So, instead of posting pictures and commentary from my trip (which I was really looking forward to doing), today I will be doing a long-overdue post on the final results of my first ever poll. The really cool thing is that exactly 100 votes had come in just when I decided it was time to close the poll. Again, many thanks to all of you for voting!
To recap, the question was which of 10 listed female actors had shared the best onscreen chemistry with the Shahenshah of Bollywood (by the way, very belated but sincere 65th birthday wishes from myself to the screen icon). And this is how you voted:
REKHA: The beautiful star of the original ‘Umrao Jaan’ is our winner – Rekha captured a whopping 53 votes. She acted opposite the big B in movies like ‘Silsila’, ‘Mr. Natwarlal’, and ‘Muqaddar ka Sikandar’. I’ve noted before that I don’t really get why the Bachchan/Rekha jodi is so popular, and unfortunately I am no closer to getting it now – perhaps it has something to do with the rumours that swirled around the two actors? I guess watching them together onscreen would be much more interesting if you were also looking for evidence of their real-life relationship at the same time…
JAYA BHADURI: Excuse this diversion, but I just have to say that I love Jaya Bhaduri –she is one of my favourite actors – Indian or otherwise. For some reasons, her performances make such a huge impact on me – I just find her mannerisms, her expressions, her enunciation, just spellbinding and powerful in their simplicity and skill. Recently, at an airport, I was browsing over-priced Hindi movie DVDs and thinking that I couldn’t afford any – and then I came upon one of her films, ‘Kora Kagaz’, and quickly made an exception because I love her so much. And when I heard that ‘Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’ was out at my local cinema, I dropped everything and rushed over to see it because of her – I didn’t like the character she portrayed, but she was true to the character and delivered a good performance. I think she is simply a wonderful actor. (Diversion over.)
I was really rooting for Jaya ji in this poll. I personally think that of all the actors I listed, she shares the best onscreen chemistry with her real-life husband. They are both very good actors, they both have this amazing presence – call it star-quality if you like – that makes them really compelling to watch, and they are both good-looking (in an unconventional, and therefore much more interesting way), but it’s more than that - they just have that ‘x-factor’, that ‘flow’, that makes for a great onscreen couple.
From oldies like ‘Mili, ‘Abhimaan’ (those two are my favourite Amitabh/Jaya movies), ‘Sholay’, ‘Chupke Chupke’ and ‘Zanjeer’ to the more recent ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’; I think these two really vibe well together onscreen – I love the fact that despite the contrast in height, their onscreen interactions never place Jaya at a disadvantage – she always rises to meet up and sometimes even towers over him and grabs your attention more – and I think they are just so… interesting together. They just relate really well onscreen, and you (the viewer) can really ‘feel’ their characters and relate to their story and the way they bounce off each other. So (just in case you missed it amidst all my gushing), I think they are great together onscreen.
Jaya got 24 votes, less than half of the number of votes Rekha received – I really wish she’d done better in this poll but hey, she’s in second place so she did pretty good.
HEMA MALINI: A while ago, I did an update on the poll – and since the time of that update, the gorgeous Hema ji has earned more votes than any of the other listed actors, bumping her up to a prestigious third place, with 20 votes (perilously close to Mrs. Bachchan!) Another diversion: how gorgeous is this woman? I saw her in ‘Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’ and just could not believe how youthful and beautiful she looks. One thing I like about Hema is that I somehow get the impression that she holds all this steely resolve, boldness and ambition within an apparently very demure and mild exterior – I feel she is easy to underestimate (not as an actor, but as a contender – in any forum) and that she relishes and takes advantage of the fact that her soft exterior simply veils a true go-getter. I like.
But back to the topic at hand – Hema has co-starred with the Big B in older films like ‘Do Aur Do Paanch’ and ‘Nastik’, and the couple was ‘re-launched’ in the more recent ‘Baghban’ – I thought they were absolutely adorable together as the yearning, inseparable spouses in that film. I also thought they were great as a cute, affectionate, constantly teasing couple in ‘Veer Zaara’, another recent pairing. As for ‘Baabul’… for me, it was such a bad film that I didn’t notice whether or not they were good together. But yeah, I think Amit ji and Hema ji are really cool together – he’s all humour, intensity and/or gravitas, she’s all warmth, spirit, grace and light; they respond really well to each other and look very handsome together – it usually works really well.
PARVEEN BABI: Hema’s fans knocked Parveen out of the top 3 at the last minute – but only by a hair’s breadth. She’s in fourth position, with 18 votes. Parveen provided many memorable moments alongside Amitabh Bachchan in films like ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, ‘Deewaar’ and ‘Shaan’. Whether it was comedy or tragedy, these two made a really strong couple and seemed to bring out the best in each other. And speaking of strength, I agree with Carla that there is something strong, vibrant and earthy about Parveen that works quite well with the towering persona that is the Big B.
Next up, in fifth position, it’s a tie between RANI MUKERJI and ZEENAT AMAN, each with 8 votes each. It’s clear from the difference in the number of votes between Parveen and these two; that Rekha, Jaya, Hema and Parveen are the female actors you’ve loved the most opposite Mr. Bachchan. But neither Rani, who did a great job opposite Amit ji in ‘Black’, nor Zeenat, who gave us a fab turn opposite the Big B in ‘Don’, and also co-starred with him in ‘Laawaris’, ‘Pukar’ and a number of other films, have done badly in this poll.
RAKHEE: Rakhee Gulzar has co-starred with Amit ji in movies like ‘Trishul’, ‘Kabhi Kabhie’, ‘Kasme Vaade’ and the more recent ‘Ek Rishtaa’. While I am not the world’s biggest Rakhee fan, I think her performances opposite Mr. Bachchan have been quite memorable, and they make a nice couple. Following closely on the heels of the fabulous Rani and Zeenat, here she is in sixth position, with 7 votes.
And finally… we have a three-way tie for the seventh position – it’s BINDU,
And so those are the results of the Big B leading-lady poll – currently up is the SRK leading lady-poll, and the results are really interesting so far. I am thrilled to see that although Kajol is definitely (and not at all surprisingly) leading the pack, some of the other ladies that I love to see opposite SRK – Juhi Chawla and Rani Mukerji, for example; are making a strong showing as well. Please keep voting. Thank you!