She is an actor with a million-dollar smile, sparkling eyes, and an adorable face. Her positive and warm aura won a million hearts back in the late 80s and early 90s. She entered Bollywood at a time when a pretty face like hers was meant only to pull the audience to the theaters. But, back then, there was something unique about her which made her a class apart. It was her spot-on comic timing. She is Juhi Chawla who proved her mettle in the entertainment industry with movies like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Darr, Yes Boss, Ishq, Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke and My Brother Nikhil among others.
In her more than a three-decades-long career, Juhi broke the stereotype of a pretty face being incapable of making people laugh. For that matter, back in the 90s, even the A-list actors and the character actors like Johnny Lever, Kadar Khan, Sanjai Mishra, Anupam Kher and Paresh Rawal fell in separate categories, with former being the lead actors and the latter being just comedians or comedy actors. But then came a time when Juhi was given an opportunity to try her hands at comedy in the mainstream commercial films which she grabbed readily. And, rib-tickling movies like Yes Boss, Ishq, Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke and Mr and Mrs Khiladi proved that the actress came like a breath of fresh in times when women were more of an eye candy in movies.
Juhi’s hearty laughter, her funny expressions and her commendable comic timing made her the queen of comedy in that era. The adulation didn’t only come from the movie buffs but also from her co-actors. Shah Rukh Khan once said about her, “She’s the one actor I could never outdo. Among the greatest comic timing actors, I’ve ever seen or ever worked with, (the best) would be Juhi Chawla. Even now when I have to do a comedy scene, she is my reference point. Can I do it like Juhi? How would she have done it?” Salman Khan who has done only a few cameos with the 50-year-old actress, said, “Nobody is close to Juhi Chawla when it comes to comic timing. Her expressions are even better than Charlie Chaplin.”
When Hum Hain Raahi Pyaar Ke released in 1993 in which Juhi played the role of a Tamil girl Vyjayanthi Iyer, it was not difficult to find a glimpse of real life Juhi in it. Her much lively, funny and not-so-serious in life character reflected the real personality and it appeared as if the role was tailored made for her. Her camaraderie with perfectionist Aamir Khan and her spot-on comedy, while she played pranks on Aamir, won her a Filmfare Award for Best Actress that year.
In 1997 release Ishq, Juhi once again left the audiences in splits with her endless gags on Aamir as she moved away from her simpering sweetness. Another impeccable comical performance of Juhi came in Mr and Mrs Khiladi opposite Akshay Kumar. The 1997 release might not have done wonders at the ticket counters then but today as we watch Juhi as Shalu smashing her car to teach her father a lesson or making efforts to meet her husband Raja aka Akshay on television we cannot stop ourselves from calling her the queen of comedy.
But this is not all that which proved Juhi’s acting prowess. The actor also did movies like 3 Deewarein, a crime thriller and critically acclaimed, My Brother Nikhil where she moved towards meaningful cinema and made it clear that she cannot be categorised just as a comic actor. With time she grew as an actor and even did a negative role in Gulab Gang which also starred Madhuri Dixit.
So, today as the Miss India 1984, Juhi turns 50, we wish to see her often on the silver screen.