Bollywood has no place for mom Aishwarya Rai or bride Kareena
Is the Indian film industry unfair to heroines?
Unlike Hollywood, Bollywood heroines have to pay a huge price to have a satisfying personal life. Marriage is a taboo for them and they can afford to have kids only after their career is virtually over. They have an extremely short shelf life, unlike the men who continue to play lead roles well into their 50s.
However, there are some exceptions such as Sharmila Tagore who have given the best performances of their lives after their marriage and children.
But for most heroines, having an affair is acceptable to Indian audience but once they are married, they are no longer in demand as Indian men balk at being publicly caught gawking or staring at married women or rather at someone else’s ‘woman’. Singles are, of course, acceptable.
Recently, two women have been paying very dearly for their decision to carry on with their lives.
Aishwarya’s decision to have a baby after 18 years in the glamour industry meant signing off from the film she was shooting for – Heroine.
While Kareena Kapoor was conveniently placed to land the plum role, she is now in hot water herself as Sanjay Leela Bhansali has thrown her out of ‘Ram Leela’, an adaptation of Rome and Juliet, for daring to get married claiming that his ‘Juliet’ cannot be a married girl. Bhansali was not worried about Kareena’s marital status even though the actress and her beau, Saif Ali Khan, have been going strong for quite some time.
Karishma Kapoor, Kareena’s elder sister and winner of many awards for her performances, also lost her fans after her marriage. She tried to make a comeback with ‘Dangerous Ishhq’, but the film proved to be a dud at the box office.
Madhuri Dixit Nene has yet to give a hit after having kids. Her attempt in 2007, Aaja Nachle did not really set the cash registers ringing. She has moved back to India with her husband and kids in tow to try her luck in films and television. Hope, Indian audiences accept ‘Dr Shriram Nene’s woman’ in Ishqiya sequel.
Another top heroine to decided to log out when she was at the peak of her career was Kajol. She got married to Ajay Devgn in 1999 just after delivering four consecutive hits in 1998. She has been compatatively lucky with her films post-marriage, but has delivered only three hits thereafter.
Girl next-door, Genelia Deshmukh nee D’Souza who recently got married to her longtime boyfriend and fellow actor Riteish Deshmukh has no projects in hand after getting married. Her career in films is virtually over. She can probably think of taking up a career in television.
Heroines such as Sridevi did not reveal to public that she was married to the much-married producer Boney Kapoor and was pregnant by him, till she delivered her first daughter in a hospital in Mumbai.
Juhi Chawla did hum-ho about her marriage with Jay Mehta for a long time. No one was clear if she was married or not. After her kids, she took the art film route. However, her costars like Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan are still going strong despite grown up kids and rumours of affairs.