Bollywood's Most Exciting Debuts (Female Stars)
1. Devika Rani (Karma-1933): Known as the First Lady of the Indian Cinema, Devika Rani attained instant fame with rave reviews at home and abroad for her performance in Karma, produced by her husband Himansu Rai in Hindi and English. So great was the impact of her beauty, grace and acting talent on the cinema goers that she became the first icon of the Hindi cinema as actor par excellence. In her subsequent movies she made a very successful team with Ashok Kumar.
2. Jayshree (Shakuntala – 1943): The legendary director, V. Shantaram was known for
Introducing new faces and Jayshree was definitely his most outstanding discovery for the title role of Shakuntala, his first film under the banner of Rajkamal Pictures. Jayshree was an instant hit with the viewers on account of her very charming looks and extraordinary talent. The film was a major ht and ran for 104 weeks at a single theatre. Shantaram himself was floored by her beauty and married her while they were still celebrating the movie’s overwhelming success. In his next film, Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani, an internationally famous film, Jayshree, playing the role of a Chinese wife to an Indian doctor (Shantaram), proved stunningly super talented artiste.
3. Asha Parekh (Dil Deke Dekho – 1959): In Nasir Hussein’s youth oriented, musical hit, Dil Deke Dekho, 17 year old Asha Parekh, the new comer became a star overnight. The scrubbed clean teenager represented the new Indian youth with her trendy trouser suits. She became so immensely popular with her debut film that Nasir Hussein went on to cast Asha Parekh as heroin in six more of his films, which were all great hits. In fact, with so many hits to her credit, Asha Parekh came to be commonly known as the Jubilee Girl. She started her career with a big hit, Dil Deke Dekho and voluntarily ended her film career with a big hit, Heera, after remaining as one of the top female stars in Hindi films from 1959 to 1973.
4. Sadhana (Love in Simla – 1960): The movie which introduced to Hindi cinema one of the most talented actresses, Sadhana, has the exuberance of youth, tongue in cheek dialogues and the capricious wit one associates with a classic comedy. The biggest surprise hit of the year, Love in Simla, made the debutante Sadhana an overnight star. Sadhana’s name and persona conjures up images of stylish sophistication and trend setting fashion statements. She was the queen of style for the Indian women of 60s. With her entrance on the screen in Love in Simla, Sadhana brought a fresh new image to the Hindi film heroin. Hers was a look of 60’s modernism that coincided with the petite slimed down fashion trends that were taking place in Paris and New York and were exemplified by the Hollywood actress Audrey Heyburn.
5. Rakhee (Sharmeelee – 1971): One look at Rakhee and you are immediately drawn to her gaze. There you find the fire as well as melancholy, depending on her mood of the moment. In Sharmeelee, her debut film, the cameraman devoted half an hour to her close ups. She is truly a photographer’s dream. Audiences adored her for hr acting prowess and her haunting beauty, with a lilting voice and colored eyes. Not only her debut film was a big hit, she went on to become a great star giving several super hit movies like Jeevan Mrityu, Blackmail, Daag, Heera Panna etc.
6. Zeenat Aman (Hare Rama Hare Krishna – 1972): She was Miss India and Miss Asia-Pacific when Dev Anand discovered Zeenat Aman for his big hit Hare Rama Hare Krishna. The tall, occidental looking actress became an overnight star with the release of the movie. The audiences applauded her performance in the role of the disenchanted hippie smoking away her life with a ‘dum’. The Dum Maro Dum girl went on to revolutionize the concept of the Hindi film female star. Zeenat’s sultry personality was refreshingly different from the marquee queens then synonymous with zest and zing. Zeenat possessed a convent school accent and a penchant for revealing dresses.
7. Dimple Kapadia (Bobby – 1973): Dimple Kapadia became a legend in her first film Bobby. She displayed an abandon of natural spontaneity in her acting that lifted the film above its simple storyline and helped make Bobby a classic of Bollywood cinema. The short skirted 14 year old of Bobby created a sensation in her first film. That pretty face looking askance at the young intruder into her house in Bobby isn’t easily forgotten. And the sensuous ingénue with her short skirts and the ill-concealed bosom had quite a hearts thumping away faster, including the heart of the superstar Rajesh Khanna, who didn’t take time to marry her.
8. Poonam Dhillon (Trishul - 1978): A stunning epitome of true Indian beauty, with a wholesome face, perfect features, limpid eyes and porcelain skin, Poonam Dhillon, after winning the Miss India crown at the age of 16, made her mark felt in her debut film Trishul, a Yash Chopra film studded with awesome names like legendary Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Rakhi and Shashi Kapoor. With her debut Poonam became the ‘Gapuchi Gapuchi Gum Gum’ girl who soon grew into a top ranking Hindi film actress.
9. Tina Munim (Des Pardes – 1978): Dev Anand was looking for a new actress to star in his next film. He saw the cover of Femina magazine with Tina Munim on it, celebrating her return from the International Teen Princess contest at Aruba. Anand asked Munim if she wanted to act in films. The result was the entry of one of the most beautiful actresses to grace Hindi popular cinema. Dev Anand, the savvy showman he was, capitalized on Tina’s popularity with Des Pardes. The movie, much due to the novelty of Tina Munim, went on to be Anand’s last big hit as filmmaker. Tina Munim exemplified the look of 1980s hip middle class youth.
10. Vidya Balan (Parineeta – 2005): Parineeta would not have been the same without Lolita, Vidya Balan. The gorgeous debutante has a remarkable range of facial expressions, and there is not a single scene in the movie when you can catch her acting. She is natural all the way till the end. Incidentally, Vidya had to go through 40 screen tests, 17 make-up shoots and 13 costume trials before she was chosen for the role in the film. The film became a super hit and made Vidya Balan a super star overnight. Indeed, Vidya is one incredibly lucky person to have a break like Parineeta and she looks divine. Audiences are eagerly looking forward to her future films.