2006 was a good year for the female actors of Bollywood. We have seen some familiar faces making their returns to Indian cinema, some keeping their status of being the top female actors in the industry, some elevating their performances to the next level, and some fresh new faces making an impact right off the gate. We have seen that there are many actresses out there who are capable of carrying a movie on their shoulders with no assistance needed. 2006 has proved to us that the female actor is evolving. No longer are they just pretty faces giving support to the hero. In some cases now, they are the heroes. It is time to take the female actor serious because they are finally showing us the acting talent along with those gorgeous looks. We are here to tell you the ten actresses who have had the biggest impact on the industry this year. Since we had to cut the list to ten, there were some notable omissions. People who just missed the cut are Esha Deol, Amisha Patel, Ayesha Takia, and Amrita Rao, and Mallika Sherawat. Now let us get on with the actual list. Here are Bollyspice’s top 10 female actors of 2006:
10. Vidya Balan
Vidya is only two films old, but already one of the top ten female actors in the industry. She has made that big of an impact on the industry. Her first film astounded you at the fact how someone so new can be such a natural. Her performance in Parineeta helped her grab many prestigious projects. One of them was the huge hit Lage Raho Munna Bhai, in which she plays Munna’s love interest. Things will only get better for Vidya, as she is part of some of the biggest movies next year. That is why next year Vidya shall continue her rise in Bollywood, and just may be part of the top tier of Bollywood. This young talent is surely headed in the right direction.
9. Soha Ali Khan
Soha Ali Khan is quickly making a name for herself in Bollywood. No longer will she have to rely on the name of her mother and elder brother, as she has shown sparks of great talent this year. She was part of one of the best and most successful movies of the year Rang De Basanti. She held her own even with a stalwart like Aamir Khan as her co-star. Also she gave a wonderful performance in the overlooked Ahista Ahista. She is young, pretty, and talented, which means she has an incredibly good future ahead of her. It won’t be too long until we hear her name as part of the elite.
8. Preity Zinta
Once one of the top three actresses in Bollywood, Preity Zinta takes a bit of a dip this year because of some inconsequential roles. Although she gave a really nice performance in KANK, she had to take the back seat to Rani. Unfortunately, there was not enough of her in the movie to say that she had as big a role as the rest of the principal cast. Then there was Jaanemaan, in which she was completely overshadowed by her two male counterparts. Luckily for her, KANK went on to become a big hit and Jaanemaan also made decent business. That is the main reason she makes our list. We know what Preity is capable of, so we hope to see her in really good roles and projects starting next year. Then she just may be back where she belongs- part of the cream of the crop.
7. Rani Mukerji
One year removed from her brilliant performance in Black, Rani comes back to Earth this year with work that pales in comparison. Well that cannot be blamed on her because it is awfully difficult to recreate the magic of Black. Although Rani has already proven that she is one of the best actresses in Bollywood, she did not do a good job of holding that position this year. Her performance in KANK was extremely cold and forgettable. Her performance in Baabul was good, but we have seen her better. She benefited from the success of KANK at the box office, but Baabul was not able to duplicate the success of that. That is why she has fallen this low this year. But we know what she is capable of it’s only a matter of time until she climbs up this list once again.
6. Kareena Kapoor
2006 just may have been Kareena Kapoor’s best year in the industry. She gave some wonderful performances, got some good hits, and even managed to give us an item number. Although her item number in Don paled in comparison to Helen’s rendition in the original, she gave it her best effort and managed to do a decent job. As for hits, she was a part of 36 China Town and Chup Chup Ke with beau Shahid Kapur. Both films did well, and showed Kareena can come out with hits. In Chup Chup Ke, she gave a fine performance as a mute girl. All this is fine and dandy, but it’s nothing compared to her performance in Omkara. She was amazing in the film and definitely held her own in the presence of such talents as Ajay Devgan and Saif Ali Khan. The movie showed just how immensely talented she really is. The future keeps looking brighter for Bebo as she has some interesting projects coming up soon. The way she’s progressing, it’s only a matter of time until we see her in the top five.
5. Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra has caused quite a storm in the industry. This year marks her fourth year in the industry and she really got herself in a comfortable position. Priyanka comes in at the position, because of her two hits Krrish and Don. Priyanka has proved she can deliver hits, now we yearn for her to show some acting capabilities. In fact, it was only her debut movie Andaaz where we have seen Chopra show a spark of talent. Let’s hope to see some quality roles in the future.
4. Bipasha Basu
The Bengali bomb had an amazing year. She entered the year with the super-success of No Entry on her shoulders and started the year off with Phir Hera Pheri which was one of early super hits of the year. Bips then went on to do Corporate. Corporate further established Bipasha as a serious and talented actress; she received rave reviews and delivered a performance that was considered threatening to other actress. Not to mention she walked away with top honors at the GIFA Awards by winning Best Actress and Best Critics Actress for Corporate. But to top it off Bipasha was a part of the biggest hit of the year, Dhoom 2 where she looked alluringly sexy in that two-piece bikini. It’s no wonder Basu made the list. Next year looks even more promising for her.
3. Kangana Ranaut
Our number three entry is none other than Gangster-Woh Lamhe wonder Kangana Ranaut. It’s one of the first times a newcomer has topped a list like this but with Kangana, we’re not surprised. Kangana was noticed for her amazing acting talent and unique look. In just two movies Kangana has showed immense potential and already being roped in for many major movies in the future. Remember the name Kangana Ranaut. She just may be one of Bollywood’s A-List actresses in the future. Definitely an actress to watch out for!!
After winning best Actress in 2001, Kajol returned to Bollywood last year in Yash Chopra’s production Fanaa. Her comeback was embraced with open arms, as Fanaa went on to become a super hit. Kajol looked slim and beautiful and acted like a dream. We only wish for her to sign more movies. This comeback was worth the wait! Kajol has proved that even after marriage and kids that a woman can come back in the industry and shake it up with a successful movie. It’s Kajol who has paved the way for Madhuri and Karisma who are rumored to be debuting this year.
1. Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai is back where she belongs – right at the top! Aishwarya is our highest standing female on our list and she surely deserves to be there. The year was quite remarkable for her, as Aishwarya evoked a standing ovation from many screenings of her movie “Provoked.” Not only that, but the green-eyed beauty swept the world off its feet with a powerful performance in “Umrao Jaan.” It doesn’t end there, as Aishwarya hit the jackpot with Dhoom 2 also. She gave a new definition to sexy and brought in the money at the same time. Don’t even dare to forget her weak-in the-knees chemistry with Hrithik. Aishwarya and Hrithik really burnt it up in Dhoom. In addition, Aishwarya has four blockbuster movies under her name, which clearly no other presently active Indian actress has. The future is Rai, as many of her fans say. Looking at her movies this year, IT seems Aishwarya isn’t going to let anyone steal her thunder! The actress has all the top projects in her hand this year. Jodha Akbar, Guru, Sarkar-2, Happy Birthday and the world-wide release of Provoked. Not to mention the fact that this year Aishwarya Rai may become Aishwarya Bachchan.
There you have the ten best female actors of the year 2006. These ten have proved to us exactly why they belong in this exclusive list. But they are not the only ones setting the screen on fire. Right behind them are the actresses I mentioned who just missed the cut, as well as many more hopefuls who just might catch our attention really soon. We look forward to 2007 to see how many of our top ten female actors can sustain their position, and just how many new faces will we see make an impact on us and sneak their way onto this list. We can only hope 2007 will give us as many rocking females as 2006 did.