Mumbai, March 12 -- It wasn't all that long back that marriage marked the end of a Bollywood actress's career. Today, however, things have changed considerably. Two prime examples are Kareena Kapoor and Vidya Balan.
In fact, Kareena's item number, Fevicol, from Dabangg 2 (2012), which released soon after her wedding, went on to become a raging hit.
Other married leading ladies like Kajol, Chitrangda Singh, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Sridevi, too, continue to make bag interesting roles in hit films. Trade expert Komal Nahta attributes the trend to a change in the audience's mindsets. "More importantly, today actresses aren't cast only in romantic roles. So they can survive by playing different parts too," he points out.
With insights from Nahta and another trade pundit, Vinod Mirani, we look at the career graphs of some married Bollywood actresses before and after they tied the knot.
Kareena Kapoor - The effortless charmer
Last seen in: Her item song, 'Fevicol se', from Dabangg 2 (2012) became an overnight hit. Her last release, Talaash (2012), received a lukewarm response.
Career graph: She started off with a serious part in Refugee (2000), but then expanded her fan base with lighter roles in films such as Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai (2001), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Jab We Met (2007), 3 Idiots (2009) and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012). After marrying Saif Ali Khan in October, she returned to work in a month with her Dabangg 2 number.
Up next: Kareena will soon be seen in Gori Tere Pyaar Mein. She will wrap up Satyagraha before starting work on Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor's yet-untitled co-production.
Trade talk: "Kareena has such a strong image in people's minds that she will be accepted as well after marriage as she was
earlier. Things won't change for her," says Nahta.
Vidya Balan - The female hero
Last seen in: Though her last outing - an item number in Ferrari Ki Sawaari (2012) - didn't make heads turn, her performance in Kahaani (2012) did. The film also did well at the box office.
Career graph: She made an impressive debut in 2005 with Parineeta. Since then, she has created a niche for herself with films like Paa (2009), Ishqiya (2010), No One Killed Jessica (2011), The Dirty Picture (2011) and Kahaani. The roles she has essayed have earned her the tag of a 'female hero'.
Up next: She will be seen in the black comedy, Ghanchakkar, followed by Shaadi Ke Side Effects. Also, she is likely to play legendary Carnatic singer MS Subbulakshmi in Rajeev Menon's biopic.
Trade talk: "Since Vidya hardly does typical romantic roles, her marriage won't matter to her fans. She is in a very unique space in the industry," says Mirani.
Kajol - The evergreen star
Last seen in: She made a guest appearance in the Student Of The Year (2012) song, 'Disco deewane'. As for films, she
was last seen in 2010, in Toonpur Ka Superrhero and We Are Family. She also lent her voice for the Hindi version of Makkhi (2012).
Career graph: After making her debut with Bekhudi (1992) while she was still in school, Kajol went on to do romantic roles in hit films like Baazigar (1993), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). She married Devgn at the height of her popularity.
Up next: Kajol might be seen in a cameo in Chennai Express. Also, she will lend her voice to Karan Johar's animated film, Koochie Koochie Hota Hai.
Trade talk: "She hardly does any films, so whenever Kajol decides to do one, her fans lap it up. She knows what they want from her," says Mirani.
Chitrangda Singh - The niche actor
Last seen in: She was just seen in I, Me Aur Main and, before that, in Inkaar. Neither film did well at the box-office, though.
Career graph: She was already married when she signed her first film, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2003). After her debut film and another one titled Kal: Yesterday and Tomorrow (2005), she took a sabbatical. She made a comeback in 2008 with Sorry Bhai!.
Up next: Chitrangda is likely to star in Sudhir Mishra's Mehrunissa, alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor.
Trade talk: "She has been happy to choose niche films, right from the beginning of her career. It's clear that she can't get into the mainstream league, so her future lies here," says Nahta.
Return of the divas
While one yesteryear star - Sridevi - made a successful comeback last year, another - Madhuri Dixit - will attempt to return to the top position she was at two decades ago.
After Meri Biwi Ka Jawab Nahin (2004), she made a remarkable comeback at the age of 49 with English Vinglish last year. Sridevi quit films after she married producer Boney Kapoor. In the future, she will be part of Mr India 2. Her Sadma (1983) co-star, Kamal Haasan, has also gone on record saying that he is writing a script keeping her in mind.
Trade talk: "She is smart enough to act her age on- screen (like she did in English Vinglish). And as long as Sridevi and all the married actresses know their limitations, they will continue to do well," says Mirani.
Her last release, also touted as her unofficial comeback - Aaja Nachle in 2007 - proved to be a dud. Now having returned to India from the US, she is busy resurrecting her Bollywood career. The actor, who was
successful in the '80s and early '90s, gave it all up when she married US-based doctor Sriram Nene and moved to the US. Her big upcoming release is Dedh Ishqiya. It will be followed by Gulab Gang.
Trade talk: "She has been rightly accepting roles that fit her image well. I am sure she knows clearly that she can't play a 20-year-old girl's part today," says Nahta.
Also in the wings
Raveena Tandon: She was last spotted in a special role in Bbuddah... Hoga Terra Baap (2001). Now, she is working on Sudipto Chattopadhyaya's Shobhana 7 Nights.
Sonali Bendre: Last seen in a supporting role in Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), she will now be seen in Milan Luthria's Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2.
Shilpa Shetty: She last filmed an item number for Dostana (2008). Her next big-screen appearance is in the Indo-Chinese venture, The Desire. She is also producing the Harman Baweja-starrer, Dishkiyaaon.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.