Meet The Screen Divas

Priyanka Chopra is definitely the girl of the moment.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: January 18, 2009 3:34:07 am

Four actresses who brought out the different shades of Woman in 2008

Priyanka Chopra
The Fashionista

Priyanka Chopra is definitely the girl of the moment. From the technicians,security staff to her co-stars,everyone backstage was vying for her attention. Dressed in a flowing red gown,she trots around posing for photographs with her fans,and chatting up with co-stars—Hrithik Roshan,John Abraham and Farhan Akhtar. While her dance performance here earned her a loud applause,the Best Actor (Female) trophy is what made us believe that she is Bollywood’s new Queen bee. “It’s my first best actor award and it’s really special. Although Fashion did well,we had very few nominations. So this award is for the entire team,” says Chopra,as she saunters off the stage,award in hand. “The year has begun on a good note but I’m not thinking of more awards. It’s a good thing if I get them,” she blushes.

With six mega releases and two super-hits — Fashion and Dostana— 2008 belonged to the Chopra gal. “Every role for me this year was special. But I worked hard on Meghna Mathur. The transformation from a struggling model to a fashionista had to come across as the character developed. We shot for the film from the first sequence to the last because I had to constantly change my physical appearance,” says Chopra in between hugs and cries of congratulations.

From being crowned Miss World in 2000 to being the Best Actor,Chopra’s journey has been short,but successful. “Both these occasions have been the highlights of my career so far. In such a short span,I have achieved more than I hoped for,” she says,placing awards,fame and hard work on equal grounds. “One is incomplete without the other,and I place all three on the highest pedestal,” she says,hugging her trophy close to her.

Chopra calls her parents to pose for pictures. “I had a real life,until I came to Mumbai. I was 18 and naive,made my mistakes but learnt from them. It’s all paid off today,” she says hoping to continue her successful run with Ashutosh Gowarikar’s What’s Your Raashee and Vishal Bharadwaj’s Kaminay that release this year.

Aishwarya rai bachchan
The Princess

While all the leading ladies turned up at the Nokia 15th Annual Star Screen Awards night in satin gowns and flouncy dresses,Aishwarya Rai Bachchan chose instead to play the perfect Bachchan bahu. The glamorous actress stood out in the crowd,dressed in a jade Abu-Sandeep zardozi churidar kameez,as she rose to receive the Best Actor Award (Female) in the Popular Choice category for Jodhaa Akbar.

But the actress,expressing humility,instead gushes over director Ashutosh Gowarikar. “I am so happy for him — Jodhaa Akbar won the Best Film and Ashutosh won the Best Director award. I am more excited for him — he totally deserves it.”

Between immense gratitude for her award,Aishwarya talks about what makes this award special despite being in the popular choice category: “I had never done this kind of a role before where I had to portray,at the same time,four different characters — that of a sister,a wife,a warrior and a princess. I relished the experience and the film will be one of my most memorable,always.” The actress has been spending a lot of time in the South lately,shuttling between shooting for Rajnikanth’s Robot and Mani Ratnam’s Raavan,where she will again share screen-space with husband Abhishek Bachchan. “Pink Panther is ready for release and I’m currently focusing on Robot. I’m back in the city for the awards ceremony and will return to Chennai soon.”

Despite being the It-girl of both Bollywood and Hollywood,Aishwarya sheds her inhibitions as she roams about the backstage premises,chatting up colleagues Bipasha Basu,Priyanka Chopra,Arjun Rampal,co-star Hrithik Roshan and director duo Abbas-Mastan before escorting mother-in-law,Jaya Bachchan,up on to the stage. On her way back,the daughter-in-law of the First Family of Bollywood puts a smile on to everyone’s face as she calls out to Rampal,offering to lend him her award so that he doesn’t have to pose for the photographers empty-handed.

Asin Thottumkal
The Girl-next-door

It’s irony at its best when an actor,already well-established in the film industry,is presented the Best Newcomer Award. But Asin Thottumkal,the animated Kalpana of Ghajini,takes it in good spirit. “Of course,I’m a newcomer — the two industries are like chalk and cheese and Bollywood means I’m performing to a wider audience. Recognition here means an acknowledgement by national audience,” admits the South Indian star,overwhelmed.

The actress’ convincing performance,say critics,provided the otherwise sullen movie the high notes. But one look at Thottumkal and you know that she wasn’t ‘acting’ in the film-Kalpana was what she is in real life.

Dressed in a peach satin gown designed by her friend Babita Malkani,Thottumkal sails in like a diva into the photographers’ gallery. But as soon as the photo shoot is over,the Kalpana in her takes over and she goes about hugging bystanders,journalists and event managers around,thanking all for their support.

The Southern siren was also a part of the original Tamil version of the film. But she gladly took up the Hindi version. “It was with Aamir,after all. And Kalpana’s character can never bore me. To give her a commoner’s look,we went about Linking Road,shopping for ganjis,tees and accessories — it was crazy fun.” Incidentally,as is common with actors from the South,language wasn’t a barrier for her. The 24-year-old did the film in sync sound and confesses that co-star Aamir Khan’s compliment on her diction encouraged her further.

Restless on her feet,Thottumkal tugs on to her doting father’s arm as she broaches the subject of her next project,London Dreams. She will be seen as the lead opposite Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan in Vipul Shah’s mega project. “As opposed to the girl-next-door in Ghajini,I play the bold character of a rocker chick from London in the film. You’ll see me with black nail paint,” she says,flashing her fingers and a wide grin. In a hushed voice she pulls us aside and adds,wide-eyed,“And guess what? I play a split personality. Exclusive,exclusive!”

Shahana Goswami
The Nagging Wife

Young achievers are ruling the roost. Add another one — Shahana Goswami— who,at 22,has become a household name and a runaway success. Recipient of the Best Supporting Actor (female) for her role as Debbie Mascarenhas in Rock On!!,she seems super excited as she enters the photographers’ lounge. “This is my first-ever award and I’m really happy. But I’m too nervous right now and excuse me if I sound inarticulate,” she says as she takes a closer look at her award.

Dressed in a short pink number,Goswami’s come a long way since her first release. She’s looking fitter and exudes confidence. “I workout regularly and follow a diet,although sometimes I like to binge. And this dress was designed by Shantanu-Nikhil for the red carpet,” she says,happy with her pick.

For Goswami,Ru Ba Ru happened while she was still in college completing her graduation. She gave her first shot for the film in Bangkok,much before she was signed on for Rock On!!. But ironically enough,the latter turned out to be her first big release and consequently,also a turning point in her career. “It’s a case of good things falling into place. I’m glad I won an award for my debut release,” she says as she makes a quick dash to wish Arjun Rampal,who also bagged the Best Supporting Actor (Male) award for the same film.

A little later,she returns to tell us what a doting co-star Rampal is. “Arjun was adorable. But to me,the entire team of Rock On!! has been like one large family. And yes,I would love to be paired with Farhan Akhtar. He’s such a brilliant actor,” enthuses the young achiever.

With her next release — Nandita Das’ Firaaq — she hopes to increase her stronghold in Bollywood. “It’s my next big venture. Although worldwide special screenings have been appreciated,I’m eager to see the reactions when it releases here,” she says,fingers crossed.

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