Jaya, Swara, and Lara: Three Natural, Versatile Actresses win Hearts of Cine-goers

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Smriti profiles three actresses, Jaya Bachchan, Swara Bhaskar, both born on April 9, and Lara Dutta, whose birthday is on April 16, in the second part of Bollywood Birthdays. All these three actresses have one thing in common, they are natural, versatile actresses, who have won the hearts of cine goers effortlessly. Read more about them, in the regular column, exclusively in Different Truths.

Jaya Bachchan, the Enigmatic and Charming Girl-next-door

On the 9th day of April, 1948, in Jabalpur, Taroon Kumar Bhaduri and Indira Bhaduri were blessed with a daughter, who was to become one of the legendary actresses of Bollywood. They named her “Jaya”.

“Bole re papihara, papihara…” the girl singing this song on screen, in the year 1971, was like a breath of fresh air to the audiences of Hindi cinema. The film was Guddi and the actress was Jaya Bhaduri, a product of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). Though Guddi was her Bollywood debut she was introduced to the world of films by none other than Satyajit Ray in his film, Mahanagar, in 1963.

Jaya had very simple petite looks which the audiences could connect easily, it was as if you were seeing someone just living around you unlike the cliché Hindi film heroines, who were impeccably beautiful giving an impression as if they belonged to some different strata of life. Jaya’s plain, simple looks, and natural acting created “the girl-next-door image” for her. She gained recognition and public acclaim by enacting characters which epitomised middle-class sensibility.

Working with directors like Gulzar, Basu Chatterjee, Hrishikesh Mukherjee in films such as Uphaar, Parichay, Piya ka Ghar, Koshish reinforced her naturalistic style of acting. Though she did try to break her girl-next-door image by doing a role in the film Jawani Diwani and even a negative character in Anamika but largely was lauded for her roles in the simple middle cinemas.


In 1973, she agreed to star opposite in the film Zanzeer when no other actress agreed to work with him, though she had worked earlier also with him when he was struggling to make a mark for himself in the film industry. Zanzeer went on to become a big hit and also marked the beginning of Jaya and Amitabh’s friendship which later culminated into their marriage.

Like so many other celebrity marriages, Jaya and Amitabh’s marriage has also had its share of storms and lows. Amitabh’s alleged rumour with a top leading heroine fuelled many speculations and rumours. But both Jaya and Amitabh never spoke publicly about their differences and maintained a dignified silence about all the rumours surrounding their marriage. Both of them even acted in Yash Chopra’s movie Silsila, which was supposedly a reflection of their real life, but they themselves never indulge in any mudslinging or any public clarifications about wild rumours surrounding them.

Jaya took a sabbatical from her acting career to look after her and family and returned after 18 years with Govind Nihalini’s Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa. Since then she has been very active in her acting career and even acted in a Bangladeshi film, Meherjaan, starring with Victor Banerjee and Humayun Faridi.

Though this eight-time Filmfare Award winner and a Padmashri too was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2007, she is still active in films and politics too. Wishing ‘Guddi’ a Happy Blessed Life on her Birthday. We look forward to many more sensitive simple performances, which she makes so special by adding her own little nuances, from her.

Swara Bhaskar, an Emerging Actress to be Followed Closely

Born on 9th of April, 1985, Swara Bhaskar, just like her star sign, is a fiery, enthusiastic actress, widely acclaimed for her natural and spontaneous acting. She shares her birthday with Jaya Bachchan.

A beauty from Andhra Pradesh, Swara was born to a Telugu Indian Navy officer. She was raised and educated in Delhi and before shifting to Mumbai worked with N.K. Sharma’s Act One Theatre Group. She is a postgraduate in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi.

Though her debut film Madholal Keep Walking was screened at 33rd Cairo International Film Festival, it failed to leave an impact on Indian audiences.

Swara tasted commercial success for her supporting role of a bride to be in the romantic comedy, Tanu Weds Manu, which also won her the Zee Cine Awards. More recognition and critical acclaim came to her for her roles in Ranjhana and Nil Battey Sannata for which she won awards too. She has two nominations to her credit for Filmfare Awards. Swara is the emerging actress to be followed closely.

Her latest release, of Aara, has got her appreciation from all though it is not very successful commercially. Besides acting in films, Swara is also keeping herself occupied by doing web series.

This adventurous, outgoing, active actress has just begun. A lot of her potential is yet to be tapped and unveiled. We wish her Happy Birthday.

Lara Dutta, a Multifaceted, Talented Celebrity

In the year 2000, an eighteen-year-old Indian girl created history by scoring highest score at the Miss Universe pageant. Most of the judges gave her the highest score of 9.99 for her reply to what she thought of the protests against Miss Universe pageant. The very confident and firm girl replied, “I think pageants like the Miss Universe pageant give us young women a to foray in the fields that we want to and forge ahead, be it entrepreneurship, be it the armed forces or be it politics. It gives us a to voice out choices and opinions and makes us strong and independent.” This confident and intelligent girl was crowned the Miss Universe 2000, the only second Indian to win this title. Prior to winning the crown of Miss Universe, she had also won the Miss Intercontinental title, in 1997.

Yes, you guessed it right, we are talking of Lara Dutta, a multifaceted, talented celebrity, who turns 39, on April 16, this year.

Lara was born in the small town of Ghaziabad and comes from a defense background. Her father was a Wing Commander and her elder sister is in the Air Force and she is half Scottish from her maternal side. , She has been extremely talented since her childhood and has grown up nurturing hobbies like hiking, biking, white water rafting and bungee jumping. But it’s really funny and unbelievable that a sportsperson like her did not know how to swim and almost drowned herself in her debut film. She is a trained classical dancer and has a passion for reading.

She made her Bollywood debut with the film Andaaz and won the Filmfare Best Debut Award, and also Screen Award for the most newcomer for the same. She went on to work in many hit films, Masti, Kaal, No Entry, Partner are a few of them. She also won critical acclaim for her work in movies like Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Challo Dilli. She would have been acclaimed in had she accepted roles in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, which she refused because she did not like the script.

Lara’s personal life just like her professional was quite interesting. She was in a long and serious with Kelly Dorjee, but as destiny had its own plans, they had a breakup and Lara met Mahesh Bhupathi, an ace Tennis player, whom she eventually married. In between her breakup with Dorjee and marriage to Bhupathi, there were speculations about her affair with Dino Morea, which only remained speculations. Her rivalry with Priyanka Chopra, who won the Miss World title same year, and, debuted with her in Andaaz was a hot topic of discussion in Bollywood. Though both the actresses just dismissed these rumours.

At present, Lara is happily married to Mahesh Bhupathi and has an adorable daughter. She has opened a production house under the name of Bheegi Basanti Productions. She still continues to charm us with her versatile acting skills and her associations with many social causes.

©Smriti Maheshwari

Photos from the internet.

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Smriti Maheshwari loves cooking, reading, mostly fiction and thrillers. She enjoys mythological stories too. She also loves meeting people and making friends, socialising, and is a big movie buff. A homemaker and a dreamer, she stays in Allahabad with her husband.