Indian films industry is a century old now. Although India has produced maximum number of films every year if we look at it from art quality point of view, with the passage of time the quality has seriously declined. Bollywood has produced many star actresses, but many of them were mere show pieces without even an ounce of acting ability in them. There are a few among the leading ladies however who had their own distinct style, and were truly gifted and talented actresses. If we go through the profile of these screen goddesses, their hard work, ability to take up challenging roles and their quality of delivering box office hits one after the other is evident. These women have different forte, but this quality remains constant nonetheless. The list has been prepared the quality of work, box office results and number of cult and modern day classics delivered by these charming ladies.
Kajol: FilmsPlusMovies rates Kajol at number 10 in the list of top 10 actresses from Bollywood ever. Kajol qualifies the list ahead of her contemporaries due to the fact that Kajol has performed a variety of roles and delivered many back to back hits. Looking at the list of modern day classics Kajol has performed in, “Dil Waley Dulhaniya le jaen gai” and “Kuch kuch hota hai” stand out. Kajol shares the maximum filmfare trophies record with her aunt Nautun.
Juhi Chawla: On number 9 we have Juhi Chawla. In the list of most natural actresses from Bollywood, Juhi Chawla ranks high. With modern day classics like “Qyamat se qyamat tk” and “Hum hein Rahi pyar k” Juhi remains impressive. Juhi has an advantage. She has a great voice and a lovely face, and her near perfect voice modulation has always resulted in successfully managing challenging roles which came her way.
Nargis Dutt: Nargis Dutt is number 8 on our list. Nargis was one of the leading stars from 1940s and 1950s cinema. “Mother India” is a cult classic. Other than this brilliant portrayal of a village woman, she has performed in a variety of roles, but this movie remains the highlight of her career.
Madhuri Dixit: Number 7 on our list is the “Dhak dhak girl” Madhuri Dixit. Madhuri was blessed with one of the most attractive smiles Bollywood has ever seen. She is a brilliant dancer and has a very good control over her face expressions. However, Madhuri Dixit’s best performances were usually not box office hits. She has outperformed many others in movies like Lajja and Martiyu Dand however her good to better performances like “Beta” and “Khalnayak” brought the box office success. “Devdas” is a modern day classic and Madhuri Dixit was beyond brilliant in this movie. The biggest movie of Madhuri’s life is the modern day classic “Hum aap ke hein kaun”. Madhuri Dixit holds the record of maximum nominations in Filmfare awards.
Sridevi: Sridevi, the first female super star of Indian cinema, is number 6 on our list. Though Sridevi has performed in some movies which were the run of the mill stuff, she has performed a variety of meatier roles too. Her movies like “Chandni” “Lamhe” and “Mr. India” are considered classics today. She has again struck gold on the silver screen with her come back movie “English Vinglish”. “Sadma” which till date is one of her best performances however was a box office flop.
Rekha: At number 5 we have the most daring Bollywood actress, Rekha. Rekha has been versatile. Rekha has performed in movies which range from high of art to the lowest of crap. One of the women with most expressive voice and near perfect voice modulation skills, Rekha has acted brilliantly in classic movies like “Ijazat”, “Umrao Jaan Ada” and “Khoon Bhari Mang”. Rekha has a long list of commercially successful movies as well. She is known for reinventing herself time and again. Also, Rekha along with Meena Kumari is the best actress when enacting a courtesan.
Nautun: 4th on our list is Nautun, who has earned maximum Filmfare trophies through a 3 decade long career in movies. Nautun has performed in a variety of roles and has been a part of classics like “Tere ghar k samney” and “Seema”.
Smita Patel: 3rd slot on our list goes to Smita Patel-the woman who could deliver high class art movies and make them a box office hit too. She has worked in many of the 80s Bollywood classics like “Arth”, “Bazaar” and “Chakra”.
Shabana Azmi: In our list, the 2nd slot goes to Shabana Azmi. Shabana Azmi can be considered as 2nd most daring actress from Bollywood following Rekha. From “God Mother” to “Masoom” to “Fire” Shabana Azmi has done it all. She has seen commercial success too, through lesser quality and more fun run of the mill movies.
Meena Kumari: Meena Kumari holds the 1st slot on our list and that too, firmly. Meena Kumari came in the lime light in 1952 with the blockbuster “Baiju Bawra” for which she earned inaugural FilmFare awards trophy for best actress. Undoubtedly, Meena Kumari holds the longest list of classics she has performed in. The list includes “Sharada”, “Dil apna preet parai”, “Dil ek mandir”, “Pakeezah”, “Sahab bibi aur Ghulam”, “Aarti” and “Daera”. She received 12 nominations for her performances in various roles. Her career spans over 2 decades and she was one of the most successful star actresses of her era. Why Meena Kumari deserves the number 1 slot? First of all, Meena Kumari has acted in more cult classics than any other actress from Indian silver screen. Secondly, her movies were huge box office hits too. Thirdly, she had very strong star status. The proof of this fact is that in most of her movies, the list of credits opens with her name at number 1. Her command over challenging roles was complete. So next few years at least, apparently there is no challenger to Meena Kumari’s throne. She still reigns supreme when it comes to brilliant and natural acting on Indian silver screen.