Indian television is dominated by daily soap operas with stories revolving around the lives of the typical, overdramatized Indian families. While Hindi TV serials have been often criticized for degenerating and showing women in a very regressive light, there is no second doubt that the lead female protagonists of the dramas are well-loved by the Indian audience, nationwide! Almost a decade ago, we had the likes of Smrita Irani, Sakshi Tanwar, Shweta Tiwari and Mona Singh ruiling the charts of Indian TV. While Sakshi is still one of the most popular actresses of Indian television today with her role as Priya in “Bade Ache Lagte Hain“, Smriti has taken on politics. Shweta Tiwari and Mona Singh are still doing popular shows but their popularity is not a rage like it was during their hay days. Having said that, all 5 are fantastic actresses and have definitely inspired a much younger lot to slowly but surely take over!
So let’s take a look at our pick of top 5 television actresses who have established themselves as some of the most lovable sweethearts of Indian television today:
#5. Deepika Singh – Diya Aur Baati Hum
Claim To Fame: As Sandhya in “Diya Aur Baati Hum”. “Diya Aur Baati Hum” is an immensely popular TV serial that airs on Star Plus. The show’s female protagonist, Sandhya, played by Deepika Singh, is a resilient girl who values education but respects the traditions and customs of her in-laws’ place as well, and tries her best to learn how to be the “perfect beengni (daughter- in- law)”. The popularity of the show Diya Aur Baati Hum has certainly contributed to Deepika Singh’s fame and her much deserved awards.
What we like: It’s a show that explores the impact of traditions and culture on women. The show depicts how Sandhya Rathi, a woman who values education, deals with the problems she faces at her in-laws. Sandhya is very resilient. I love how she is able to overcome adversities, and she represents a changing perception of Indian woman from rural areas. And Deepika Singh does a fabulous job out of it.
#4. Hina Khan – Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai
Hina Khan was born in Srinagar, India, and did her MBA at CCA School of Management, Gurgaon. She had casually gone with her friend for the auditions for “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai” one day. Unexpectedly, she got a call from the producer the very next day and she was selected for the main role of Akshara.
Claim To Fame: As Akshara in “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai”, one of the most popular soap operas on Star Plus that has been running since January 2009 and completed its 1000th episode in October 2012. The show revolves around a Rajasthani couple, Naitik (Karan Mehra) and Akshara (Hina Khan), and how they manage their lives while keeping their love intact. “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata” has one of the highest TRP rates with viewers from all over the world, and it has bagged numerous awards.
What we like: It is a very “happy” show, one that simply puts a smile on your face- no kidding here. It’s one of those shows that does not have eyebrow raising vamps plotting to separate the lead couple nor a scheming Saansuma wanting to get her daughter-in-law in trouble! It is a very simple family drama that depicts the typical problems that members of a family or a couple could possibly face. (Although at times, the issues can get a little unrealistic…) Hina Khan’s charming and sweet demeanour as Akshara makes her one of the most favourite bahus of Indian television. Her undying and all-giving love for both her own and husband’s families makes her look admirable. Oh and did I mention, I really liked the baby version of Akshara’s son – Naksh…. Isn’t he just adorable?
#3. Drashti Dhami –Madhubala Ek Ishq Ek Junoon
Drashti is a Gujarati born in Mumbai, and she did numerous television advertisements before debuting in a TV show, “Dill Mill Gayye“. Following that she was seen as Geet in “Geet – Hui Sabse Parayi“, where she gained much fame. She is currently acting as Madhubala in “Madhubala, Ek Ishq, Ek Junoon“, and she will be seen in Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Season 6, that will air on Colours TV on 1st June 2013.
Claim to fame – Geet Hui Sabse Parayi was Drashti’s claim to fame but she is absolutely loved as Madhu in “Madhubala, Ek Ishq, Ek Junoon”. “Madhubala, Ek Ishq, Ek Junoon” is no doubt, one of the most popular shows that airs on Colours TV. A baby girl is born on the lavish sets of a Hindi film to a Junior Artiste and is named after the legendary actress Madhubala. She grows up in the film industry but aspires to lead a simple life, showing no aspirations to become an actor. Her simple world somehow however gets entangled in the life of superstar RK (Rishabh Kundra played by Vivian D’Sena), and her life completely changes.
What we like: The show’s concept was something which completely enthralled us at first. It was novel , different, original and came as a breath of fresh air from the usual conventional saas-bahu serials. The chemistry between Madhu and RK is magical and as fans, we keep rooting that they do not get separated. However along the way, RK’s character has been crafted to become a little too overprotective of Madhu and this current track is something which we are not able to fathom lately. Madhu’s understanding and compromising nature in trying to make her marriage work with RK makes her instantly lovable. She is gorgeous and bubbly and is easily able to win the hearts of the audience. The name “Madhubala” in itself is a heavy burden to carry as one would often associate the name with yesteryear’s beauty queen Madhubala who was beautiful, graceful, strong and demure. While it’s unfair to draw comparisons, we feel it’s almost as if the character “Madhubala” was written with Drashti in mind! Check out her Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Promo:
#2. Jennifer Winget – Saraswatichandra
Jennifer Winget was born in Mumbai to a Marathi-Christian father and a Punjabi mother. She did a degree in commerce from KJ Somaiya College in Mumbai, and currently she is married to popular TV actor to Karan Singh Grover.
Claim to fame: While Dill Mill Gayye was Jennifer’s big break, her current show “Saraswatichandra” has garnered her rave reviews. Produced by renowned film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Saraswatichandra is one of the popular shows that air on Star Plus. It is based on the famous Gujarati novel by Govardhanram Tripathi. Gautam Rode (who plays Saras) and Jennifer Winget (who plays Kumud), are the protagonists of the show, and the show depicts how they both fall in love with each other. It is a poignant love story of two soul mates who are denied the joy of becoming one by destiny and tradition.
What we like: Well, to be honest –Saraswatichandra is not your ordinary TV soap opera to begin with. Produced by SLB, launched by actress Rani Mukherji, the show started off with a bang with expensive brocade woven, lavish classy sets which were a welcome respite from the gaudy colours that serials nowadays throw around. This larger-than-life look was coupled with a beautiful story line. It definitely started off slow but the show picked up in the past few months and has a very Bhansali-feel to it. The only thing we are hope is that the SLB alters the clichéd script a bit to suit the modern audience. If you want to read the full story of Saraswatichandra, you can read it here. Now coming back to Jennifer, we feel that she is simply excellent. Although Kumud is rather traditional, she is really not your typical submissive and subservient chic. In fact, her modern outlook of life and helpful nature adds live to the show and she should inspire many Indian women, bound by traditions, who are afraid to voice out opinions. It’s not everyday that Sanjay Leela Bhansali picks a new muse, especially someone who does remind us of Nandini from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam with Aishwarya Rai in the lead role. We think Jeniffer is confident and beautiful as Kumud. She is able to portray the role effectively and there could not have been a better choice than her! Ironically, she did do a film with Ash called “Kuch Na Kaho” when she was just a teenager! Check it out:
#1. Sanaya Irani- Chhanchhan
Sanaya Irani is a Parsi born in Mumbai, and she received her education in Ooty. She graduated from Sydenham College in Mumbai and is currently doing a show called “Chhanchhan” on Sony Entertainment Television.
Claim To Fame: Sanaya was loved by fans when she appeared in Miley Jab Hum Tum and Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon. However since she’s acting in “Chhanchhan” currently – so, let’s talk about that! “Chhanchhan” is a new show that started airing on Sony Entertainment Television only two months back. It is about a bubbly, modern outgoing girl played by the gorgeous Sanaya Irani, and how she falls in love with Manav (played by Farhan Khan). The twist in the story is Supriya Pathak Kapoor, who plays a strict mother and is completely against Manav marrying a modern girl.
What we like: Sanaya Irani’s practical and 21st century nature as Chhanchhan is a refreshing change from the usual middle-class/traditional girl stories. Here is one girl – who’s rich, beautiful, confident, intelligent and modern but still faces problems! Why? Because she does not believe in following traditions blindly. She questions certain procedures which the older generations blindly follow in the name of rituals and culture. The show is a light-hearted entertainment, with Sanaya Irani doing a fabulous job as Chhanchhan. She is a gorgeous and talented actress, and we think that she will definitely make it big in the industry! Here’s a picture of her and Kajol, adorable right?
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