Bollywood has long been known for its larger-than-life films and captivating storylines, but what many don’t know is that some of the biggest stars in Bollywood began their acting careers in the South film industry. Many of Bollywood’s leading ladies have made their way up from the South and went on to become stars nationally and internationally.
For example, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan started in the 1997 Tamil-language film Iruvar, directed by Mani Ratnam. The film was critically acclaimed and helped Rai Bachchan make a name for herself in the South.
Similarly, Priyanka Chopra Jonas debuted in the Tamil-language action drama Thamizhan in 2002, two years after winning Miss World. Despite not knowing the language, she acted opposite the well-known Tamil actor Vijay, gaining valuable experience.
Before becoming the biggest female actress in Bollywood, Deepika Padukone made her acting debut in the 2006 Kannada film Aishwarya with Upendra Rao. However, she didn’t achieve much fame from the film. After years, she is set to make a comeback in the South with Prabhas’ pan-Indian film Project K.
Kriti Sanon commenced her acting journey with the Telugu film 1: Nenokkadine, where she shared screen space with Mahesh Babu. Despite the film’s mediocre performance, it was a stepping stone for the actress, who received critical acclaim. Subsequently, she debuted in Bollywood with the 2014 blockbuster, Heropanti, a turning point in her career.
Kajal Aggarwal is a much-loved face in the South and took the silver screen by storm with the 2011 release Singham. She has appeared in several South Indian films and has carved a niche for herself in the industry. She also appeared alongside Akshay Kumar in Special 26, and her performances in the film were highly appreciated.
Hema Malini, also known as Bollywood’s Dream Girl, has been an iconic actress in the industry for over five decades. She started her acting career with a Telugu film Pandava Vananasam and became one of the most successful actresses in Bollywood. Her performances in films like Sholay, Seeta Aur Geeta, and Mehbooba are still remembered by audiences.
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Former Miss World Sushmita Sen made her acting debut with Tamil films and received positive performance reviews. She made it big in Bollywood and has acted in some fantastic films like Biwi No. 1, Main Hoon Na, and Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya? among others. Sushmita has always been an inspiration for many with her confidence and grace.
Jaya Prada made her acting debut in 1974 with the Telugu film Bhoomi Kosam. The actress has also received many Filmfare awards for her performances. After gaining recognition in Telugu films, Jaya Prada ventured into Bollywood and delivered several blockbusters. Her fans still remember her performances in films like Tohfa, Sharaabi, and Maa.
Late actress Sridevi will forever be remembered as Bollywood’s beloved ‘Chandni‘. She worked as a child artist in many South Indian and Bollywood films before making her mark in the industry with films like Sadma, Chandni, and Lamhe. Many admired her acting skills and beauty, and she continues to inspire aspiring actresses.
Whenever Rekha appears at an awards show or event, her charisma and allure can still be felt. The actress debuted with the Tamil film Kadalora Kavithaigal and went on to star in many more. Her illustrious Bollywood career began with Sawan Bhadon in 1970, and she has acted in several successful films since then. Her fans still remember her performances in films like Umrao Jaan and Khoobsurat.
Before her Bollywood debut with Barfi, Ileana D’Cruz appeared in many Tamil and Telugu films, such as Devadasu, Pokiri, and Kedi. She is known for her stunning looks and impressive acting skills. Her performances in Barfi and Rustom received critical acclaim, and she has since become a well-known face in Bollywood.
Why do many of Bollywood’s leading ladies start in the South? According to industry experts, South producers often offer new actors and actresses opportunities, allowing them to gain experience on set and build their portfolios. If a South film does well at the box office, it can catch the attention of big-time Bollywood producers who are always looking for fresh talent. In this way, the South film industries of India serve as a training ground for many of Bollywood’s biggest stars.
The South connection has played a significant role in the success of Bollywood’s leading ladies. From Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Deepika Padukone, these talented actresses have all started their careers in the South and achieved great success in Bollywood and beyond.