The 90’s era of Bollywood captures the essence of family, love, tradition and culture, while the ‘macho hero’ and villainous roles stepped aside. Bollywood went global and reached wider audiences with its more challenging storylines and the entrance of female-orientated roles.
These actresses have become the most recognised faces of Bollywood.
DESIblitz looks at the top five leading ladies of Bollywood in the 1990’s. These actresses are celebrated for their versatility, grace and beauty, as well as exceptional acting skills on screen.
Following the 80’s, where Indian cinema had narratives that were extremely similar, this next decade provided a whole new genre for people to enjoy. Producers, directors and actors stepped outside of the box for their films. They revolutionised Indian cinema with more sophisticated technology, and successfully experimented with more challenging storylines.
The 90’s heroines were classy, intelligent and independent. Combining raw beauty and talent, these actresses have become the most recognised faces of Bollywood:
Madhuri, often referred to as the ‘Queen of Bollywood’, is a favourite among many. She is a multi-award winning actress and is known for her classic beauty and charming personality. Madhuri made her debut in 1984 with Abodh, but only widely became noticed in 1988 after starring in Tezaab.
The 90’s were incredibly busy for Madhuri, who released 3 to 4 films each year. She gained superstardom with her hit film Dil (1990) from which she won her first Filmfare Best Actress award. Her best films were Saajan (1991), Khal Nayak (1993), Hum Aapke Hai Kaun (1994) again winning the Filmfare Best Actress Award, Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) where she won another Filmfare Best Actress Award, and Koyla (1997).
As well as being a talented actress, Madhuri is also a trained kathak dancer and is well-loved for her graceful moves, having performed classical dances in many films. In the television world, she is one of the lead judges for dance reality show Jhalak Dikhlaja, and is currently working on a film named Gulaab Gang which is to be released later this year.
Kajol is loved for her bubbly personality and amazing on screen presence. She has won many awards in her career. Her first film, Bekhudi (1992), did not do very well. But Kajol had her breakthrough with her film Baazigar (1993), which was a super hit. She was paired with Shahrukh Khan for the first time and their on screen chemistry and lovable relationship became an instant hit with fans. Since then they have been in many films together and are one of the most popular on screen jodi’s.
Kajol shot to stardom with one of Bollywood’s most loved and treasured films, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenga (1995), where she won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress. After this came worldwide blockbuster, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), where she was awarded with Filmfare’s Best Actress Award again. These films showed the famous Shahrukh Khan and Kajol jodi at their best.
Other successful films were Gupt: The hidden truth (1997) where she won the Filmfare Best Performance for a Negative Role award, Karan Arjun (1995), Yeh Dillagi (1994), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), and Fanaa (2006).
Raveena started as a model before going into acting. She made her Bollywood debut with Patthar Ke Phool (1991) where she won the Filmfare Lux New Face Award.
The 90’s was the height of Raveena’s success. She starred in successful films like Mohra (1994), Diwale (1994), Laadla (1994), Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996) and Ziddi (1997).
In 1998, she released an impressive eight films in total. Interestingly, she was also offered Rani Mukerji’s role in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, but turned it down.
Raveena also starred in numerous Tamil and Telugu films as well. In 1999, she starred in a psychological Telugu thriller called Upendra. The film became a blockbuster hit all over South India, and firmly cemented Raveena’s name into cinema history. The film won countless awards including Filmfare Best Film and Best Director.
Raveena then moved into art house cinema and independent film. She won the Filmfare Special Performance award for her role in Aks (2001). Most recently Raveena has turned to TV, hosting a new chat show Isi Ka Naam Zindagi (2012).
Crowned Miss India 1984, Juhi Chawla is a name known to many. She pursued acting and was quick to become extremely successful as one of Bollywood’s most prominent actresses.
She is best known for her comical roles and cheerful persona on screen and off screen. Some of her mega-hit films are Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1998) opposite Amir Khan, Darr (1993), Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993) where she won Filmfare Best Actress Award, Yes Boss (1997), Ishq (1997), and Duplicate (1998).
As well as acting, Juhi also learned kathak for 3 years, and is a classically trained singer. Juhi is often cited by the media as one of the best actresses of Hindi cinema, alongside Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit. She is currently working on a film called Gulaab Gang, which is to be released later this year.
Manisha is known for her timeless classic beauty and elegance. Before acting, she had ambitions to be a doctor, but multiple modelling jobs opened up her acting career. She primarily worked in Hindi cinema, but has appeared in many Nepali, Tamil, Malayam and Telegu films as well. She made her Bollywood debut with Saudagar (1991) which was the top grossing film of the year.
Manisha then went on to establish herself the one of the leading actresses of the 90’s with successful mainstream films such as 1942: A Love Story (1994), Gupt (1997), Bombay (1995), Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995), Khamoshi: The Musical (1996), and Dil Se (1998).
Manisha was born into a political family and is well-known for her social activism. She is also trained as a Bharatnatyam and Manipuri dancer.
She reportedly survived ovarian cancer in 2012. Her most recent performance was in Mappillai, a Tamil film, where she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
Here are some video clips of these Bollywood Beauties from the 1990?s. Just browse the playlist and click on the clip you wish to watch.
Check out the photo gallery of the delightful Bollywood beauties from the 1990?s.
Raj Nayak is the CEO of Colors TV and Rishtey Cineplex at Viacom18 Media. In an exclusive Gupshup with DESIblitz, Raj talks Bigg Boss, 24 and more!