The 2000’s welcomed a new face to Bollywood. Female actresses took on more unconventional but realistic roles, thus breaking down the barriers of what Indian women were capable of.
Her films Taal, Devdas, and Guzaarish were hugely appreciated worldwide.
Bollywood in the noughties (2000’s) changed things for the better.
Actresses were no longer the arm candy of heroes, but they were finally getting female-centric lead roles.
This was also the turning point of the Indian film industry, as they took on the risk of making racy, bold thrillers.
Each actress from the 00’s is well known for her talent, intelligence, compelling roles and radiant beauty.
DESIblitz looks at the top leading women who ruled Bollywood in the 2000’s:
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
The green-eyed winner of the Miss World pageant of 1994 and now Mrs Bachchan needs no introduction.
Born in Mangalore and bred in Mumbai, Ash considered a career in medicine, but the universe had other plans for her; she went on to be recognised internationally as a superstar and today is a global Indian icon.
Ash started her Bollywood career with a few flop films like Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya (1997). However, it was Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and her controversial affair with Salman Khan that made her famous in the B-town overnight.
Her films Taal (1999), Devdas (2002), and Guzaarish (2010) are hugely appreciated worldwide.
Her international presence shot up when she did films like Pink Panther 2 (2009), The Last Legion (2007), and Bride and Prejudice (2004). She is also seen walking the Cannes red carpet every year with her husband Abhishek Bachchan.
She is happily married into the Bachchan family and has a beautiful daughter named Aaradhya along with husband Abhishek. After a five-year absence, Ash made her return to the big screen in Sanjay Gupta’s Jazbaa (2015).
Having no family connections in the industry, Priyanka Chopra is a self-made woman. After winning Miss World in 2000, PC was flooded with film offers.
She debuted Bollywood with The Hero: Love Story of a Spy (2003), and later the box-office hit Andaaz (2003) which fetched her Filmfare ‘Best Female Debut’ award.
This led to films like Aitraaz (2004), Krrish (2006), Don (2006), Fashion (2008) and Barfi! (2012) coming her way.
Priyanka, fondly known as Piggy Chops, is also a successful music artist. Her first single ‘In My City’, debuted in US and trended at number one on Twitter immediately.
In 2013, Priyanka collaborated with American rapper Pitbull for her single ‘Exotic’, which went to number one on iTunes India.
Relationship-wise Priyanka has been rumoured to be dating hunks like Aseem Merchant, Akshay Kumar, Harman Baweja, but the most controversial reports until date were of Piggy Chops dating Shahrukh Khan.
Currently, PC has made her US TV debut with Quantico, playing the lead role as an FBI trainee.
Bipasha’s name, which means ‘deep dark desire’, describes her the best.
As a teenager, Bips had the ambition to be a doctor, but destiny had other plans and she won the Godrej Cinthol Supermodel contest and the Fords Supermodel of the World contest in ‘96.
Being a supermodel was just the beginning of her career. Known for her bold image, she was offered the film, Ajnabee, in 2001 opposite Akshay Kumar. Basu’s performance in a negative role fetched her a Filmfare for ‘Best Female Debut’.
Bipasha’s career turning point was the film Jism with her then boyfriend John Abraham. Bips was seen in a seductive avatar, which was a very bold move for India, and she was ultimately labelled a ‘sex symbol’ by the media.
Films like Corporate (2006), Omkara (2006), Dhoom 2 (2006) and many more were highly appreciated, breaking the belief of many that models cannot act. Bips is also a fitness freak and has launched various fitness DVDs in the market.
Bips has always been open about her love life. She dated some of the handsomest men in the industry like Milind Soman, Dino Morea, John Abraham and Harman Baweja.
Kareena Kapoor Khan
Daughter of Randhir and Babita Kapoor and sister of Karisma Kapoor, Kareena was destined to become the superstar of her generation. She began her career with Refugee (2000) for which she won Filmfare Award for ‘Best Female Debut’..
Bebo has acted in several blockbusters like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), 3 Idiots (2009), Jab We Met (2007) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), and has also won awards for most of her films.
In 2013, the actress was honoured by the British Government at the House of Commons for her contributions to the global entertainment industry.
Married to Saif Ali Khan, Kareena has always been the talk of the town. Be it her long-term affair with Shahid Kapoor or her size zero look, she is always in the news.
In 2004, she ranked third in Rediff’s list of ‘Top Bollywood Female Stars’ and has continued to be in the top 10 ever since.
Preity Zinta known as the cute, bubbly, dimpled, poster girl of Bollywood, comes from Shimla and post-graduated in Criminal Psychology before entering the field of modelling and then acting.
Preity was an instant hit among the Indian households when she was first spotted in Perk chocolate and Liril soap ads. Soon she was seen alongside King Khan in her debut film, Dil Se.
Preity’s blockbuster hits include Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Veer-Zaara (2004), and Salaam Namaste (2005). She also had her own chat show on UTV, Up Close & Personal with PZ, in 2011 where she interviewed many celebrities.
Fondly known as PZ, she co-owns an IPL team, Kings XI, along with her ex-boyfriend, Ness Wadia.
Even if her acting career is on a downfall, her fans are not disappointed as Preity’s cricket team is doing extremely well and thanks to her outspoken nature, she always makes the headlines.
Bengali Rani Mukerji is famous for her wide hazel eyes and deep raspy voice that oozes sex appeal.
While born into a filmy family, Rani wasn’t interested in acting until she played a supporting role in her father’s Bengali film, Biyer Phool (2006).
With the taste for acting, Rani’s mother encouraged her to take the lead in 1997’s Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat. Soon after she found commercial success starring alongside Shahrukh in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998).
The actress is known for her offbeat acting roles that have won her many awards in Bollywood. Some of her biggest films include Saathiya (2002), Hum Tum (2004), Veer-Zaara and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (2006).
In one of her finest performances of her career, Rani played a blind and deaf mute in Black (2005). She won the Filmfare and IIFA awards for ‘Best Actress’. In 2011, she stunned critics again playing a news reporter in No One Killed Jessica.
Rani is notably very private about her personal life. In 2014, she married long-time beau, Aditya Chopra in Italy.
Here are some video clips of these Bollywood Beauties from the 2000’s. Just browse the playlist and click on the clip you wish to watch.
While the 90’s brought out many famous faces who are still recognised today, these 2000’s heroines are more contemporary, realistic and bold.
They are known for their unconventional film roles, fierce determination and ambition, and undeniable elegance and sophistication.
Check out the gallery below of these stunning 2000’s Bollywood beauties!
Images courtesy of Hello!, GQ, Guess, Dabboo Ratnani, Maxim, Femina Vogue, Cineblitz, and BCCL.
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