Playing a prostitute on-screen is no mean task for our Bollywood beauties. It requires courage and breaking away from the conventional good girl image for the actresses.Here’s a list of some of the Bollywood beauties who have gone on to play a hooker on-screen with aplomb.
1) Kareena Kapoor Khan
Films – Chameli, Talaash
Bebo played a hooker to great effect in Chameli and more recently in Talaash.
2) Vidya Balan
Films – Begum Jaan
Vidya Balan played a prostitute along with other actresses in Srijit Mukherji’s Begum Jaan. Vidya played the head of a brothel which has been ordered to be demolished by the authorities as it lay on the India-Pakistan border during the partition days in 1947. Her performance was critically acclaimed.
3) Rani Mukerji
Films – Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Saawariya
Rani Mukerji played the role of a prostitute on a couple of occasions. First in Pradeep Sarkar‘s flick, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag had Rani playing a small town girl who comes to Mumbai and turns to prostitution to help her family and sister’s education. In Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s ‘Saawariya‘ Rani though had a small role, she again played a hooker who helps out Ranbir Kapoor to win his beloved. Rani played both roles with aplomb.
4) Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Films – Umrao Jaan
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan gave an honest and sincere performance in the 2006 remake of the 1981 Rekha starrer. Ash looked extremely gorgeous as the tawaif.
5) Preity Zinta
Films – Chori Chori Chupke Chupke
This was the first time Preity Zinta played a prostitute on screen. Abbas–Mustan‘s Chori Chori Chupke Chupke revolved around a newly married couple played by Salman Khan and Rani Mukerji who avail of the services of Preity Zinta to play a surrogate mother as the former is unable to bear one. Preity played her role to perfection and walked away with all the accolades in the film.
Films – Chandni Bar
Tabu played a character who is forced into prostitution to bring up her family after her husband’s death. For her splendid performance, Tabu bagged that year’s National award in the best actress category.
7) Madhuri Dixit Nene
Films – Devdas
Madhuri Dixit essayed the role of the lovelorn Chandramukhi and imparted the movie her own poignant touch. As a tawaif, she has no claims on romantic love from her customers – but she cannot help but fall in love with the drunken Devdas. Needless to say, Madhuri Dixit won a number of awards for her role in the movie.
8) Manisha Koirala
Market had Manisha Koirala playing a hooker at a Hyderabad brothel where she is sold by someone. She gathers some courage to pay back her wrong doers in the same coin. The film has a powerful performance by Manisha.
9) Sushmita Sen
Films – Chingari
Sushmita Sen for the first time played a hooker in Kalpana Lajmi’s Chingaari. She played a young woman who enters the age-old business of prostitution in a small-town brothel where she brings up her daughter and makes a living out of it.
10) Neha Dhupia
Films – Julie, De Dhana Dhan
Neha Dhupia essayed the character of Julie and Anu, respectively in both the films. Though she had a small role in De Dhana Dhan but Julie was way bolder than any other roles where she played a small time Goan girl who is ditched by her boy-friend only to end up as a high-profile hooker.
11) Konkona Sen Sharma
Films – Traffic Signal
The supremely talented Kokona played the role of Noorie who makes a living by selling herself in this Madhur Bhandarkar film.
12) Kalki Koechlin
Films – Dev D
Kalki Koechlin essayed the character of Chandramukhi in the modern version of Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Devdas’, who turns to prostitution after she gets involved in an MMS scandal which goes viral.
13) Zeenat Aman
Films – Manoranjan
A remake of ‘Irma La Douce’, this Shammi Kapoor directorial debut had Zeenat Aman playing Nisha, a high-class call girl who falls in love with a havaldar played by Sanjeev Kumar. It was a fun film though the topic was considered quite bold at that point in time.
14) Sharmila Tagore
Films – Amar Prem, Mausam
Who can forget the iconic dialogue – ‘Pushpa, I hate tears’, by Rajesh Khanna which has become immortal, which talks about his concern for the character of Pushpa which was played by Sharmila Tagore in Shakti Samanta’s ‘Amar Prem’. Gulzar’s ‘Mausam’ saw Sharmila repeating her act in a double role that of a mother and a daughter who turns to prostitution, which is considered as one of her best performances to date.
15) Waheeda Rehman
Films – Pyaasa
This one is considered as one of the best performances of Waheeda Rehman. Waheeda essayed the role of ‘Gulabo’ and garnered more applause for playing a prostitute compared to the heroine Mala Sinha.
Films – Umrao Jaan, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Aastha
Rekha brought a different flavour to her tawaif/hooker roles be it with Umrao Jaan, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar or the more recent Aastha.
17) Meenakshi Shesahdri
Films – Allarakha, Satyamev Jayate
Meenakshi Sheshadri played a sex worker with a heart of gold in Allarakha and Satyamev Jayate.
Films – Mitti Aur Sona
Sonam gained respectability as an actress in the industry with Mitti Aur Sona where she essayed the role of a young sex worker.
19) Namrata Shirodkar
Films – Vaastav
Namrata played the character of Sonia who is brought up in a brothel and takes up a liking for Raghunath, a gangster played by Sanjay Dutt in the film. Though Sanjay Dutt bagged that year’s Filmfare trophy for Best Actor, Namrata too got appreciated for her role of a ‘dhandhewali’ in the film.
20) Bipasha Basu
Films – No Entry
Bipasha Basu plays a hooker by the name of Bobby in No Entry and her entry into the life of Anil Kapoor and Fardeen Khan on the behest of Salman Khan leads to all the confusion and humour in this Anees Bazmee directed comedy.
21) Huma Qureshi
Films – Badlapur
Huma played the role of a sex worker called Jhimli in this Srinath Raghavan revenge saga. Huma delivered an effective performance.
22) Priya Rajvansh
Films – Hanste Zakhm
Rajvansh played the character of Chanda who is the lost daughter of Balraj Sahni and is forced to sell her body. She falls in love with Navin Nischol but the society and his family oppose it. The film is remembered for Priya’s histrionic performance.
23) Meena Kumari
Films – Pakeezah
Meena Kumari’s role in and relationship with Pakeezah is nothing short of a movie in itself. The shooting that started in 1964 stopped a few months later after almost half the movie was done – when Kumari and her husband-director Kamal Amrohi separated. When Meena took up the project again, she was very ill – and the movie gained its box-office success after she died two months after its release.