Playing negative roles in films is nothing new for our heroines. Always keen to experiment and show their versatility to their fans, Bollywood’s leading ladies have not just been the ‘good and romantic’ types, but have also taken up the challenge to showcase their darker side. They don’t hesitate before shedding their “good” image and slipping into the robes of a femme fatale. We bring to you some of the top heroines of the industry who have played grey shades in their careers:

Kajol in Gupt

Kajol in a still from Gupt Movie
Kajol in a still from Gupt Movie

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Very few people could have imagined that a heroine with an innocent and romantic image could have played a negative character so wonderfully as Kajol did in Gupt. Her performance of Isha, a girl who was obsessively in love with Bobby Deol’s character and even went to the extent of murdering people, was highly appreciated. Not only did the film become a major hit of the year, it also made Kajol the first woman in the history of Filmfare Awards to receive an award for the Best Villain.

Priyanka Chopra in Aitraaz

Priyanka Chopra in a still from Aitraaz Movie
Priyanka Chopra in a still from Aitraaz Movie

The sexy beauty queen risked her image in the early years of her career and played a negative character in Aitraaz. The gamble paid off, and Piggy Chops proved that she has more to her than being just the arm candies of her heroes. As Sonia Roy, she earned rave reviews for playing an ambitious woman who initially rejects her love to earn money and fame, and later seduces him to derive sexual pleasures. Although the film did average business at the box office, Miss Chopra earned the Filmfare and Star Screen Awards for Best Villain.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Khakee

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a still from Khakee Movie
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a still from Khakee Movie

Another beauty queen took up the challenge of playing a role that was quite out of her league. In Khakee, she played a woman called Mahalaxmi who pretends to help the police in a case, but is actually an agent of a terrorist gang led by Ajay Devgn. She cheats an inspector in love with her and obtains secret information. However, she gets killed in the end. The film received positive reviews and was nominated for few awards.

Urmila Matondkar in Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya

Urmila Matondkar in a still from Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya Movie
Urmila Matondkar in a still from Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya Movie

This Ram Gopal Varma film saw two new things about Urmila Matondkar- her short hair, cropped till the shoulders, and the fact that she could play a dark character with such brilliance! The heroine was seen essaying the role of an obsessed lover, who does all she can to get the love of her life, even attempting to murder his wife. The film was not a huge success at the box office, but it did earn Urmila’s powerful performance nominations for Best Villain and Best Actress awards.

Kareena Kapoor in Fida

Kareena Kapoor from Fida Movie
Kareena Kapoor from Fida Movie

One of the many duds of Kareena Kapoor, this film was slightly different from those in which her over-the-top performance failed to impress audiences. Here, she dupes her lover and traps him in a false theft case, just to help her real lover (and the actual thief) keep all the stolen money. Fida failed miserably at the box office, but gave a new Bolly couple in the form of Shahid Kapoor and Kareena.

Vidya Balan in Ishqiya

Vidya Balan in a still from Ishqiya Movie
Vidya Balan in a still from Ishqiya Movie

Whoever thought that vamps were essentially modern and sophisticated could not be more wrong! Ishqiya broke the myth, with Vidya Balan playing a femme fatale- desi, yet so glamorous and stylish in her own way. She had a unique charm in her character, which in spite of being grey, was the center of attraction of the film. We got to see her as a seductress, out to tempt two criminals just to fulfill her own secret mission. Vidya received massive appreciation for her sizzling performance, while the film walked away with several awards, including four National Awards.

Bipasha Basu in Jism

Bipasha Basu in a still from Jism Movie
Bipasha Basu in a still from Jism Movie

Among the first erotic thrillers from the Bhatt camp, Jism gave the nation a new sex symbol after yesteryear actress Zeenat Aman – Bipasha Basu. While the audience gorged on the dusky beauty’s amazing body, Bipasha the seductress used her charm to amass her husband’s wealth all alone, on the way, ditching her lover whom she exploited for her personal reasons. The Bong beauty was nominated and even won the Best Villain award at many award ceremonies.

Preity Zinta in Armaan

Preity Zinta in a still from Armaan Movie
Preity Zinta in a still from Armaan Movie

Quite contrary to her bubbly and carefree roles, Miss Zinta played the role of a spoilt brat and a schizophrenia patient who is adamant on ‘buying’ her love (the doctor who treats her) through an agreement. She gets cured and later walks out of his life for his own good. Despite the fact that Preity Zinta acted brilliantly in her new role, the film failed to impress the audience and was a flop.

Tabu in Maqbool

Tabu in a still from Maqbool Movie
Tabu in a still from Maqbool Movie

Vishal Bharadwaj’s screen adaptation of Macbeth saw Bollywood beauty Tabu slipping into the shoes of Lady Macbeth. Although she is the mistress of an underworld don, she is secretly in love with another man and persuades him to kill her husband. Critics gave the film quite positive reviews and it was clear that no other actress could have enacted Nimmi better than Tabu.

Although there have been many more instances of leading ladies playing negative characters, these have been some of the most famous and prominent ones. For instance, Amrita Singh in Kalyug, Neha Dhupia in Rush, Katrina Kaif in Race, Udita Goswami in Zeher, Dia Mirza in Acid Factory, and so on. Tell us who your favorite is.

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