Art & Entertainment

75 Bollywood Actresses Who Ruled The Silver Screen With Grace, Beauty And Talent

On the 75th anniversary of Independence, Outlook picks 75 actresses who made a mark on the screen since 1947.

75 Bollywood Actresses Who Ruled The Silver Screen With Grace, Beauty And Talent

Suraiya (1929–2004)

A very famous actress and singer who began as a child artiste. She became the top actress in Hindi cinema by giving films like Anmol Ghadi, Dastan, Dard, Sanam, Badi Behen, Jeet and Dillagi. Naushad had given her the first break.


Meena Kumari (1933–1972)

Known as ‘Tragedy Queen’. She worked in 90 films in a career spanning over three decades. Baiju Bawra established her in the big league, followed by her memorable movies such as Parineeta, Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam, Pakeezah, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai and Phool Aur Patthar.

Madhubala (1933–1969)

Often hailed as the most beautiful actress of Hindi cinema. She joined films at a young age and went on to earn fame with Howrah Bridge, Mahal, Mughal-e-Azam, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Kala Pani, Phagun and Half Ticket.


Waheeda Rehman (1938)

She started off with Telugu films. Her versatility in CID, Pyaasa, Sahib, Biwi and Ghulam, Chaudhvin Ka Chaand, Kagaz Ke Phool Guide and Teesri Kasam took her to the pinnacle of Hindi cinema.

Vidya Sinha (1947–2019)

She was the girl-next-door of parallel cinema who won hearts in films like Chhoti Si Baat, Ranjanigandha Pati, Patni Aur Woh, Karma, Inkaar, Mukti and Tumhare Liye.

Asha Parekh (1942)

She entered the film world as a child artist. Later, she worked opposite Shammi Kapoor in Dil Deke Dekho, and became an overnight star. Kati Patang, Aan Milo Sajna, Teesri Manzil, Love in Tokyo, Kaalia, Samadhi are important films of her career.


Nutan (1936–1991)

She did about 70 films in four decades. Nutan attained a special place by playing strong characters in films like Sujata, Bandini, Milan, Anari, Karma, Chhalia, Tere Ghar Ke Samne, Saraswati Chandra, Naam and Meri Jung.

Nargis (1929–1981)

She became a top actress with Raj Kapoor’s Awara, Barsaat, Jagte Raho, Shree 420, Andaz and Chori Chori. However, Mehboob Khan’s Mother India proved to be the biggest milestone in her career.

Rakhee (1947)

She started off with Bengali films and made her debut in Hindi cinema with Jeevan Mrityu. Sharmeelee, Heera Panna, Blackmail, Daag, Joshila Kabhi Kabhie, Trishul, Kasme Vaade and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar made her a top star in the 1970s.

Nadira (1932–2006)

A very popular actress, Nadira made her presence felt in Aan, Pakeezah, Shree 420 and Julie with her piercing eyes and histrionics.

Hema Malini (1948)

Known as 'Dream Girl', she turned to Hindi cinema with Sapne Ka Saudagar opposite Raj Kapoor. Sholay, Naseeb, Satte Pe Satta, Seeta Aur Geeta, Johny Mera Naam, Andaz, Kudrat and Mehbooba made her the most popular actress in the 1970s.


Sridevi (1963– 2018)

The first female superstar of Indian cinema! Mr India, Chaalbaaz, Nagina, Laadla, Judaai, Khuda Gawah Sadma, Chandni, Lamhe and Karma established her on top for many years.

Dimple Kapadia (1957)

She hit the jackpot with her very first film, Bobby. She took a break after her marriage but returned a decade later with films like Saagar, Krantiveer, Ram Lakhan, Rudaali and Lekin, striking a fine balance between commercial and meaningful cinema.

Vyjayanthimala (1936)

Among the most influential actresses of her time. Devdas, Sangam and Madhumati, Ganga Jamna, Naya Daur, Nagin, Sooraj and Jewel Thief made her a sensational dancing star of Hindi cinema.

Rekha (1954)


Winner of three Filmfare Awards and one National Award, she proved her versatility in Silsila, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Mr. Natwarlal and Suhaag. Umrao Jaan took her performance to another level.

Mumtaz (1947)

She acted opposite almost all top heroes and delivered big hits. Sachaa Jhootha, Hare Ram Hare Krishna, Roti, Aap Ki Kasam, Loafer, Khilona, Chor Machaye Shor, Naagin and Apna Desh are her most successful films.

Shabana Azmi (1950)

Five times National Film Award winner. Arth, Masoom, Paar, Ankur, Nishant, Junoon, Sparsh, Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai established her as an actress par excellence.


Smita Patil (1955–1986)

A former newsreader on television, she was extraordinary in her characters in films like Manthan, Bazaar, Arth, Mirch Masala, Ardh Satya, Aakrosh, Bhumika.

Deepti Naval (1952)

A natural actress. Ek Baar Phir, Katha, Saath Saath, Chashme Baddoor, Angoor, Kisi Se Na Kehna, Mirch Masala and Rang Birangi underlined her range.

Padmini Kolhapuri (1965)

Her simplicity on the screen was her hallmark. Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Prem Rog, Insaaf Ka Tarazu, Pyaar Jhukta Nahi were her popular movies.

Aruna Irani (1946)

She distinguished herself in character roles in films such as Bobby, Rocky, Love Story, Upkar and Qurbani. In her second innings, she played the role of mother with considerable success in the 1990s.

Neetu Singh (1958)

A popular actress of the 1970s. Khel Khel Mein, Kabhi Kabhie, Amar Akbar Anthony, Deewar, Yaadon Ki Baaraat endeared her to the audiences.

Nirupa Roy (1931–2004)

She made her presence felt in Do Bigha Zamin, Ram and Shyam, and Shaheed. Post-Deewar, she switched to playing mother’s roles in several blockbusters during the multi--starrer era.


Bindu (1941)

She arrived on the scene with Do Raaste and Ittefaq and consolidated her place further by playing negative characters. Zanjeer and Kati Patang proved to be milestones in her career.

Sharmila Tagore (1944)

She made her debut with Kashmir Ki Kali but Aradhana took her to the dizzy heights of popularity. Aa Gale Lag Jaa, Satyakam, Daag, Safar, Amar Prem, Chupke Chupke and Namkeen were notable films in her long career.

Leela Mishra (1908–1988)

Leela Mishra came into the cinema at a time when women used to shy away from appearing on screen. Her character of Mausi in Sholay shall remain unforgettable in the annals of Hindi cinema.

Nalini Jaywant (1926– 2010)

Samadhi and Sangram with Ashok Kumar got her initial recognition. Shikast, Nastik, Munimji, Kala Pani, and Naujawan were successful films in her career.

Nimmi (1933– 2020)

She tasted early success with Raj Kapoor’s Barsaat. The actress known for her beautiful smile went on to climb the ladder of success with films such as Udan Khatola, Deedar, Daag, Aan, Amar, Kundan and Basant Bahar.

Shashikala (1932–2021)

She made her mark in Sujata and Aarti. Anupama, Gumrah, Phool Aur Patthar and Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani followed, establishing her as a fine actress.

Saira Banu (1944)

Junglee took her to the top. Padosan, Purab Aur Paschim, Hera Pheri, Aayee Milan Ki Bela and Shagird were successful films in her long career.

Zeenat Aman (1951)

She stormed the industry with Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Yaadon Ki Baraat, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Dostana, Qurbani, Dharam Veer, Roti, Kapda Aur Makan and Warrant propelled her into the top league.


Rehana Sultana (1950)

Her role in Dastak remains unforgotten for which she got the National Award. Haar Jeet, Prem Parbat and Chetna were important films in her career.

Naaz (1944–1995)

She was quite successful as a child artiste in films like Boot Polish. Her performances in Do Phool, Lajwanti, Pyaar Ka Bandhan, Kaagaz Ke Phool were also appreciated.

Sulochana (1928)

Appreciated for simple and effortless acting, she did many a mother’s role in films such as Majboor, Rafoo Chakkar, Aaye Din Bahar Ke and Vishwanath.

Manorama (1926–2008)

Seeta and Geeta proved to be the turning point in her career. She added colour to her comic roles with her unique expressions in Khandaan, Bhabhi, Bombay to Goa, Ek Phool Do Mali and Half Ticket to carve a place for herself.


Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (1973)

She won the Miss World title before making her Bollywood debut. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Mohabbatein, Devdas, Guru, Raincoat and Jodha Akbar have been her famous movies.

Helen (1938)

She began as a group dancer in Awara, and went on to rule as a dancer extraordinaire in numerous films for decades. At one point, no film was considered to be complete with her dance.

Durga Khote (1905–1991)

The actress from pre-partition times who acted in about 200 films. She made a mark later with Mughal-e-Azam, Mirza Ghalib, Bidaai, Parivar, Abhimaan, Bobby, and Kiloana.

Surekha Sikri (1945–2021)

Even before the TV serial Balika Vadhu's Dadi Sa made her a household name, the talented actress did many films. She won three National Awards for her performances, including one for Badhaai Ho.


Zohra Sehgal (1912–2014)

Remembered for her amazing energy onscreen. The audiences remember her for her sprightly characters in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Veer Zara, Kal Ho Na Ho, and Cheeni Kam.

Kamini Kaushal (1927)

Lata Mangeshkar sang her first song for her onscreen. She started with Neecha Nagar. Arzoo, Shaheed, Shabnam, Ziddi, Biraj Bahu, Do Raaste, Shor, Upkar, Purab aur Paschim are her successful movies.

Reena Roy (1957)

She made her way to the hearts of the audience with her acting skills. Nagin, Asha, Arpan, Kalicharan, Naseeb, Zaroorat proved to be successful films in Roy's film career.


Neena Gupta (1959)

She graduated from the National School of Drama but she faced many ups and downs throughout her career. Saath Saath, Woh Chokri, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Khalnayak did not do what Badhaai Ho ultimately did to her career in the later part of her career.

Zarina Wahab (1956)

She played the quintessential middle-class girl-next-door to perfection with films such as Chitchor, Saawan Ko Aane Do, Gharaunda, and Sitara.

Rani Mukerji (1978)

One of the most successful actresses of her generation, she hit a purple patch with Ghulam and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Veer Zara, Hum Tum, Saathiya, Nayak and No One Killed Jessica are important films in her career.

Kangana Ranaut (1987)

Known for her powerful role in women-centric films, she excelled in Queen, Fashion, Tanu Weds Manu, Manikarnika, Pangaa and Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai are successful movies.


Jaya Bachchan (1948)

She has a long list of acclaimed films, including Guddi, Sholay, Mili, Chupke Chupke, Silsila, Abhimaan, Anamika, Zanjeer, and Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa to her credit

Leela Chitnis (1909–2003)

After playing pivotal roles in Kaala Bazar, Gangaa Jamna, Bandhan, Sadhna, Shaheed and Barkha, she won praise as Dev Anand's mother in Guide.

Moushumi Chatterjee (1948)

Moushumi impressed critics with her natural flair for acting in films like Anurag, Manzil, Roti, Kapda and Makan, Benam, Pyaasa Sawan and Ghar Ek Mandir.

Lalita Pawar (1916–1998)

She started off with silent films before turning to character roles in Anari, Shree 420, Sujata, Anand, Bombay to Goa and Hum Dono.

Padmini (1932–2006)

Worked in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films along with Hindi. She was an accomplished dancer too. Mera Naam Joker and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti got her love and recognition among Hindi audiences.

Suhasini Mulay (1950)

Since her debut in Bhuvan Shome, she has been a popular name in cinema and television. She has worked in Hindi, Marathi and Assamese films.


Konkona Sen Sharma (1979)

She has won National Award twice. Wake Up Sid, Omkara, Luck By Chance, Life in a Metro and Death in the Gunj are her notable movies.

Kumkum (1934–2020)

She did more than 100 Hindi and Bhojpuri movies. The credit for giving opportunities to her in Hindi films goes to Guru Dutt. Aar Paar, Aankhen, Geet, Kohinoor, Mother India and Ganga Ki Leharen are important films.

Raveena Tandon (1972)

She made her debut in Patthar Ke Phool and gave big hits in the nineties such as Mohra, Dilwale, Andaz Apna Apna, Shool, Ziddi, Khiladi Ka Khiladi and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan.

Priyanka Chopra (1982)

Apart from Hindi cinema, she is making a splash in international cinema. She has won two National and five Filmfare Awards. Dostana, Barfi, Don, Bajirao Mastani, Aitraaz, Agneepath and Mary Kom have been her important movies.

Sadhana (1941–2015)

She was a fine actress with a hairstyle that caught the fancy of the nation. Woh Kaun Thi,  Mera Saaya, Mere Mehboob, Arzoo, Waqt, Ek Phool Do Mali, Asli Naqli and Rajkumar took her to the top.

Nanda (1939–2014)

Hindi cinema got a new star with Toofan and Diya. Jab Jab Phool Khile, Ittefaq, Gumnaam, Hum Both, Teen Deviyan and Prem Rog bear ample testimony to her talent.

Mala Sinha (1936)

Guru Dutt's Pyaasa proved to be a turning point in her career. Geet, Ankhen, Anpadh, Himalaya Ki God Mein, Do Kaliyan, Dhool Ka Phool, Mere Huzoor and Gumrah are her successful films.

Tanuja (1943)

Her pairings with Rajesh Khanna, Jeetendra and Dharmendra were particularly successful. Haathi Mere Saathi, Mere Jeevan Saathi, Anubhav, Jewel Thief and Do Chor won her widespread acclaim.

Geeta Bali (1930–1965)

She did Bawre Nain with Raj Kapoor and Anand Math with Prithviraj Kapoor. Albela, Baazi, Jaal, Badi Behen and Milap made her a force to reckon with.

Suchitra Sen (1931– 2014)

An important actress in Hindi and Bengali films who went recluse later in her life. She started off with Devdas and went on to  do Aandhi, Mamta and Bombai Ka Babu.

Tabu (1971)

A powerful actress, she played memorable and complex characters in films such as Virasat, Maachis, Maqbool, Haider and Chandni Bar and lately in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2.


Kajol (1974)

She has done several blockbusters such as Baazigar, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Fanaa, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Karan Arjun, Gupt, and Dushman.

Tuntun (1923–2003)

She began as a singer but ended up as a fine comedian. She sang some hit songs before turning to act at the behest of composer Naushad.

Parveen Babi (1954–2005)

A bold and glamorous heroine who lived life on her terms. Movies like Amar Akbar Anthony, Kalia, Shaan, Deewar, Kalia, Namak Halal and Suhaag made her a top star.

Vidya Balan (1979)

Six-time winner of Filmfare Awards, she is considered to be the queen of women-oriented films. The Dirty Picture brought about a revolutionary change in the way female characters are written  in Bollywood.

Divya Bharti (1974–1993)

In a short film career, she rose like a meteor with films like Vishwatma, Deewana and Shola and Shabnam before her untimely death.


Madhuri Dixit (1967)

Winner of six Filmfare Awards, she ruled hearts with Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Dil, Devdas, Khalnayak, Dil To Pagal Hai, Saajan, Beta and Parinda.

Alia Bhatt (1993)

She cemented her place as a formidable actress of the latest generation with Raazi, Dear Zindagi, 2 States, Gully Boy, Udta Punjab and Gangubai Kathiawadi. One of the most sought-after actresses today.


Deepika Padukone (1986)

She made his debut with Om Shanti Om and rose to fame with Padmaavat, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Chhapaak, Ramlila and Bajirao Mastani.

Farida Jalal (1949)

She acted in more than 200 films, including Aradhana with Rajesh Khanna. She played an affectionate mother in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kya Kehna and DDLJ but also gave a stunning performance in Mammo.

Jaya Prada (1962)

She entered Hindi cinema with Sargam and went on to do films like Tohfa, Sharabi, Aakhri Raasta, Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani, Aaj Ka Arjun and Ganga Jamuna Saraswati.

Meeta Vashisht (1967)

The film industry has not really exploited her talent fully. A theatre artist, she is best remembered for her roles in Taal, Tarpan, Kasai, Rudali and Ghulam.

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