on 31st Jan 2020
Jawaani Jaaneman
Image Source – Google

The trailer gave that cool and outstanding vibe with Saif Ali Khan oozing charm like a 25-year-old. Tabu is playing the role of a long lost girlfriend of Saif and they share a daughter. One fine day the daughter comes to visit her father with questions and actions to be taken. The flair looks comic and I hope it does well.

Shikara- Releasing on 7th Feb 2020
Image Source – Google

Yes, it is easy to guess what can be the subject of this movie. It is about Kashmir (one of the most beautiful yet the most troubled places on this earth). The director Vidhu Vinod Chopra confirms to share the heart-wrenching story of the Kashmiri Pandits through this movie with romance as a backdrop. You can expect something amazing from this tale.

Love Aaj Kal- Releasing on 14th Feb 2020
Love Aaj Kal
Image Source – Google

Yes, we already had a movie with this name and that is a cult among people and fans of Imtiyaz Ali. So, why is he creating another movie with the same storyline and the same name? The trailer was underwhelming and people are criticizing Sara Ali Khan after getting enamored by her last year. But Imtiyaz Ali may surprise you and that’s why to enjoy Valentine’s weekend you can walk up to watch Veer & Zoe.

Bhoot – Part One: The Haunted Ship- Releasing on 21st Feb 2020
Bhoot – Part One
Image Source – Google

Ask any horror movie goer they will say Bollywood sucks when it comes to this genre. But this Karan Johar produced and Bhanu Pratap Singh directed movie looks promising through the poster. Helmed by a new director, with Vicky Kaushal and Bhumi Pednekar in the lead, you can expect a great show.

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan- Releasing on 21st Feb 2020
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan
Image Source

Another Ayushmann Khurrana movie is about to be released and the trailer was hilarious. Ayushmann has created his genre of movies with social messages and this one comes with the star cast of Badhai Ho. This movie will harness the topic of homosexuality and its acceptance to a family and it is going to be a lovely watch.

Thappad- Releasing on 28th Feb 2020
Image Source – Google

Not much is known about this movie but it is going to be brave as the name suggests. And also don’t forget the name of the director is Anubhav Sinha (who wondered us with Mulk and Article 15) and features Taapsee Pannu (who has still not given a bad performance).

Gunjan Saxena- Releasing on 13th Mar 2020
Gunjan Saxena
Image Source – Google

Sharan Sharma is the director and it will feature Janhvi Kapoor as the protagonist. Gunjan Saxena is the 1st female and Indian woman air force pilot. This biopic is going to be a great watch with Vineet Kumar Singh, Pankaj Tripathi, and Angad Bedi in supporting roles.

Angrezi Medium- Releasing on 20th Mar 2020
Angrezi Medium
Image Source – Google

This movie is big because it is going to be the return of Irrfan Khan after battling cancer. It also features Kareena Kapoor Khan and Radhika Madan. Directed by Homi Adajania, this movie is a much-awaited one.

Sooryavanshi- Releasing on 27th Mar 2020
Image Source – Google

It is Rohit Shetty’s universe of cops where you see flying cars, larger than life entry of heroes and villains, and outstanding drama. He understands the pulse of the audience like no other and gives us entertaining movies. This time he has roped in Akshay Kumar as a cop and the buzz says there will be a special sequence of Singham and Simmba both in this movie.

’83- Releasing on 10th Apr 2020
83 movie
Image Source – Google

This is the much-awaited biopic of India because it will tell the story of the 1st cricket world cup win of India. India was an underdog then and brought the glory home in the stable hands of Kapil Dev. The cast is beautiful and o we can expect this Kabir Khan directorial to be a massive hit.

Gulabo Sitabo- Releasing on 17th Apr 2020
Gulabo Sitabo
Image Source – Google

A few photographs of this movie were published and they were interesting. Eponymous glove puppet characters, Gulabo and Sitabo are from Uttar Pradesh, and this movie is about their story is full of local humor and songs, depicting the day-to-day struggle of the common man. When Shoojit Sircar sits in the director’s chair, he wins our hearts.

Ludo- Releasing on 24th Apr 2020
Image Source – Google

Touted to be another Life in a Metro movie, this Anurag Basu directorial looks promising (at least from the first poster). It features Abhishek Bachchan, Fathima Sana Sheikh, Rajkummar Rao, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sanya Malhotra, and Pankaj Tripathi.

The Girl on the Train- Releasing on 8th May 2020
The Girl on the Train
Image Source – Google

It is a remake of the 2016 American film of the same name that is based on the British author Paula Hawkins’ 2015 novel of the same name. The film stars Parineeti Chopra playing the role of an alcoholic divorcee who gets embroiled in a missing person’s investigation.

Shakuntala Devi- Releasing on 8th May 2020
Shakuntala Devi
Image Source – Google

Featuring Vidya Balan as the human-computer Shakuntala Devi, this is a biopic that will amaze us. Vidya can never disappoint us and the same applies to Sanya Malhotra who plays her daughter in this movie.

Thalaivi- Releasing on 26th Jun 2020
Image Source – Google

The motion poster drew so much of criticism – god knows how the final results would be. It is the biopic of Jayalalithaa, late politician and popular film actress who was the CM of Tamil Nadu. Kangana Ranaut looks exactly a copy of Amma in the teaser. Hope it will live up to our expectations.

Gangubai Kathiawadi- Releasing on 11th Sept 2020
Gangubai Kathiawadi
Image Source – Google

After a lukewarm 2019, Alia Bhatt seems to be back on the right track with this SLB movie. It is another dramatized biopic of the mafia queen named Gangubai. The posters garnered positive responses from movie lovers.

Toofan- Releasing on 2nd Oct 2020
Image Source – Google

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra joins hands with Farhan Akhtar again to create another sports drama. Farhan plays the role of a national lever boxer and the posters look outstanding.

Laal Singh Chaddha- Releasing on 25th Dec 2020
Laal Singh Chaddha
Image Source – Google

The best is kept for the last I guess. Advait Chandan of Secret Superstar fame now is busy filming Laal Singh Chaddha based on Forrest Gump (one of the best of Tom Hanks). Featuring Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Vijay Sethupathi, Mona Singh, and Pankaj Tripathi – this is going to be a BO winner and tearjerker just like the original.

The other notable releases of this year would be- Dhaakad, Prithviraj (November), Sardar Udham Singh (October), Bhuj: The Pride of India (August), Shamshera (July), Radhe, and Laxmmi Bomb (May).

When someone asks you, your favorite Bollywood fashion icon that gives you fashion goals, then what would your answer be? Without a second guess, many of us would say, Lolo, our very own Karisma Kapoor. She was not only excellent in her acting skills but also played the fashion game incredibly. Karisma Kapoor, one of the most successful actresses who ruled 90s Bollywood, still is the style icon of every teenager and adults to date. From mini-skirts to slip dresses, from denim to velvet, she has aced it all.

Karisma Kapoor is one of the actresses who carried any apparel gracefully, be it Indian or western. Below are 5 of her dressing styles that are still in fashion trend!

Denim over Denim:
Denim over Denim
Image Source – Google

Denim is an all-time favorite and it’s astonishing how Karisma carried it in her 90s movies. She looked like a million bucks and even today girls are religiously carrying denim over denim everywhere for casual outlooks.

Boyfriend Shirt or Oversized Shirt
Boyfriend Shirt or Oversized Shirt
Image Source – Google

Fashion repeats itself.

Oversized Shirts are now in super trend and girls appreciate and rock it for the cool look. Check out Karisma’s oversized multi-color shirt, isn’t she killing in it with mom jeans?

Crop Top:
Crop Top
Image Source – Google

How can we forget that sassy blue crop top that Karisma paired it with a sizzling skirt in ‘Dulhan hum le jaayenge’? She carried it tremendously with matching boots to give it a bossy look.

Denim Skirt:
Denim Skirt
Image Source – Google

Denim skirts are now in trend and frankly speaking, Karisma already rocked those years ago. Look at the astounding denim long slit skirt which she pulled off with a white T-Shirt and a denim hat.

White Sneakers:
White Sneakers
Image Source – Google

White sneakers can totally steal the show! And who pulled off these white sneakers better than Lolo with the unusual multi-colored top and ribbon scarf. Girls are following this style statement unfailingly even today.

These style trends prove that 90s darling Karisma Kapoor will always be a Style Diva!

What comes to your mind when the name Usha Uthup comes up? Stunning sarees, gajra, big bindi on forehead, and a smiling energetic face – right? Right through my childhood, I have seen this lady pumping up the stage. In my world, she has always been the rockstar. Who else can set the stage on fire in a saree and wearing a gajra? My grandparents and parents always told me that “look at her how civilized her clothes are- you don’t always need to show your skin to perform!”. That is her power- she is able to connect to me and the older generation.

At 72 also she travels a lot and spreads happiness among people. Here are some facts that you perhaps don’t know about Usha didi:

  1. At the beginning of her career, she sang in Trincas. It is one of the classiest restaurants in India situated in Park Street of Kolkata. She was the first lady to sing there and that too clad in a saree. Many a time she was asked to change her clothes or at least wear the saree in some other way but she didn’t. She was there to sing and she sang without worrying about these petty things.
  2. Although a Tamil Brahmin, Usha was born in Bombay. In her school, she was thrown out of the music class.
  3. Her sisters who were into music introduced her to Ameen Sayani who gave her an opportunity to sing in the Ovaltine Music Hour of Radio Ceylon. She sang a number called “Mockingbird Hill”.
  4. Kolkata is the city that gave her massive popularity but before Trincas, she sang in a few nightclubs in Chennai. Kolkata also introduced her to her husband whom she met at Trincas and also her children were born there. She says Kolkata gave her the love of her life, identity, fame, and adulation. And she can never stay away from the city for long. Many times, she wears a big bindi with “K” written in Bengali on it- as a token of respect to the city.
  5. She gave her first-ever live performance in Kolkata at Trincas way back on 1st October 1969. Trincas is known to attract all celebrities across the country. Trincas organized a double celebration package for people. On 27th & 28th September, it organized another live performance of Usha Uthup to celebrate her golden jubilee year of performance while the restaurant celebrated its 60th anniversary.
  6. If you are a fan of her jewelry and sarees, then, you must know that she loves to shop from Kanishka, a famous South Kolkata boutique, and Chamba Lama, a Tibetan jewelry shop in the New Market area of Kolkata.
  7. Usha Uthup in 0’s broke the stereotypes of music that Kolkata or India listened to. She brought those first rays of jazz and pop among people and no parties are ever complete without her Bollywood songs.
  8. Usha Uthup says that she never had any formal training in music. Her two elder sisters Uma & Indira started to sing during the ’50s in clubs of Mumbai and she learned music from them. She says that music flows in her naturally.
  9. Do you know that Usha Uthup sang in 13 regional languages and 8 foreign languages?

The claim to fame of Sushmita Sen is the moment she was crowned “Miss Universe” in the year 1994. It was India’s first win in that category and easily she won the hearts of millions. With a dazzling smile and confident answers – she slayed Manila and that moment is still fresh in the mind of her fans. Her stint in the movie industry has been short because Bollywood could never bring scripts in her time that would do full justice to her personality.

She has a fierce personality mixed with elegance. This combination is hard to find among actresses that Bollywood sees generally. Be it her public speaking capabilities or her way of living – she has always set examples that every woman aspires to become. She is more than beauty – she is a lot of brain with grace. Once you have liked her, nothing is stopping you from getting inspired by her.

Reasons why she will always remain an inspiration to us:

You become a Mom out of Love & Care:

Sush as Mom
Image Source- Google

She had to struggle a lot to gain motherhood. The authorities questioned her single status and her “star or celebrity”. But she proved everyone wrong by being a doting mother to two beautiful kids. Her work and personal life balance are blissful and one can gauge that from her social media posts or her public appearances with her kids. She is an inspiration to all those women who don’t want to fall into marriage and still enjoy motherhood. Motherhood is pure love and with her life, she proves that one just needs to carry a loving and caring heart to become a mom.

Marriage can take a Backseat:

Sush on Marriage
Image Source- Google

At the beginning of this year, one of her Instagram posts read- “Whoever invented marriage was creepy as hell. Like I love you so much I’m gonna get the government involved so you can’t leave”. Isn’t that a wonderful post? Sush is clearly that “new-age” woman who doesn’t need a marriage to define her. She is 43 and still not married and yet she is a woman of substance. What else do you need? She inspires all the ladies that “go out and fulfill your dreams and desires and if you don’t want to marry in that process, that’s okay”.

A Strong Woman of Words:

Sush is a woman of words
Image Source- Google

Sush is definitely a woman of her words. During the Miss Universe Pageant in Manila in 1994, one of the questions was: “if you have lots of money, where would you invest?” The intelligent yet benevolent Sush responded, “I will love to invest in children, take care of children, or do something for them because children bring out the best in you and give peace”. You can see how beautifully she is living up to her words!

Fearless Expression of Love:

Fearless Lover
Image Source- Google

There is an attitude given to love and romance in Bollywood. People in Bollywood tend to hide their love stories from the media or the general audience. Some would argue and say that “it’s their personal life, they should protect it”. But there is a difference between “privacy” and “denial”. Sushmita Sen never walked that road of denying her multiple love affairs. In her interviews to print media or during various TV shows, she fearlessly accepted who she is dating because she is a fearless woman. And that’s how it should be- isn’t it? It’s a good thing to be in love and when you are in a relationship, you should have the courage to accept that publicly.

Age is No Bar in Romance 

Age is no bar in love and romance
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Our society has a weird logic. It says that in a romantic or marital relationship, the guy should be older than the girl. The age difference is not spoken that loud in that case. Therefore, when a Dharmendra marries 14 years younger Hema Malini – it is okay. But when Amrita Singh married 12 years younger Saif Ali Khan – it became the talk of the town. Till today the majority of the people are in favor of an older guy and younger girl marriage union. Sushmita Sen, 43, didn’t marry but she is in a blissful live-in relationship with Rohman Shawl, 28. And she proves it again that – your happiness is the only thing that should matter to you and not what the society tries to impose on you.

Sushmita Sen is a brave heart and an unconventional woman. She has logic and acumen to walk the less-treaded road because that’s what makes her happy. Her whole life is like an open book and her decisions prove a point to the women of this country. She is an ever-inspirational woman who has always played well, lived an uncompromising life, and has become a role model for millions.

Here’s wishing our darling Sush a very Happy Birthday! May you continue to inspire us for ages to come.

Seldom would you come across a film personality like Kamal Haasan! Just like Mr. Bachchan, one can rightfully say that a talent like Kamal Haasan also comes once in a light year. He is not only an actor but a cinema visionary who has forayed into singing, direction, lyrics, screenwriter, producer, TV presenter, and choreographer. In all his ventures he has been a successful name. This year he turns 64 and Indian cinema has been blooming with his presence for the last 60 years. On his birthday, let’s rewind and see seven of his best performances although it would be very difficult to mark only seven.

Sadma (1983):

There would be many movies where his acting would cross this level and many other movies where his acting would be below this level – but nothing can match the charm of Somu. The last scene where he struggles to remind Reshmi of his existence in her life through that monkey dance still gives goosebumps. No other actor perhaps could have done this role better than Kamal Haasan. How a disease like retrograde amnesia can build a platonic relationship and how memory regains can kill that relationship – this movie is all about that. When Reshmi had retrograde amnesia and was unable to recognize her parents it was Somu who took care of her. He brought her from the dirty world of a brothel to his home and shared every bit of his life with her and raised her like a child. And sadly when Reshmi got her memory back she was unable to recognize Somu.

Nayagan (1987):

Not only Kamal Haasan but this movie is also one of the career-best of Mani Ratnam. This movie entered the list of “All-Time 100 Best Films” in 2005 conducted by TIME magazine. CNN-IBN included it in “100 greatest Indian films of all time” while NDTV marked it in the list of “India’s 20 greatest films”. Of course, Mr. Haasan won his 2nd National Film Award for this movie. It deals with the story of Varadarajan Mudaliar – a don of Bombay Underworld. This movie also throws light on the condition of South Indians living in Bombay. It is one of those movies of Kamal Haasan that is artistic in its approach and display but commercial in treatment.

Pushpak (1987):

This is a personal favorite movie and only a hungry actor like Kamal Hasaan could have done it. It is a movie made in 1987 but in silent mode – that was the beauty of this movie. When there are no dialogues – you tend to think more and focus more on the artistic excellence of the actors and shots. This is what this movie achieved and it has a cult fan following. How amazingly Haasan captured the essence of a common unemployed man who roams all through the day to get a job. This black comedy is worth a watch if you want to see the caliber of this actor.

Indian (1996):

This movie shows an ex-freedom fighter who turns into a vigilante who wants to root out corruption while his son is at the opposite end who is simplifying corrupt practices leading to some unfortunate events. This is one of the best patriotic movies where you see Kamal Haasan shine in every frame.

Chachi 420 (1997):

The filmography of this man is so extravagant that it is hard to mention only a few movies. This light-hearted movie saw an unrecognizable Kamal Haasan in the avatar of Chachi. Back in 1997 – that kind of prosthetics was a milestone. The antics of Chachi won the hearts of kids the most and the adults loved the vulnerability of Jaiprakash. It is a classic movie where the audience got one of the best acting stints and direction from Kamal Haasan.

Hey Ram (2000):

This is one of my most favorite movies that was written, directed, and produced by Kamal Haasan. It shows the partition time in India and Mahatma Gandhi’s death. This movie was made very sensitively and made us all feel the pain and loss during the partition. The protagonist of the movie goes from a journey of hating religion to loving it. Now that template is presented in the current scenario which is coated with religious extremism. The brutality of Babri Masjid destruction was also mentioned and you will end up feeling good, bad, and weird all.

Dasavathaaram (2008):

One of the finest performances of Kamal Haasan – Dasavathaaram saw 10 different versions of this stellar actor. The story of the movie involves the lives of various individuals from the 12th century to the 21st century. The protagonist is a research scientist who develops a bio-weapon and protects it so that it doesn’t get into the hands of terrorists. As this movie captures a vast timeline – many socio-political features also crop up making it an awesome view.

Some Other Facts To Know About Kamal Haasan:
  • Till now Kamal Haasan has been nominated 94 times at various awards out of which he won 81 times.
  • Seven of Kamal Haasan’s movies have been sent by India as an official entry to the Oscars – it is the highest score by any actor.
  • Kamal Haasan is the winner of 17 Filmfare Awards South – the highest by any actor.
  • He is the winner of 3 National Film Awards which is the second-highest after 4 wins of Amitabh Bachchan.
  • You will be amazed to know that even the Income Tax Department of India has also awarded him an honorary award for being a shining example of good citizenship by paying taxes his taxes regularly.

When you are born to veteran film critic & director Chidananda Dasgupta and launched to the world of cinema by one of the best directors the world has ever seen – you are bound to be special. Aparna Sen never took these blessings for granted and showed to the world that she is the correct heir to the mentioned stalwarts. She was barely 15 years old when she performed that iconic role in Ray’s movie and then continued to dazzle with her power-packed yet subtle performances in various roles. She successfully swayed between that art cinema and commercial cinema, beautifully lip-synced some unforgettable songs, and perfectly fit into a variety of characters.

When it comes to her contribution to Indian Cinema – I must say I am more a fan of that director inside this woman. No one can come near to her sense of production design, her understanding of littlest human emotions, her treatment of sensitive psyche & issues, and her interpretation of life. Be it Sonata or Sati, Paroma or Paromitar Ekdin – her sheer elegance mixed with intelligence has always been cherished by the cinephiles.

On the occasion of her birthday let’s see some of her finest performances both in front and behind the camera.

Aparna Sen In Front of Camera:

Teen Kanya & Basanta Bilap (1961 & 1973):
Teen Kanya & Basanta Bilap
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Teen Kanya was one of the first anthology films in India. Directed by Satyajit Ray, this movie was based on the short stories of Tagore. Aparna Sen played the role of Mrinmoyee in the story named Samapti. A teenage village forced to marry a Calcutta returned educated guy. But Mrinmoyee is a child at heart who doesn’t understand the value of relationships because she is a free-spirit who loves to talk to the sky, wind, and her squirrel. She loves to spend time in her swing. The story is all about the trials & tribulations she goes through and finally unites with her husband. The immaturity of the tomboy character to the refined version of Mrinmoyee- Aparna really won hearts!

In Basanta Bilap, she is seen as a college student – a modern woman with rebellious thoughts and high-spirit. The notorious fight between boys and girls hostel, numerous funny scenes, sweet romance, and some amazing songs make this movie one of the most memorable & easy-going Bengali comedies of the bygone era.

Unishe April (1996):
Unishe April
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The dancer Sarojini who is fiercely independent and a brilliant performer easily wins the hearts of millions outside the world. But inside her home address, she struggles every day to win the heart of her husband and later her daughter. Sarojini was always misunderstood by her late husband and her daughter and that’s why her dance became dearer to her with the passing days. One night all these misinterpretations dissolve & this movie beautifully captures the loss of death, the realization of life, and the spirit to own the self. The world saw Rituparno Ghosh directing Aparna Sen for the first time and what a terrific performance it was. No one can emote the emotional layers of women better than Ritu Da & no one could have been a better Sarojini than Rina Di.

Paromitar Ekdin (2000):
Paromitar Ekdin
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This is one of the finest performances of Aparna Sen who also directed this National Award-winning movie. She played the role of Sanaka and this movie is all about the deep bond that she shares with her daughter-in-law Paromita (unlike Ekta Kapoor tone). Sanaka has a mentally challenged girl child and later Paromita also gives birth to a mentally challenged boy. Therefore, they are tied by a common chord. Sanaka was that air of confidence which is why Paromita could later end her marriage with her son. A complicated story and a layered character – both were spectacularly presented.

Iti Mrinalini (2011):
Iti Mrinalini
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Many critics slammed it but I find it endearing. Mrinalini – the superstar who is hopelessly in love with a married actor somehow gives up hope on him and moves on even after giving birth to a child. Later in her career, she finds love again in a much younger director but is ditched again brutally. This is a movie about finding love, losing hope, gaining spirit, wanting not to want to forget the past lanes, understanding platonic love, and realizing the uncertainties of life. I was mesmerized by her presence here.

Antaheen (2009):
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This is my all-time favorite movie. Antaheen or the endless wait is about freeing your expectations for love. The characters here are all despondently romantic but they won’t admit to that. They all want love, had that very special person to love and lost them on some incidents. But what they didn’t give up is the wait for the time to love. There is a kind of bliss in waiting for love with hope. Aparna plays the role of a marketing head of a News Channel to perfection who is brave, strong, independent, but torn somewhere – all at the same time. That balance of loving and yet not revealing is beautifully captured by Sen.

The Special Mention from her stint on camera would be Titli, Chotushkone, & Ekanta Apon.

Aparna Sen Behind The Lenses:

Mr. & Mrs. Iyer (2002):
Mr. & Mrs. Iyer
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The lead characters – one austere Tamil Brahmin married woman & a Bengali Muslim unmarried man are on a bus journey. In that journey along with other people belonging to different socio-cultural-age groups become a victim of communal strife. Brilliantly shot and beautifully performed this one is undoubtedly one of the best that Aparna Sen gifted to Indian Cinema.

The Japanese Wife (2010):
The Japanese Wife
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A movie that tells the story of pure love – love where two souls connect over letters. A Japanese girl Miyagi and a village boy Snehmoy from Bengal fall in love and exchange vows through letters. He could never meet her but both remained loyal to each other till their last breath. Upon his death, the Miyagi comes to her husband’s place to stay forever. This movie celebrates incessant love over time and geography. They don’t make or believe this kind of love anymore. Rahul Bose, Moushumi Chatterjee, Chigusa Takaku, & Raima Sen were tailor-made for their roles here.

Goynar Baksho (2013):
Goynar Baksho
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A jewelry box and three women who own that box in different eras and how they perceive that box – is what the movie is all about. Based on a short story and a novel – this movie featured Konkona, Moushumi Chatterjee, and Srabanti Biswas. The impeccable production design is one of the big reasons to fall in love with this movie apart from the performances. The rage of a celibate widow, the fear of a regular housewife to hold her family & to fall in love with an unknown admirer, and the fearlessness of a college student – all are woven beautifully in the fabric of the film.

36 Chowringhee Lane (1981):
36 Chowringhee Lane
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Aparna Sen’s first foray into direction is touted to be one of her best work to date. This movie about an Anglo-Indian school teacher and her desperate attempt to come out of her loneliness. Shashi Kapoor produced this movie and his wife Jennifer Kendal acted as Violet – the teacher who teaches Shakespeare in school. Her senile brother is ailing at the nursing home. Her niece is married, and her students don’t carry that passion for Shakespeare making Violet lonelier. She befriends an ex-student & her author boyfriend later to be deceived by them too. That scene where Violet recites aloud from King Lear, with stray dogs as her only audience would be remembered forever.

Paroma (1984):
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Long before the term “feminism” outburst and engulfed many, Paroma was made and made an impact. Paroma is one of those first Indian movies where a married woman – known as bahu, chachi, mummy, bhabhi, etc. is given an identity. A woman can do a lot more than just being tagged as someone’s someone and this is what Aparna Sen presented without any noise.

An ardent fan like me would love to include all her directorial work. Apart from the rest mentioned above, special mention would be 15 Park Avenue, Arshinagar and Sonata. Arshinagar because she dared to do something different with the template of “Romeo-Juliet”. The dialogues were written in verses and the brilliant mirror placement showing the alter-ego of the characters is something I cherish. Sonata is awesome because it is one of those rare movies that is shot in one space – the characters come and go to and from this place. 15 Park Avenue, of course, dealt with schizophrenia without beaing preachy or sympathetic.

Happy Birthday Aparna Sen – May you continue to enamor the cinephiles with many more creative presentations!