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From fashion to films

From fashion to films

Devraj Singh Kalsi
The Statesman
Publication Date : 23-03-2010

Priyanka Chopra

Some former beauty queens have shown that they are more than just pretty faces

Ever since Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai won international beauty pageants, there has been no looking back for Indian beauties who have in the successive contests during the last decade bagged the prestigious titles.

Making a smooth transition from the world of fashion to films, these divas have shown that they were more than just pretty faces and svelte figures to drool over. Getting a break in Bollywood was no big deal for the starlets who found much to their surprise that success and survival here depends on the masses, does not rest with a pack of judges.

While Aishwarya Rai zoomed ahead with big banner films, Sushmita Sen lagged behind only to realise much later that she did not quite fit into the mould of the conventional Hindi film heroine. She acted opposite many leading and upcoming heroes, had many hits, hummable item songs picturised on her in picturesque locales. Despite all that, she did not take the industry by storm. Lack of something called the X-factor.

Steady flow of offers from leading directors who wanted to fill the void created by the exit of the mesmerising Madhuri Dixit saw in alluring Aishwarya many positive traits that could perhaps catapult her to the epitome. From RK films to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, she could not have asked for more to prove herself. Predictably, Aishwarya Rai sustained her innings with several above average grossers.

Though she did not deliver what one can probably call a mind-blowing performance or a runaway solo hit, she has managed to present multiple strengths any director looks for to make that winning combination. Right from Rituparno Ghosh to JP Dutta to Mani Ratnam, she has worked with every film-maker of repute.

Winning a beauty pageant was a different ballgame vis-à-vis acting in front of the camera. Taking cue from this fact, another former beauty queen decided early that she had to train herself as an actress. Truly remarkable effort she has put in to emerge as an award-winning actress in a very short span of time.

No prizes for guessing her name: Priyanka Chopra. Right from Madhur Bhandarkar to Vishal Bhardwaj, almost every director in Bollywood is fawning over her, convinced that a truly complete actress has arrived on the scene to fill the gap created by the departure of Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit.

A keen learner and observer, she has kept in mind that a successful background in the fashion world does not amount to much in the world of films where one has to imbibe a lot on the sets. She seems to have mastered this art of getting under the skin of the character instead of restricting herself to mere skin show. Kaminey and Fashion have proved her mettle as an actress to watch out for despite turkeys like What’s your Rashee and Pyaar Impossible.

If Priyanka Chopra created waves and made the right noises, there is also a bevy of models who arrived from the world of glamour and fashion but they failed to make any impact here despite several trials. Beauty queen Lara Dutta has been revived several times and she has done everything possible under the sun to get into the big league. Hard luck. Kaal, Partner, Billoo barber, Mumbai se aya mera dost... Success for her is still a case of once in a blue moon.

Curvaceous Celina Jaitley was off to a promising start in a dare-bare Janasheen. Much to the chagrin, this debut did not add sheen to her lacklustre career. This film sank without a trace; her subsequent offerings trounced at the box office. Which prompted her to turn a vocal activist and shoulder social responsibilities instead.

Desperation drove another beauty icon Diana Hayden to participate in a reality TV show - an unprecedented move by all standards. In spite of strutting the ramp world and winning accolades that could be the stuff of fairy tales, she could not ramp up her career in the film world. Acting in B-grade flicks like Ab Bas wrote her obituary.

Relevant in this context is another sexy siren Tanushree Dutta who rose like a meteor with Aashiq Banaya aapne. Thereafter, a dry spell followed and she is nowhere in the reckoning today.

Just one dusky super model who used her super sexy image to sculpt success is Bipasha Basu. Though she has not been able to attain Priyanka’s level of success, she has shown her histrionic abilities to some extent. All depends on suitable roles coming her way to let her magic be seen on the big sizzling screen. From films like Jism to Omkaara to Shob Choritro Kalponik, it has been a long eventful journey for her in the world of films.

A new bubbly face hits the marquee every Friday. Most of these fresh ones are forgotten as they fail to create an impression. A background in modelling or glamour opens doors for many gorgeous women aspiring to be stars but the world of films does not have a special slot reserved for them. The kind of hard work the likes of Priyanka and Aishwarya had to put in means that all beauty winners should get it completely out of their system that they are sanctified beauty queens and the viewers would therefore queue up to see their films. No. It is a different medium, a new world altogether, so everything has to be done right from the scratch irrespective of the fact that the world has been bowled over by their beauty.

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