Birthday love: The versatility of Madhuri Dixit Nene

Tejusvini Varadachari



Madhuri Dixit Nene is a legend. She created and has maintained the ethereal aura of a ‘star’ long before social media made its appearance in the entertainment world. She started off with a less known film ‘Abodh’. The film was offered to her during her school holidays post Grade 12. Though she was noticed as a pretty face, the film did not do much for her.

The industry story goes that it was the ace director Subhash Ghai who advised her to take on bigger roles and to focus on her acting career completely. He offered her the movie ‘Ram Lakhan’. It was around the same time she did the movie ‘Tezaab’ and the rest is history, as the cliché goes.

It is interesting that in today’s times, the entertainment industry is changing its complexion with the introduction of the OTT platform, and there are a wide variety of roles being written for women. Madhuri had always managed to straddle the commercial needs of an actress with a wide repertoire of strong roles. She is also known as one of the industry’s best dancers.

Here’s a look at some of her movies; with an attempt to encapsulate her strengths, as a versatile actress as well as a dancer. Every movie that has a fantastic dance number also has a strong character for the actress; the complete commercial entertainer – Madhuri Dixit Nene!

Mohini – ‘Tezaab’
An action thriller, directed by N. Chandra, this was a landmark movie for all the actors in it and the breakthrough movie for Madhuri. Essaying the role of a young girl, living with an alcoholic father, having watched her mother suffer from domestic violence, ends up as a pawn between two gangster mobs. She acted opposite Anil Kapoor and the duo that went onto become an iconic on-screen couple, had some great songs. Madhuri’s hit song ‘Ek, Do, Teen’ gave her a huge impetus in the popularity rankings in the industry, and she was an instant hit among the movie going masses.

Saraswati – ‘Beta’
A saas-bahu movie no less, directed by Indra Kumar, this was another movie that featured Anil Kapoor and Madhuri together. Madhuri played the role of Saraswati who gets married to a seemingly ‘mentally unstable’ person and runs up against his scheming step mother. How she stands upto her mother-in-law and helps her husband come out of his subjugated state forms the crux of the movie. One of the most famous songs in this movie, ‘Dhak Dhak Karne Laga’ remains iconic. Madhuri won the Filmfare award for Best Actress for this movie.

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Shivani – ‘Anjaam’
This movie ‘Anjaam’, directed by Rahul Rawail, marked the first of many collaborations between Madhuri and Shah Rukh Khan. Madhuri played the role of a regular working girl, leading a normal life when she meets with Vijay who falls in love with her. Vijay when jilted in love, goes on to destroy her life bit by bit. Having lost everything in life, eventually, Shivani strikes back at him, and takes revenge on every person who supported him. One of the songs of this movie ‘Channe ke khet Mein’ was a huge hit.

Pooja – ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’
Once again, paired opposite Shah Rukh Khan, this movie was a dreamy, musical romance, directed by the master of love stories Yash Chopra. Here, Madhuri plays an idealistic, romantic, girl, and a passionate dancer, who is persuaded by Rahul to perform for a musical show. She becomes his muse and his love. A slow burn romance ensues between the two interspersed with songs like ‘Chak Dhoom Dhoom’, ‘Are re Are yeh kya hua’. Madhuri went on to receive a Filmfare award for this movie.

Anjali – ‘Pukaar’
This movie has Madhuri playing a slightly grey, almost negative role, a first for her. Anjali falls in love with her childhood friend played by Anil Kapoor, who gets engaged to another girl. Scorned in love, she manipulates situations that lead him to break up with his fiancee, and also interferes with his career. This leads to larger issues of national security and forms the crux of this action thriller. The movie had the landmark song ‘Kay Sera Sera’, where she matched steps with the legendary Prabhu Deva.

Chandramukhi – ‘Devdas’
Devdas, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is the third Hindi remake of the 1917 Bengali novel of the same name by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. Madhuri essayed the role of ‘Chandramukhi’, a courtesan who falls in love with Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan). An author backed role, this is easily one of her career’s best characters. Her story is one of silent, unrequited love, yet Chandramukhi is a strong support for Devdas. She won the Filmfare award for Best Supporting Actress. She has some beautiful songs to her credit here, namely ‘Kaahe Chede’ , ‘Dola Re’ (with Aishwarya Rai), ‘ Maar Dala’.
‘Kaahe Chede’ is unique in that the dance was choreographed by Pandit Birju Maharaj and Madhuri also has narrated a few lines in the song, alongwith Kavita Krishnamurthy.

She is an icon. Madhuri has inspired many youngsters to take up acting as a profession because she epitomised professionalism, dedication and passion through her entire career. Recently, she entered the OTT platform with ‘The Fame Game and ‘Majaa Maa’, both the roles far apart from each other.
Here’s wishing the star a year filled with happiness and success.