‘How far we’ve come!’ was the thought in our heads after we saw the action-packed trailer of Akira. There was a time when actresses, in Hindi films, were just required to dress well, look pretty and cry at the director’s cue. But that’s not nearly enough for Bollywood actresses of this generation! As the films and roles available for actresses have evolved, so have the actresses approached for these films. From taking up horse-riding to learning combat sports and martial arts, these days, actresses go the whole hog in preparing for a role. We’re sure the body doubles and stunt women are not celebrating, but it is a welcome change for movie-goers, from the macho action heroes who ruled the screens in the 90s.
So, move over, Salman; watch out, Akki- here are the ‘action heroines’ of Bollywood!
Sonakshi Sinha: Hand-to-hand combat (Akira)
Sonakshi Sinha had to undergo rigorous training for her role as a woman seeking revenge against a corrupt cop (Anurag Kashyap), in Akira. And her efforts seem to have paid off. She has the moves of Zoe Saldana from Colombiana and the intensity of Urmila Matondkar from Ek Hasina Thi! Who would have guessed that Sonakshi would be such a natural at kicking ass!
Deepika Padukone: Archery (Bajirao Mastani)
While a ten-day course in archery is no big deal for a trained athlete, Deepika made the effort to do it for her role as Mastani. She refused the option of having the scenes shot with a professional archer and her face being super-imposed on her in post-production. Way to go, D!
Priyanka Chopra: Boxing (Mary Kom)
Playing a boxer convincingly is not an easy task, but it did not daunt Priyanka Chopra. The spunky actress went through a grueling fitness regime for this role, which included running miles, strength training, push-ups in freezing weather and of course, boxing. Anyone who has seen the film will vouch that it was all worth it. Priyanka’s performance was awe-inspiring. What can we say- the lady defines commitment.
Madhuri Dixit Nene: Shaolin kung-fu (Gulaab Gang)
Madhuri had a Shaolin master train her in hand-to-hand combat, with and without weapons, for her role in Gulaab Gang. The extremely talented dancer picked up martial arts with great ease. Director Soumik Sen‘s explanation for how masterfully Madhuri executed the moves is that as a dancer, she is already adept at timing and grace. If only it was all as effortless as Madhuri makes it look!
Nargis Fakhri: Combat (Spy)
Nargis donned the action avatar for the Hollywood film, Spy. Her character has some exciting fight scenes with Melissa McCarthy for which she had to undergo training. Clearly, she’s a quick learner for she is quite the femme fatale in the film. Her performance was noticed by none other than Karan Johar who tweeted about it. Now we know who is definitely going places!
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Sword-fighting (Jodhaa Akbar)
Aishwarya’s sword fighting scenes in Jodhaa Akbar must have required some serious training because she looks like a professional as she takes on Hrithik Roshan. While she was a fury with the sword in this movie, she got a chance to show off her sword-fighting skills in the English film, The Last Legion, as well. Her wrist work as she takes on a mob single-handedly was impressive, to say the least.
Feeling inspired by these ‘action heroines’ to take up a sport yourself? Well, don’t keep it to yourself- share this inspiration with others!