Uptill now you have read the first and second parts of popular Indian actresses series on abhisays. Now the time has come to present you the list of top heroines during the period of 1970 to 1980. This period saw the decline of romantic and musical movies and birth of violent films about smugglers, gangsters and bandits. Amitabh Bachchan, the star known for his “angry young man” roles, rode the crest of the trend with violent movies like Zanzeer, Deewar, Sholay etc. During early seventies the bollywood got its first super star, Rajesh Khanna. After 2-3 years he was replaced by Amitabh Bachchan and the angry young man from Allahabad became the hot favorite for the top banners in bollywood. His pair with Jaya/Rekha/Zeenat Aman/Parveen Babi produced some of the biggest super hits of this period. The pair of Dharmendra and Hema Malini also became popular with movies like Sholay, Sita or Gita etc.
It was the decade of film writers like Salim-Javed, directors like Ramesh Sippy, Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra, Yash Chopra. A new form of Cinema called art movies started with Shyam Benegal’s Ankur which was released in 1973. Soon, Smita Patil and Sabana Azmi became the biggest actresses of Art Movies. Kishore Kumar became the voice of super stars like Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bacchan. Rahul Dev Burman crawled out from under his father’s shadow after musical blockbuster Aradhana. Some of the top heroines of this decade were Rekha, Jaya Bachchan, Hema Malini, Raakhee, Reena Roy, Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Neetu Singh, Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman.
Rekha :: Rekha is one of the most popular film actresses of this decade. Her movies became not only commercially hits but also got praise from film critics. She is mostly known for female-oriented characters. Her first superhit hindi film was Sawan Bhadon. Huge success of Sawan Bhadon mader her star overnight. During early days, she was having image of glamour girl in film industry due to her films like Kahani Kismat Ki, Raampur Ka Lakshman and Pran Jaaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye. In these movies she didn’t get the chance to prove her acting abilities. In 1976, she got the role opposite to Amitabh Bacchan in Do Anjaane. when she played an ambitious woman. In this movie she proved her natural acting talent for the first time. In 1978, she played the role of a rape victim woman in the movie Ghar, opposite to Vinod Mehra. She got critical acclaim for her performance and received nomination for Best Actress at the Filmfare. Next movie Muqaddar Ka Sikandar where she co-starred with Amitabh Bachchan became he biggest hit of the year and she became of the top heroines of Hindi Cinema.
Her pair with Amitabh became one of the successful on-screen pairs of Hindi Cinema. She fell in love with him. Her relationship with Amitabh was sharply criticised in media and this relationship was ended after Yash Chopra’s Silsila. Actually this movie was true story of her real-life relationship with Big B. During early eighties she got the life time role in Umrao Jaan where she lived the role of Amiran, a poor girl who was kidnapped and sold in a brothel. Her portrayal of a sensitive courtesan was considered one of her career best performances for which she won the National Film Award for Best Actress. Her other successful movies were Shyam Benegal’s award-winning drama, Kalyug; Ramesh Talwar’s Baseraa, Ek Hi Bhool, Jeevan Dhaara, Utsav and Ijaazat. Later, she won Filmfare award for her roles in Khubsoorat and Khoon Bhari Maang. Unlike, her careers in films she has had unsuccessful relationships Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Mehra. In1990 she married Delhi-based businessman Mukesh Aggarwal who after one year committed suicide.
The Indian Cinema will always remember Rakha for her multi-dimensional roles like brattish schoolgirl of Khubsoorat, the sultry siren of Muqaddar ka Sikandar, the school-maarmish housewife of Ijaazat and classical courtesan in Umrao Jaan. There is no match to her dialogue delivery in Hindi and Urdu, languages which are not her mother tongue. She has carved an indelible name for herself in the annals of Indian cinema. She still looks young due to yoga, a nutritious diet, and a regular, disciplined life.
Jaya Bachchan :: She is better known as the wife of Amitabh Bachchan and mother of Abhishek Bachchan. Surprisingly, when she married Amitabh, she was more successful than him in hindi films. Her firs big hit was Guddi in which she played the role of schoolgirl who is fan of Dharmendra. She was one of the most talented actresses of this decade. Her other good movies were Koshish, Anamika and Bawarchi. She acted with her husband Amitabh Bachchan in the superhit films like Zanjeer, Abhimaan, Chupke Chupke and Sholay. Her last film as a lead actress was Silsila opposite to her husband. In 1998, she again entered the film industry with challenging role of a mother in Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa. At present she is member of parliament from Samajwadi Party.
Hema Malini :: She was rejected when she tried to enter films in 1964. Tamil director Sridhar said she had no star appeal. But she was determined to prove her talent in Hindi films. In 1970, she got the biggest break with Dev Anand’s Johnny Mera Naam. After the big success of this film, she became star. With her double-roled with Dharmendra and Sanjeev Kumar in 1972’s Seeta Aur Geeta, she became of the top actresses of the decade. Her fans started calling her with the title “The Dream Girl”. She is best remembered for her glamour, style, and accomplished classical dancing. She formed a hit pair with Dharmendra, and the duo performed a number of hit movies like Sholay, Charas, Aas Paas, Jugnu, Seeta Aur Geeta, The Burning Train. She also achieved some strong dramatic or comic moments in films like Trishul, Joshila, Lal Patthar, Meera and Satte Pe Satta. Then she got married to Dharmendra and left the film industry. Recently she co-starred with Amitabh Bachchan in the B R Chopra’s superhit film Baghban. At present, she is member of parliament from BJP.
Raakhee :: She became star with Sharmilee where she played a double role opposite Shashi Kapoor. Her other famous films were Kabhie Kabhie, Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Trishul, Kaala Patthar, Lawaaris, Jurmana and Bemisal, Daag, Tapasya. Towards the mid 1980s and 1990s she played the role of mother in films such as Ram Lakhan, Baazigar, Khalnayak, Karan Arjun, Border, Soldier and Baadshah. She is wife of famous film director, poet and lyricist Gulzar. She has now separated from Gulzar but never divorced him. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2003. She has a daughter called Meghna Gulzar who had directed two films named Filhaal starring Sushmita Sen, Tabu, Sanjay Suri and Palaash Sen and Just Married starring Fardeen Khan and Esha Deol.
Neetu Singh :: She is mainly famous for her half a dozen movies with Rishi Kapoor (her real life husband). On film and off Neetu and Rishi romanced each other. This romance led to their marriage. When she got married to Rishi, she was at the top of her career. Her hit films were Khel Khel Mein, Rafoo Chakkar, Deewaar, Aadalat, Kabhie Kabhie, Parvarish, Amar Akbar Anthony, Dharam Veer, Kasme Vaade, The Great Gambler, Kaala Patthar, The Burning Train and Yaarana.
I also want to discuss the film careers of Reena Roy, Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Parveen Babi and Zeenat Aman.I have decided to include them in next series i.e 1980-1990. However, they started their career the decade of 1970-1980 but their major big films came after 1980.