Madhuri and Sridevi, the ladies who made comebacks cool
So here’s to Madhuri, and here’s to Dedh Ishqiya. May it make more money than the amount predicted by its marketing bachchas and allow her, and others like her, to take more risks.
In Bollywood, for some reason, the word ‘comeback’ is often uttered with a grimace, like a skunk just ate some trash underneath your nose and let one rip. “Ohhh a comeback! That’s… nice,” they say at Bollywood parties, all tight-lipped and judgemental and secretly thinking about Dangerous Ishq and wondering if Karisma Kapoor is actually a were-lizard. Which is why we watch the trailers of movies touted to be comebacks for big stars with much trepidation, hoping that our heroes haven’t done something horrifying to embarrass us, like getting caught trying to crash the Bigg Boss house or making a Rohit Shetty movie.
Recently, however, the meaning of the word comeback has slowly evolved into something that doesn’t necessarily fall on the Sooryavansham to Chhappar Phaad Ke scale of awfulness, courtesy Sridevi’s positively every-rule-in-Bollywood-defying English Vinglish, in which she not only played her age but also essayed a tough role with amazing alacrity. In contrast, in his latest, Shah Rukh Khan (who has been riding the Bollywood horse without a break since the early 1990s) played a 40-year-old virgin on the run from his grandmother. Comebacks are suddenly looking way cooler.
By the way, if you’re Sridevi’s manager and are reading this, make her a Dhoom villain, sirji. Seriously. I’m dying to see her in a role like that.
But returning to the comeback question, I watched the trailer of Dedh Ishqiya (Watch the trailer here) a few days ago. In it, Madhuri Dixit, whom I love almost as much as I love all scenes in which Sunny Deol saves babies (Read: WAY TOO MUCH), plays what I think is a modern-day version of Anarkali’s backup dancer. It was totally amazing. She looks exquisite, even better than Huma Qureshi in many places. And it seems almost a shame to waste her on Naseeruddin Shah’s old-people smell. Having watched and enjoyed Ishqiya, I can see that this is going to be a fun outing for her. It will cement Dixit’s position as one of the best and most beautiful actors in Bollywood, and make us all forget about the horror that was Aaja Nach — wait. What’s that?
It’s tremendous that we’ve reached a time where older actresses can find opportunities like these, to step out of their comfort zones, to try something new and still come out on top. In fact, if you compare them to our male ‘superstars’, you see what the women are doing is more commendable, and a far greater contribution to the art of filmmaking and the film industry. While the men grapple with their insecurities and try harder and harder to cling onto their superficial superstar status, like Madonna to her teenage years, the women are achieving things and making me want to thump my chest with my fist and yell, “RESPECT!” even when I’m sober.
So here’s to Madhuri, and here’s to Dedh Ishqiya. May it make more money than the amount predicted by its marketing bachchas and allow her, and others like her, to take more risks. May Sridevi show Aamir Khan and the Dhoom 3 gang how it’s done and may these ladies forever change how we see the word ‘comeback’.
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The verdict on Abhishek Chaubey's bold film Dedh Ishqiya is out. Critics have extolled it as a "genuinely smart film", "deliciously dark film", "rich cinematic experience" and "a gripping fare". Audiences have loved it too. The accolades make it a perfect comeback for Madhuri Dixit.
Madhuri Dixit starrer Dedh Ishqiya, not a typical masala movie, received rave reviews from the critics when it released Friday and collected about Rs.10 crore at the domestic box office.