BIRTHDAY SPECIAL CELEBRATING THE CAREER OF A GIFTED ACTRESS
by ASJAD NAZIR
THIS week Juhi Chawla turns a year older and celebrates her 53rd birthday on November 13.
The beauty queen turned Bollywood star has had a remarkable career filled with memorable performances and is regarded as one of the most gifted actresses of the modern era. She is also a talented singer, humanitarian and astute businesswoman.
To celebrate Juhi’s turning a year older, Eastern Eye decided to present 20 fun facts about her superb cinema journey.
■ The beauty queen turned actress made her acting debut with big budget film Sultanat (1986), which failed at the box office, but in the same year, she starred in successful TV drama serial Bahadur Shah Zafar, which is available as a box set to buy even today.
■ Her first film success was actually regional language romantic musical Premaloka (1987), which was shot in Kannada and Tamil. The story was inspired by Hollywood film Grease 2 (1982).
■ Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) turned the actress into a big star and is credited with reintroducing romance back into Bollywood, after two decades dominated by action.
■ Juhi played the lead role in star making films for then newcomers Aamir Khan (Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak) and Shah Rukh Khan (Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Darr).
■ Her film Pratibandh (1990) marked the Bollywood debut of Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi. The film was a remake of Telugu blockbuster Ankusam (1989).
■ The hardworking actress was so in demand during the early part of her career that she had 29 film releases from 1990 to 1993.
■ Juhi’s popular film Aaina (1993) was remade in Telugu as Aayanaki Iddaru (1995), in Tamil as Kalyana Vaibhogam (1997), and in Kannada as Yare Nee Abhimani (2000).
■ The actress only landed the lead role in 1993 blockbuster Darr after Sridevi and Raveena Tandon had turned it down.
■ Juhi’s personal favourite on-screen performances of her own include her characters in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Aaina and Darr.
■ The actress was massively in-demand during the 1990s, and thus subsequently, led to her turning down some prime projects, which included two of the decade’s biggest blockbusters, Raja Hindustani (1996) and Dil To Pagal Hai (1997). Karisma Kapoor stepped into the roles Juhi rejected and became a big success.
■ Movies Juhi has starred in that have been inspired by Hollywood include Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (Houseboat), Eena Meena Deeka (Three Fugitives), Ram Jaane (Angels With Dirty Faces), Daraar (Sleeping With The Enemy), Yes Boss (For Love or Money), Deewana Mastana (What About Bob), Duplicate (The Whole Town’s Talking) and One 2 Ka 4 (One Good Cop).
■ Juhi played the lead role opposite Anil Kapoor in legendary director Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s final film Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate (1998).
■ Her film Saat Rang Ke Sapne (1998) marked the Bollywood debut of Tamil superstar Arvind Swamy. It was a remake of director Priyadarshan’s own 1994 Malayalam film Thenmavin Kombath.
■ Juhi worked free of charge on patriotic Punjabi film Shaheed Udham Singh, released in 1999.
■ She starred opposite Gurdas Maan in De Hoyaa Pardes (2004) and Waris Shah: Ishq Daa Waaris (2006). Both films won a National Award for the Best Feature in Punjabi.
■ Her powerful drama My Brother… Nikhil (2005) was one of the first Indian films to raise awareness about AIDS and HIV. She delivers an award-winning performance of a devoted sister to a sportsman diagnosed with HIV, who accepts his same-gender partner and stands by his side.
■ Juhi is a classically trained singer and made her singing debut in the film Bhoothnath (2008), with the song Chalo Jaane Do. The film is an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s 1887 short story The Canterville Ghost.
■ The director who challenged the actress most was Soumik Sen, who got her to play the negative role in Gulaab Gang (2014), but Juhi immensely enjoyed the experience.
■ The actress made her Hollywood debut with a cameo role in the Steven Spielberg-produced Hollywood film The Hundred Foot Journey (2014), which starred Helen Mirren and Om Puri in the lead roles.
■ Apart from Hindi films, Juhi has also worked in Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Punjabi, Gujarati and English language cinema.