An actress isn’t just a pretty face or an hourglass figure anymore. Like women in different sectors are breaking glass ceilings and pushing the envelope, the Hindi film heroine too has evolved into a multifaceted personality. Today, she’s no longer content being in the hero’s shadow or his arm candy. Rather, she demands an equal amount of screen time. And also equal pay. Off-screen too, she’s no dainty magnolia but has a core of steel holding her up, braving everything the world throws at her, building a monument out of the bricks. She speaks up not only for her rights but also for the rights of those, who aren’t as fortunate as her. She’s not merely a mannequin for brands but is the face of several movements. She’s supporting causes not just through money or influence but is also willing to get her hands dirty out on the frontline. Unapologetic about glamour, untiring in grit, she’s a force to reckon with…
SHE HAS BEEN A TOP-RATED ACTRESS EVER SINCE SHE APPEARED OPPOSITE SHAH RUKH KHAN IN HER DEBUT FILM RAB NE BANA DI JODI (2008). But Anushka wasn’t just content with being a top actor. She turned producer with NH10, forming her own production company Clean Slate Films. Her other productions are the horror film Pari and the ghost comedy Phillauri. Recently, her production for the OTT platform Paatal Lok won her much applause. The banner is slowly acquiring a reputation for off-kilter stuff. She went into full entrepreneurial mode by launching her own line of clothing called Nush. She’s been known to lean towards comfort when it comes to fashion and has spoken about her fondness towards clothes with pockets.
Anushka believes that human beings share the planet with different species and has always been vocal about animal rights. Some years ago, she launched Pawsitivity, which aimed at educating people about the adverse effects of noise, air, water and soil pollution on animals. That she’s ace cricketer, Virat Kohli’s wife, is incidental to her identity.
SHE’S STRONG AND YET, SHE’S VULNERABLE. And she isn’t afraid to show her vulnerability. Deepika Padukone has openly spoken about her bout with depression. In 2015, she started the Live Love Laugh Foundation to create awareness about mental health. Coming from a family of sportspersons, her father Prakash Padukone is a revered name in the field of badminton, Deepika was also involved with the Olympic Gold Quest initiative. It was formed to nurture new talent. She’s devastatingly beautiful and yet took the initiative to play an acid attack survivor in Chhapak, which marked her debut as a producer as well. Sartorially, she’s been known to balance the best of Indian traditional ensembles with top international labels. Since 2012 onwards, most of her off-screen looks have been red-carpet ready. She’s an aspirational figure in all senses of the word.
Sonam Kapoor Ahuja
FILM FOLKS WERE ALWAYS OUR FASHION ICONS BUT SONAM KAPOOR HAS TAKEN THE FASHION GAME TO ANOTHER LEVEL. She’s the uncrowned fashion queen of Bollywood. Even her peers have acknowledged that. You would think she would be into chick flicks, given her persona. But Sonam’s movie choices have been diverse. Leading from a modern fable on communal harmony in Delhi-6, to playing the braveheart air hostess in Neerja, to propagating menstrual hygiene in PadMan, she has done it all. Sonam has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights. She’s also supportive of Ogaan Cancer Foundation and has tried to increase awareness about breast cancer. She has auctioned her clothes to raise funds for charity. The proceeds of her video with Hrithik Roshan, Dheere dheere, too went to charity. Sonam and her sister Rhea also successfully run the high street fashion brand Rheson, known for its affordable prices without compromising on quality and design.
Kareena Kapoor Khan
SHE BELONGS TO BOLLYWOOD ROYALTY. AND YET HAS NEVER TAKEN THAT SILVER SPOON FOR GRANTED, seeking out newer challenges and staying at the top of her game since the last 20 years. Kareena has been admired for her natural ease in front of the camera and for her hourglass figure. She swears by yoga and has even collaborated with nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar on two books about healthy eating habits. She has been part of the UNICEF campaign since many years, to impart education to girls and has also been supportive of other causes taken up by UNICEF.
While she opted for comfort clothing in her off-duty clothes in the beginning, after her size zero phase post-Tashan, Kareena has incorporated figure-hugging silhouettes in her wardrobe as well. From being a jeans and t-shirt person, she has been bold in her fashion choices post her marriage to Saif Ali Khan, and looks red-carpet worthy even while going to the airport. She has dabbled in bringing out her own line of clothing and accessories as well. That she has hosted a radio show and judged a dance show are other manifests of her multifaceted persona.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
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