Free Press Journal

Veteran Bollywood actresses now ruling the small screen

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Bollywood welcomes young talent with open arms but shuts the door on older artists who were once successful stars, and in the topsy-turvy world of Bollywood, these yesteryear stars sometimes get lost forever. Yesteryear beauties that had triumphed on silver screen with pivotal roles are gradually meandering towards television. From mainstream Bollywood to art films, these veterans are wholeheartedly giving a nod to serials. Let’s take a quick glance and find out who these ladies are who have made their presence felt on the on small screen.

Tanvi Azmi


Born as Saunhita Kher, daughter of Marathi-Hindi actress Usha Kiran, Tanvi is a well-known name in Bollywood and in the television industry. She had played pivotal roles in successful TV series of 90s like ‘Jeevanrekha’ and ‘Rao Saheb’. She even tried her hands in Malayali cinema and acted in movie called ‘Vidheyan’. Tanvi bagged a National award for best-supporting actress for her stellar performance in ‘Bajirao Mastani’. Azmi will soon make a comeback on small screen with her upcoming serial ‘Vani Rani’, where she will be seen playing a double role as twin sisters. Tanvi was recently seen in ‘Guest Iin London’ along with Paresh Rawal. Darr, Akele Hum Akele Tum, Delhi 6, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani are some of the big films where she made her presence felt.

Tanuja

Veteran Bollywood beauty, Tanuja made her debut as a child actor with her older sister Nutan in ‘Hamari Beti’. But it was ‘Hamari Yaad Aayegi’ which made Tanuja a household name and turned her into a full-fledged actress. ‘Baharein Phir Aayengi’, ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’, ‘Jewel Thief’, ‘Anubhav’ are some milestones of her career which made her into a star. Often known as Kajol and Tanisha’s mother, Tanuja has also appeared in Marathi and Bengali movies. Once a leading lady of Bollywood, Tanuja is now a part of a prime-time epic drama, ‘Aarambh’. The fictional tale is set in ancient India during the decline of Indus valley civilisation; followed by war between Dravidians and Aryans. After sharing screen with son-in-law in ‘Son of Sardaar’, Tanuja won accolades for her performance in Konkana’s directorial debut, ‘Death in Gunj’.

Shabana Azmi

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The versatile actress has outnumbered all other female actresses of her era in terms of content and acting skills. Shabana made her acting debut with Shyam Benegal’s directorial art movie ‘Ankur’. The movie was a hit and Shabana won her first National Award for the best actress for the movie. She has won three consecutive National Awards (1983 to 1985) for her pivotal roles in the movies like Arth, Khandhar and Par. In 2013, Shabana made her television debut in Anil Kapoor-starrer suspense thriller drama 24, as Abhilasha Grewal an officer who heads Anti-Terrorist Unit. After 24, Shabana again entered TV spectrum in 2016, with crime drama ‘Amma’. The serial was based on the life of a female underworld don, Jenabai Daruwali. Initially, the lead role was played by Urwashi Sharma, but eventually, Shabana took over as Urwashi was not looking old enough for the part post leap.

Ritu Shivpuri

The model-turned-actress was once a sensual beauty of 90s. Ritu Shivpuri, daughter of veteran actors Om and Sudha Shivpuri, marked her debut in 1993 movie, ‘Aankhen’, which was one of the top grosser of the year. Ritu had acted in movies like ‘Lajja’, ‘Aar Ya Paar’, ‘Shakti’, ‘Elan’ etc. After few years, she somehow failed to garner good roles and good movies and her career came to a standstill. But all is well when end is well, Ritu Shivpuri has now got a chance to reframe her acting career through small screen. She is now playing an antagonist in popular daily soap, ‘Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon 3’. Previously, Ritu was seen in another renowned prime time suspense thriller 24 season 2, in which she played Dr Sunny Mehta.

Anita Raj

Anita Raj, daughter of late actor Jagdish Raj, made her Bollywood debut with the movie ‘Prem Geet’ opposite Raj Babbar. Soon, Anita’s charming beauty and acting skills became the talk of the town. She shared screen with almost every B-town biggies like Rajesh Khanna, Jeetendra, Vinod Khanna, Mithun, Govinda. Naukar Biwi Ka, Zameen Aasman, Ghulami were some of her hit movies. After giving back to back hits, Anita’s career went through many ups and downs and eventually she vanished from the big screen. However, Anita played the new inning of her acting career through small screen. She made TV debut on Doordarshan with the serial Maya, later in 2000, she again did a daily show Eena Meena Deeka. ‘Tumhari Paakhi’, ‘Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Raani’, 24 are some of the other serials where Anita was seen playing pivotal roles.

Sarika

Sarika Thakur kick-started her career as a child artist at the age of four, playing boys in movies in 1960s. ‘Geet Gaata Chal’, where she was paired with Sachin Pilgaonkar, gave her the recognition as an actress. After tying the knot with Kamal Haasan, Saika gave up her acting career. She made a comeback when she parted ways with the actor. Her performance in ‘Parzania’, where she played a character of Zoroastrian woman, was a critical hit and she was honoured by National Award. She made her television debut with legendary Amitabh Bachchan in Yudh. She was also seen playing a key role in Bipasha’s horror show, ‘Darr Sabko Lagta hai’. Sarika was recently seen in Sidharth-Katrina starrer movie ‘Baar Baar Dekho’.

Zarina Wahab

Another critically-acclaimed actress who was a successful face of the 70s, Zarina Wahab is best known for her performance in movies like ‘Chithor’, ‘Gopal Krishna’, ‘Gharonda’. Apart from Bollywood, she has also acted in several Malayali movies. Zarina has worked in daily soap called ‘Yahan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli’ and she made a comeback on television with the serial ‘Meri Awaz Hi Pehchaan Hai’. Zarina played a key role as onscreen sister to Deepti Naval, the show portrayed the journey of sisters, who are singers and later turn into bitter rivals.