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Heroines make Bollywood screens sizzle
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
So it's Madhubala in "Mughal-e-Azam" against Antara Mali in "Naach".
Ironically, in a film industry that is notoriously male-dominated, the women take centre-stage in the latest releases.
Says Antara: "Not that I want to compare myself with the great Madhubala. But in our own completely distinctive and different ways, both Anarkali in 'Mughal-e-Azam' and Rewa in 'Naach' express the essence of life through dance."
Other heroines too perk up to do their own dance of life - Preity Zinta in "Veer-Zaara" and Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra in "Aitraaz".
Like Antara whose work in "Main Madhuri Dixit Ban-na Chahti Hoon" had already established her reputation for doing dynamic work, Preity is known by now for her selection of strong parts in films that project the female protagonist beyond the song-and-dance routine.
In "Veer-Zaara", she not only plays one half of the title role but also a more important role than that usually assigned to female protagonists in Shah Rukh Khan starrers.
In fact the last female protagonist to share the marquee so prominently with Shah Rukh was Aishwarya Rai in "Devdas".
"I don't know about that," says Preity. "But yes, I'm Zaara. There can be no Veer without her."
In the four potential blockbusters, the leading ladies take the lead in unexpected ways. Though the credit lines show huge male stars, it's the women who dominate all the shows.
While 'Akbar' Prithviraj Kapoor and 'Salim' Dilip Kumar battle over the issue of love over kingdom, it's 'Anarkali' who attains immortality.
Most of the younger viewers are awestruck about watching "Mughal-e-Azam" and seeing Madhubala sing "Pyar kiya to darna kya" and "Mohe panghat pe".
In Abbas-Mustan's thriller "Aitraaz", Akshay Kumar happily reclines while Priyanka and Kareena take matters into their own hands.