Warrior princess, queens, courtesans have often been the subject of films and it is this concept of 'bold and beautiful' that has shaped up many strong female characters in
contemporary times. These historic characters played by actors are often inspired by real life stories wherein these women have showcased power, passion and love that has made them legends.
Bollywood too has used many of these stories as a premise that has given rise to some classics and beautiful love stories. With Deepika Padukone all set to play Mastani in Bajirao Mastani,
let's take a look at some renowned actresses who have played such strong roles in the past:
Madhubala (Mughal-E-Azam): Evergreen actress Madhubala as Anarkali in Mughal-E-Azam has created history. While her 'Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kiya' still echoes in the minds
of lovers for its sheer poetic yet realistic lyrics, her role as a courtesan who falls desperately in love with a Mughal prince only to be tortured by her own kingdom for failing to abide by the
rules is a tragic story that makes you heart wrench. And obviously to see the perfectly sculpted face of Madhubala change from a soft romantic smile to a smirk that challenges the decision of a
Mughal court is a pleasure!
Vyjayantimala (Amrapali): Similarly, a musician-dancer played by Vyjayantimala in Amrapali is equally powerful. While she becomes a nurturer to a stranger whom she considers an
injured soldier of her state Vaishali, her love and care is replaced by angst and anger when she discovers his true identity which makes her a traitor against her state - the shift is definitely
what makes a Princely Courtesan like Amrapali one of the prime characters of the story. Definitely it's a thumbs up for a veteran like Vyjayantimala who not only plays the role convincingly but
looks equally elegant and graceful on screen.
Hema Malini (Razia Sultan): Amidst all the commercial masala potboilers, Hema Malini decided to showcase the character of the strong and dedicated queen of Sultan, Razia in this 80s
film. The role of Razia comes with a huge responsibility considering that she was one of the first warrior queens who inherited the throne of her father which had led to some serious repercussions
of anger and violence in the state over a woman turning ruler. Well, it was Hema Malini and with her hubby Dharmendra too being a part of the cast, the actress pulled off this role of a leader with
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Jodhaa Akbar): This film showcases the never before explored epic love story of the Mughal Emperor Akbar and the Hindu princess Jodhaa who were brought
together by the bond of marriage as they discover trust, friendship and love in this journey. Considering that a lot of aspects about Jodhaa had lost its essence in history, the film brought back
the character in a rather strong and unconventional form. Despite her homely, calm and kind nature, Jodhaa played by Aishwarya was a warrior too and Aish's performance as a sword fighter who gives
a tough competition to Akbar aka Hrithik Roshan in the film is still fresh in our minds.
Kareena Kapoor Khan (Asoka): At the start of her career, Kareena Kapoor Khan took the risk of playing the role of a warrior princess Kaurawki who had a heavy influence in the life of
Emperor Asoka. In the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Asoka, Kaurawki fights valiantly in the Magada-Kalinga war to protect her kingdom. Though the film did not taste commercial success, it has been
one of Kareena's strongest characters considering the sword fighting and other lessons she had to undergo during the making of the film.
Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra (Bajirao Mastani): Whilst all these films mentioned above have one strong female protagonist, we get to see a shift in the upcoming Sanjay Leela
Bhansali directorial Bajirao Mastani. Two leading ladies of this generation, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra will be coming together to play the role of Mastani and Kashibai
respectively in the film. While Mastani will have a physically challenging role considering that her love for Bajirao that faced with a lot of criticism and backlash made her a fighter, Priyanka's
role as Kashibai will be that of a supporting wife who is ready to go to any lengths to protect her husband.
While these are only a handful characters, many other actresses have done some prominent roles in historic genre of Indian cinema. In fact, even the award winning actress Kangna Ranaut is so
intrigued by historic stories that she is gearing up for a film in this genre directed by Ketan Mehta titled Rani Laxmibai.