Bollywood has always been touted as an industry where the actresses are prone to a shorter shelf life. There are several factors that attribute to that classification, be it a certain age barrier or the marital or parental status of the actresses. Things have changed for the better quite a lot in the recent times, with actresses like Neena Gupta proving that age is just a number or Vidya Balan, Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma or Sonam Kapoor proving that their marital status doesn’t dictate their excellence in their craft.
But there is one actress that has been shattering all these prejudices and stereotypes for a long time and it’s the birthday girl Kajol. She is one of the few actresses of Bollywood, who have had a successful career as a leading lady in four decades. Let’s revisit that:
This was the golden decade and the golden period of Kajol’s career. The actress bowled over everyone with her debut performance in Bekhudi even though the film was a commercial failure. But it didn’t take her long to combine her critical success with commerce. It happened with her second film Baazigar with Shah Rukh Khan and Shilpa Shetty, that also started a long and mega-successful collaboration between SRK and her.
The duo then ruled the ’90s together with films like Baazigar, Dilwale Dulhani Le Jayenge, Karan Arjun and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. She also proved that she can carry a film with her histrionics in successes like Gupt: The Hidden Truth and Dushman, the former made her the first actress to be nominated and win the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role.
It was in the ’90s when she also met her would-be husband, Ajay Devgn, with whom she gave two blockbusters - Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha and Ishq.
At a time when actresses getting married meant the death of their career as a leading lady, Kajol broke that glass ceiling. After a few setbacks, she made her presence felt in a huge ensemble from one of the biggest commercial successes of Bollywood till that time, Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. The film also earned her another Filmfare trophy as a leading actress.
After that, Kajol took a little sabbatical from films which she termed as not a break but being selective. During that time, she gave birth to their daughter Nysa and again broke the prejudice of mothers not doing well as leading actresses, as she made an impressive comeback in Fanaa as a blind girl with Aamir Khan, winning her another Filmfare trophy. Even after that, Kajol continued her selective approach of choosing films and appeared in one more film, Ajay’s directorial, U Me Aur Hum.
Like every decade, Kajol again started with a bang as SRK and her got together in My Name Is Khan and created the same magic as was expected from them, even after 17 years of their debut pairing. Her performance in the film garnered her fifth Filmfare trophy as a leading actress, tying her for the record with her aunt Nutan.
The same year, she also appeared in Siddharth P Malhotra’s We Are Family with Arjun Rampal and Kareena Kapoor Khan and five years later, Rohit Shetty reunited Kajol and SRK on-screen with Dilwale.
After having already proved her mettle and staying strong in the Hindi film industry for three decades, Kajol entered the 2020s with a new zest and enthusiasm. She opened the decade with Om Raut’s Tanhaji: The Unsung Hero which brought her together with her husband Ajay on screen after more than a decade.
The same year, she also made her short film debut with Devi, which featured an ensemble cast of women across all age groups. This year, too, Kajol gave an impressive performance in Renuka Shahane’s social drama, Tribhanga with Tanvi Azmi and Mithila Parkar, that also marked her digital debut.
If reports are to be believed, Kajol seems to have another winner on her hand with Rajkumar Hirani’s immigration drama with SRK. And if that turns out to be true, Kajol’s journey might just be on the way to achieving new and greater heights.
Image source: IMDb/SpotboyEArchives