Beauty and Brains... these gals have it all

As I continue to watch films, meet new faces and new stories, opinions change, but there are a few ladies who I will always remain constant in my list of favorites. Whether it's their talent, their beauty or their attitude, here's a list of my favorite film actresses.

#5 Konkona Sen Sharma
Though I haven't seen very many of Koko's movies, of those movies I have seen, she's left a huge impression on me. Her beauty is atypical, and most of her appeal comes from within I think. I have a huge list of movies on cue with her (Omkara, Life...In a Metro, Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge, Traffic Signal, Mr & Mrs Iyer for starters), and am very much looking forward to seeing much much more from her. Whether doing parallel or commercial cinema, I think she's going to be around for a long time giving us the very best!

#4 Vidya Balan
Everyone gives Vidya such flack for being too old for some roles, not old enough for others, and even I thought she was older than she actually is (4 years MY junior in fact), but one thing's for sure, she is definitely proving to everyone that, regardless of age, the girl can ACT! Feminine, bold, smart and true to herself, Vidya exhibits the very best of what being female is all about. Her roles in Ishqiya and Paa (which I've yet to see), have really made her stand out recently, though she's been in the spotlight for some time now (and not just for her fashion sense!). I can't wait to see what she does with her career post all the recent accolades.

#3 Preity Zinta
Preity was my first. Along with the rest of the Temptations team, Preity entered my heart early with KANK and KHNH, which is probably why she'll remain in my top list for a long time to come. Coming across always as spunky and independant, Preity stands on her merits, even if it means standing up for the little guy. Revisit the reasons why I think she it outstanding here.

#2 Kajol

I consider Kajol one of the first ladies of modern Hindi film. Like Preity, she was one of the first actresses I met and fell in love with, and even to this day, she continues to surprise and impress me. No matter how you feel about the film, her portrayal of Mandira in My Name is Khan was extremely moving and emotional to me. With baby #2 on the way, I certainly hope she continues to balance the roles of wife, mother and actress.

#1 Juhi Chalwa

There's just something about Juhi that makes you want to love her. Her beauty is uncompromised, with a smile that could melt anyone's heart. She has perfectly transformed herself from the cute girl next door image we got to see in her earlier films, to a woman of substance now, who not only still finds time to act, but balances a career as a business woman as well. I don't think I've seen a single film of hers so far that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed (and that includes her kooky fortune teller role in Kismat Konnection), but some of my favorites are Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Duplicate, Yes Boss, Andaz Apna Apna. I can't wait to discover more gems!

So, that's my list. There are so many talented actresses out there that I couldn't include them all (though Rani Mukherjee would have been included if I'd done my top 6). Who are your favorites?

20 Response to "Beauty and Brains... these gals have it all"

  1. Bollywood says:
    May 17, 2010 at 11:35 AM
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  2. bollyviewer says:
    May 17, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    From the current actresses, Konkona would make it to the top of my list. She isnt pretty or glamorous in the way Bollywood actresses usually are, but she always looks beautiful in her roles - thats probably because she can act beautiful! :-) Rani, Juhi, Vidya and Preity would also make it to my list. But if it comes to all-time favorites, then it would be Madhubala and Sharmila Tagore and then the current crop of actresses.

  3. rhilex says:
    May 17, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Oooh, I should totally do one. Nice list. =)

  4. Shellie says:
    May 17, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    @tbf - the only movie I've seen Tabu is was The Namesake. However, she was outstanding in that. I'm not familiar with either Madhubala or Nandita, but Madhubala was also mentioned by bollyviewer, so she must be worth checking out!

    @bollyviewer - I figured that people would most likely have current favorites and then all time favorites, especially if they've seen lots of the older films (which I have not).

    It seems, however, that we do have the same taste in actresses today! Yay!

    @rhilex - I would love to know who would be tops in your books!

  5. Filmbuff Says:
    May 17, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    2 more Juhi movies to watch are - Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke and Darr.

    My list would match yours for the current crop of actresses. Konkona would top my list followed by Tabu, Vidya Balan, Kajol, Priety, Rani and Juhi.

    Among older actresses, MadhuBala would win hands down as no 1. However it would be really difficult to choose top 5 coz they were all great in diff ways - Nargis, Nutan, Vyjanthimala, Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh, Tanuja, Mumtaaz, Hema Malini etc

  6. Tady Rox! says:
    May 17, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    I LOVE ur list!!! My number one is and will always be Bebo...but after that is hands down Vidya...then Juhi...My Rani...Madhuri...and or course KoKo

  7. Anishok says:
    May 17, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    I so want to steal your post idea right now! (I'll do guys, though).

    Great list...but Madhuri would have been in mine and I'd have bumped off Koko. I know, that everybody loves her....I just don't. :P

    P.S. I would love to see Vidya in a movie with Shah Rukh. My dream jodi!

  8. Shellie says:
    May 17, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    @Filmbuff - I've seen Darr and thought Juhi was fantastic in it (and Shah Rukh too, of course!).

    It is difficult to pick favs sometimes because you may love someone for one reason and someone else for a totally different one. However, you are the third to mention MadhuBala. I must look into this pronto!

    @TadyRox - Kareena is certainly growing on me. I couldn't stand her at first, but the more I see, the more I enjoy her.

    @anishok - Please do a list of your fav guys. I did one a looong time ago. If I were to do it again, I think some of the guys would be booted for others (except Shah, of course; and Arshad I'm looking at you babe!)

    I think Madhuri is insanely beautiful, but I don't know if I've seen enough of her films to qualify her stepping into my top 5.

    Hmmmm, Vidya and Shah. I'm going to have to come up with some fantastic story to see them in. I think it could be a challenge.

  9. Bombay Talkies says:
    May 17, 2010 at 11:26 PM

    I did a list like this recently; definitely agree with Koko. Have you seen Luck By Chance yet? She was brilliant in it. Same with Wake Up Sid--I think roles like that really suit her. She's one of the best actresses in the biz right now, hands down. Vidya too, I think, can properly be called a very good actress. She floored me in Parineeta.

    Re: Tabu--if you haven't already seen Kandukondain Kandukondain and Chandni Bar, you're in for a treat. The picturization of Yenna Solla Pogirai in KK was so gorgeous I even dragged my grandmother over to watch it.

    Juhi...well. One of the very first Hindi films I saw was Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, which sort of ruined her for me, but she's in Luck By Chance as well and I'm starting to reconsider her. She's awfully adorable.

    Great post!

    -Melissa :)

  10. Shellie says:
    May 18, 2010 at 7:26 AM

    Thanks Melissa! Luck By Chance was the first movie I saw Konkona in - I really enjoyed it, and loved Wake Up Sid. I thought she was briliant in both.

    Kandukondain Kandukondain has been recommended to me before, and often. I wish I had all the time to watch everything that people suggest. One day I will find my way to it.

    I liked Phir Bhi Hil Hai Hindustani. Absolutely adored the "I'm the Best" songs by both Juhi and Shah Rukh. Super adorable and funny. Juhi is so fantastic in everything I've seen early in her career. I would strongly recommend Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Yes Boss as starter movies fo her.

  11. Bombay Talkies says:
    May 18, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    I'll definitely check out QSQT and Yes Boss...QSQT has been on my list for sooooo long and for some reason I just have never gotten to it. Weekend project! :)

    Now I have "I'm the Best" stuck in my head--thanks for that! :P


  12. ajnabi says:
    May 18, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    What a great list, Shell! I really like all the actresses you chose, and I agree with tBF's recommendation of Tabu. You *have* to see Kandukondain Kandukondain (yes, I'm adding my voice to the mob); she's stellar in it and it's a lovely girly kind of film. Plus, it's one of Aishwarya's best performances.

  13. Filmbuff Says:
    May 18, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    Shell & Melissa

    Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke is a must watch for Juhi fans. She and Aamir did a great job. If I am correct, Juhi even won the Filmfare award for this film - Best Actress. There are a couple of kids too in the movie.

    There are many good Tabu movies to watch including - Maqbool, Maachis, Virasat, Cheeni Kum etc. She was very good in the tamil film "Kadal Desam" with Abbas and another hero whose name i am forgetting. This movie is a bit old ie made sometime around 1997 but Tabbu is great in the movie.

  14. Shellie says:
    May 19, 2010 at 7:00 AM

    @Melissa - ha ha! It definitely is catchy enough to get stuck for hours!

    @ajnabi - I am offially adding KK to my list of movies to look for next city visit. I'm finding it interesting that no one is mentioning those actresses that are currently so popular (Aish, Priyanka, Katrina, etc).

    @Filmbuff - Juhi and Aamir? I am so in! Will put it on the list. Actually now that I think of it, I might actually have a copy in my stash. Will have to check.

  15. Filmbuff Says:
    May 19, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Yes it is one of the hit films of Juhi & Aamir ie Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke.

    Aishwariya did well in some movies like Hum Dil Chukey Sanam, Provoked, Guru, Irruvar (Mani Ratnam's tamil film which was also her very first film though the other tamil film Jeans released first) etc.

    Personally I consider Katrina a "Dumb Doll" in terms of acting, dancing etc although she is beautiful. I don't like Kareena Kapoor in terms of acting although I am told she has done well in Kurbaan - haven't seen it yet.

    Actually Soha Ali Khan is a good actress but then I may be in the minority in blogland about Soha. She has made intelligent choice of films like Ahista Ahista, Doonthey Reh Jaogey, Sudir Misra's film - am forgetting the name where she played a young actress, tum miley etc

  16. Bombay Talkies says:
    May 19, 2010 at 8:14 PM


    Khoya Khoya Chand! I loved that movie. I'm with you entirely on both Soha and Katrina. Katrina can't act her way out of a paper bag. Soha is gorgeous AND talented...loved her in Rang de Basanti as well. :)


  17. Shellie says:
    May 19, 2010 at 9:49 PM

    @Filmbuff & Melissa - I actually quite like Soha as well, though I have only seen her in RDB and Tum Mile, but she would qualify, for me, as a good actress.

  18. Filmbuff Says:
    May 20, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    Yep it is Khoya Khoya Chand - thanks Melissa for that. LoL about Katrina and the "paper bag" expression!

    Of course Soha did well in RDB - I guess i took it for granted that most people would have seen RDB and appreciated it, hence it skipped in my list.

    I have Tum Miley in my TBW pile. My twin said it is a good movie and wondered why it flopped. There can never be any answers for audience taste I guess. Some really good movies flop while average and even boring movies rake in the moolah.

  19. Daddy's Girl says:
    May 31, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    We are sisters, Shellie, LOL - I have a list of my favourite 7 contemporary female actors in Bollywood on a side panel on my blog, and the only lady from your list that doesn't appear on mine is Preity Zinta. I also LOVE Madhuri, Tabu and Rani.

    Your title captures it well - beauty, brains, talent, charisma and that spark that just keeps us glued to the screen when they're on it.

  20. Shellie says:
    May 31, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    @Filmbuff - I liked Tum Mile for the most part. If you want you can read my small review on it here:

    @Daddy's Girl - Well, hello I think Madhuri is definitely one of the loveliest leading ladies, but I've seen so little of her work. I've only seen one of Tabu's films (two if you consider Fanaa, which I don't).

    The internet is so fabulous! I have so many sisters I didn't realize I had! LOL!