Friday, December 7, 2007

Making it to the Most-Sexy list

Making it to the Most-Sexy list does little to get you ahead of others in the film industry's cast system. Rachit Gupta examines the Why factor

ipasha Basu was recently voted the Sexiest Asian woman by a leading newspaper named Eastern Eye in UK. Madhuri Dixit followed close at number two, Priyanka Chopra at three and Aishwarya Rai and Shilpa Shetty among the top five. Such titles are not new -- Indian screen divas have earned the tag time and again but contrary to popular beliefs, these sexy tags do little to help their acting careers.
"Being featured on a list that crowns you with a most-sexy title is good only for an actress's image. The only good thing it does (for an Indian actress) is that it gets her media attention which is always helpful. No matter how many times Bipasha is voted the sexiest woman alive it won't help her acting career," says N.P.Yadav a senior trade analyst from the Hindi film industry. According to Yadav, "The tag does not guarantee a bigger paycheque… what does is professional success," says Yadav.
And it is not even a virtue that can always be cinematically exploited. Vivek Agnihotri chose to have Bipasha in a deglamourised look for his Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal despite her sex-symbol image. "In Goal, Bipasha has an earthy look because that was what her character demanded," said Agnihotri.
There are, however, certain advantages, point out Abbas of the Abbas-Mustan duo. "The world is watching us and with so many of our young talents being featured on these lists, we stand to gain.
It tells the world and the media that Indians can hold their own against Hollywood celebrities,” says Abbas.

But beyond their glamourous and sexy image, Indian actresses fail to cope with gender bias as the men in the industry take home all the big bucks. “If Aishwarya Rai charges 2 crore for a film with say, SRK, in all likelihood, he will earn five to six times more than her,” revealed Yadav.
Dream Girl Hema Malini and Sridevi were the only two actresses who were able break this stereotype. According to Yadav, Hema Malini charged a sum of Rs 14 lakh in her prime, at a time when the top billed superstar Rajesh Khanna was charging a similar fees. Sridevi on the other hand charged a whopping Rs 40 lakh when Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol and other top billed actors of that time were charging Rs 30 to 40 lakh.
Bipasha Basu
"Bipasha is undoubtedly one of the hottest Indian actresses today. She has a massive sex appeal and the biggest contributor to that has to be Bipasha's personality. She's not your traditional fair maiden with candyfloss appeal. Her dusky appearance coupled with a great body give her an inimitable aura. Bipasha is a head turner and just her presence can leave you mesmerised. No doubt she was voted the sexiest Asian woman."
- Vivek Agnihotri, Director of Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal
Billing: Bipasha Basu is still to make a name for herself as a lead actress but her simmering sex appeal makes her a hot favourite as ‘item girl’ or an arm candy at best. She currently charges anywhere between Rs 70 lakh to Rs 1 crore for a film depending on the banner and the size of the production.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
"Aishwarya has internationally-acceptable looks. In fact, she can pull off playing a Spanish or even a Brazilian character. As a result she does not have to restrict herself to the stereotype Indian roles. Her beauty is universal and her poise and the tremendously elegant way in which she carries herself makes her popular throughout the world."
- Jag Mundhra,Producer/Director, Provoked
Billing: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has worked in international projects like Provoked, Pink Panther and Bride & Prejudice. In Bollywood she is one of the top billed actresses today and charges anywhere between a crore to two and a half crore for a film.

Shilpa Shetty
"Shilpa Shetty is one of the most beautiful actresses from Bollywood today. Although she has not been a part of great hits, she has still done some very good films. Be it her films or her stint in Celebrity Big Brother, the reason Shilpa was loved so much was because she chose to be unpretentious. No second thoughts about her body, Shilpa truly is one of the sexiest women around and her nice and honest personality just make her a very charming person."
- Sanjay Kapoor,Actor
Billing: Shilpa Shetty, though she's been a part of successful films, never quite made it to the big league. Her recent acclaim with the Celebrity Big Brother win has not translated into another mega-success in Bollywood. Her demands for a crore or two have been turned down by producers since Shilpa is not considered superstar material in India.

Priyanka Chopra
"Priyanka Chopra has reached new levels of popularity in both India and overseas because she has a perfect blend of good looks and amazing confidence. She's been a Miss World and has the looks to match up to any international star, but beyond her looks it's her confidence that attracts the youth to her. She is an enterprising woman and that contributes a great deal to her sex appeal and popularity."
- Director Abbas of the Abbas-Mustan duo from Aitraaz.
Billing: Priyanka Chopra has made a name for herself with a series of hits like Don, Krissh and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi. She now charges a crore upwards for her films, depending upon the production size and banner behind the film.

Madhuri Dixit
"Madhuri Dixit is the true energy of Indian films. She is the symbol of purity, divinity and sensuality. Unlike contemporary actresses Madhuri does not need to wear a one-inch skirt or a small top - her eyes and smile are enough incentive for a man to be fascinated"
- Jackie Shroff, Actor.
Billing: Madhuri Dixit counted among the most celebrated Indian actresses of all time makes a comeback with Aaja Nachle. In her prime, almost a decade ago, Madhuri was known to charge anywhere around Rs 50 lakh and more.

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