Each time they stride imperiously across the screen they create a lasting blasting impact. Make no mistake about the power of these natural-born scenestealers. They make the leading ladies and even the ostensibly invincible heroes quake in their shoes. They are the fringe players who fortify every script they take, with every move they make.
1. Aruna Irani: My favourite scenestealer of all times, Aruna is a prime example of how Bollywood slots and condemns the NBSS (natural-born scene-stealer) to the sidelines. Aruna started as a child actor did a short stint as a leading lady with, ahem, Amitabh Bachchan in Bombay To Goa. But her destiny was to steal frame and fame from the fringes. As a supporting actress I have lost count of the number of times she has stolen the show from the official leading lady: Asha Parekh in Caravan, Hema Malini in Charas, Madhuri Dixit in Beta . After Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Mili I had asked director Hrishikesh Mukherjee why he hadn’t cast Aruna in in the title. “Because this industry works on the basis of the star system. Aruna is a fantastic actress. But she is not a star.” Speaking about her career choices, Arunaji once said to me, “I never thought of the length of a role or whether it was a side role or a supporting role, a sister’s role or a dancer…jo mila maine imaandari se kiya.” More power to you,Lady.
2. Farida Jalal: Too wholesome, too homely, too cuddlesome to be the touch-me-not heroine, Farida Jalal has stolen the show from her co-stars for decades.In an interview some time ago with me this NBSS said , “I virtually grew up and grew old in this fraternity. It's a lovely place to be in. I want to spend all my life in the Indian entertainment industry. I've done it all. I've been acting since I was out of school. I've received plenty of recognition. By God's grace I've won awards. About not getting the heroine’s role Faridaji said, “I enjoyed playing every role. Sometimes the sister was the film's heroine. The official heroine would just sing her songs whereas I had all the dramatic scenes. I got my recognition and the awards. In a film called Paras I was Sanjeev Kumar's sister. But I had a lot more to do than Raakhee-di who played the heroine. I got my first award for it. Then I got my second award for Majboor, a film written by Salimbhai and Javedbhai where Bachchan Saab played my brother. It was so heartening. Why would I want to be heroine when I was getting the stronger parts as the sister?”
3. Ashwini Kalsekar: You probably don’t know her by name. But the minute you see Ashwini Kalsekar on screen--and never mind if she is just a blur in the background—you sense a magic happening.That’s the magic of being a NBSS. No matter how minuscule your role, you will stand out in every frame.Ms Kalsekar, a well-known name in Marathi cinema, has found fame as a comedienne in the Golmaal series.But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There is very little that this super-versatile actress can’t do.
Image source: SpotboyE archive Instagram/arunairanikohli/faridajalalofficial
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