They came and they looted our hearts! In an otherwise male dominated industry of sorts, these powerful women have always made their presence felt in whatever they have done on screen. Be it defying the male chauvinism that still envelops the industry or portraying strong willed powerful characters on screen, 2013 was the year of the women, where one by one, each actress raised a toast to the consort battleship that they are a testimony of.

Mahie Gill for Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns:

Mahie Gill In Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns' Movie Still
Mahie Gill In Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns’ Movie Still

The striking and grueling Tigmanshu Dhulia film would have never been complete without the sexy maneuvers and the seduction of the Biwi. Love-lorn and all encompassing, Mahie Gill had created a strong niche for herself in the first installment. And when she decided to bring back the wildness on screen, she brought the house on fire! Latched with a terrific script, the role of the Biwi had a lot for Mahie to perform for and knowing the powerful breed of actors that she belongs to, it was never a surprise! Balancing the thin line between the sensuous and the vulgar, Mahie’s act was a bold show of commendable bravado!

Shraddha Kapoor for Aashiqui 2:

Shraddha Kapoor in a still from movie 'Aashiqui 2'
Shraddha Kapoor in a still from movie ‘Aashiqui 2’

She had never envisioned life would go topsy-turvy after this film, maybe because no other director could actually extract a performance as wonderfully delicate and beautiful as Arohi. More like the whipped cream on your cup cakes, Shraddha blended beautifully with her character, given her pleasantly sweet and pretty face and her spectacular screen presence. The poise, the emotions, the character seemed like a cakewalk for this young actress, who with Aashiqui 2 set new benchmarks to romantic films. But the best scene would definitely be the ending scene where Arohi breaks down totally. It kind of gives me goose-bumps even now.

Parineeti Chopra for Shuddh Desi Romance:

Parineeti Chopra in a still from movie 'Shuddh Desi Romance'
Parineeti Chopra in a still from movie ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’

Parineeti Chopra has done what her cousin could not do in her first few films: prove the world that she is a fantastic actress! From being someone occasionally thrashed by the fashion police, Parineeti kind of gave it right back as she did not just look sensational but turned heads with her brilliant acting camaraderie. Practical and goofy, Gayatri was an extension of the modern contemporary woman’s mindset and Pari as the Gen-Y woman gave a perfect ode to Womania! Delving into the minute details of the character, Pari kind of has already zoomed into the big league, establishing herself as the actress to reckon with in future. And given the strong titular roles that she has chosen for herself and the variety of difference she brings on the platter each time, Parineeti has somehow outscored all her contemporaries today, in the Versatility department!

Deepika Padukone for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani:

Deepika Padukone in a still from movie 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani'
Deepika Padukone in a still from movie ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’

We never knew Deepika, the nerd, will wow us and sweep us off our feet! But the woman of the year undoubtedly had it all running after her. With a spectacularly bewitching performance as Naina in this Kjo mushy romantic saga, Deepika simply left no room for criticism. The sizzle of their chemistry to the smiles and laughs that she shared on screen and the brilliant emotional scenes where she proved her acting prowess, it was Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani that helped Dippy prove that she’s not a hanger in any film and that she is much more than being called another piece of ‘furniture’ in the movie. We agree!

Sonam Kapoor for Raanjhanaa:

Sonam Kapoor in a still from movie 'Raanjhanaa'
Sonam Kapoor in a still from movie ‘Raanjhanaa’

Who knew that the girl who was always panned and criticized for her acting flak would turn around and shun all her critics with a marvelous role as this! Raanjhanaa, definitely Sonam’s best till date had her rise above the shackles of good looks and stylized dresses to see the bigger picture. Yes, finally Sonam Kapoor has awakened from her deep fashion slumber and what she gifted us was an enthralling yet emotional performance, that can score marginally higher than all her fashion police features and the spectacular magazine covers. With she reinventing the actress in her in truest sense with this film, we hope she lives upto the benchmark she set for herself. Much more of Raanjhanaas and little less of magazine covers, please?

Sonakshi Sinha for Lootera:

Sonakshi Sinha in a still from movie 'Lootera'
Sonakshi Sinha in a still from movie ‘Lootera’

It took her almost three years and a dozen films to actually accomplish a feat that all other newbies had already done and resurrected! That of discovering the actor within. Well honestly, I never had been a Sonakshi fan because all I saw was Sonakshi wearing that red sari, looking hideous and dancing around trees doing Rani tu mai Raja around the other heavyweight hero. With very little scope for her to perform in each film she did, it seemed she kept clinging to the same roles each time. But when Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera released, tables seemed to have turned for our Shotgun Junior. Ironically one of the best performances in a long time, Sonakshi nailed it with her looks, her emotions and her spot on gesticulations as she played the immensely vulnerable and docile Pakhi with consummate aplomb. And if she could make such a critic of hers like me fall in love with Pakhi, it was definitely a tremendous achievement. The way she spoke through her myriad silences and romanced with her naïve child like maneuvers, it tugged the right corners of the heart. Sonakshi, you are a terrific actress but it’s just that you are not letting that actress within you to fly with freedom. Too bad!

Deepika Padukone for Chennai Express:

Deepika Padukone in a still from movie 'Chennai Express'
Deepika Padukone in a still from movie ‘Chennai Express’

Giving a superstar of the caliber of Shah Rukh Khan a total run for his money in a completely male-centred film might just have looked impossible but Deepika quashed all the pre-conceived notions as she easily fled with all the top honours for this Rohit Shetty directorial. Somehow, this girl has evolved and metamorphosed into someone who is just making the right use of all the right decisions she’s been making at the right time! No one, I repeat NO ONE could have even touched Meenamma and made it iconic, had it not been Deepika and her ‘bokwaas south Indian twang ka dictionary’ working the magic on screen. Definitely the best performer from the film, she toppled over Shah Rukh in terms of brilliance (something that has occasionally happened with the star) and basked in the spotlight with her nuanced portrayal of Meena Lochini. Her dialogues had the finesse, her moves had the grace, her expressions had the much required glow and her comic timing seemed flawless!

Deepika Padukone for Goliyon Ki Raasleela – Ramleela:

Deepika Padukone in a still from movie 'Goliyon Ki Raasleela - Ramleela'
Deepika Padukone in a still from movie ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela – Ramleela’

Demanding screen presence, exuding vivaciousness and delivering a top notch performance, that was all that Deepika Padukone had to do to make Ramleela work. But she did a lot more than just that. From mouthing powerful punch lines to making the best use of her face to simplify words and make them look like a poetry in motion, Deepika Padukone was not just the Star of The Year but also the true blue Actress of the Year. It was not that her films worked commercially but each film had its own gravitas, with respect to Ms. Padukone’s performance. And out of all them, what stands out tallest is Deepika’s feisty and gutsy Leela who defied all her social norms to be with her beloved. Never did someone explode with such oomph on screen and never could Shakespeare’s play come so alive on screen. But with Deepika’s sweltering screen presence and monumental talent, Leela dabao-ed the right trigger in all our lives, without a doubt! And to the woman of the year, please keep reinventing yourself the way you did throughout 2013!

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