Madhuri Dixit

- Vikram Chandiramani 

She was considered to be one of the most powerful heroines ever and was even called the 'female Amitabh Bachchan'. Madhuri was the crown princess of Indian Cinema. "Firstly, to call me the 'female Amitabh' is ridiculous. He is a phenomenon that happens only happen once in a life-time," she maintains.

It is no secret that she dominated most of her films while the heroes got sidelined. This is no mean achievement in a particularly male dominated industry. "I have never believed in undermining someone else's work or tried to get the better of a co-star," she says defensively. "I just do my work to the best of my ability. I have absolutely no hang-ups about anything."However, all was not well when she began her career. Her first film 'Abodh' did little to boost this seemingly undernourished Maharastrian girl's career.

Fortunately for her, it was Subhash Ghai who detected her potential. He cast her in his home production, 'Uttar Dakshin', a film which he didn't direct. Slowly, she won the heart of the audience, but with her outstanding performance in N Chandra's 'Tezaab', she became a craze. She was the biggest contender for the Number One position. To top it all, her subsequent films like 'Ram Lakhan', 'Dil', 'Beta', 'Saajan', 'Khalnayak' and 'Raja' put her firmly in the top slot, but 'Hum Aapke Hai Kaun' which is regarded as the most successful film ever in the history of Indian cinema, made her the reference point of commercial cinema. "My journey to stardom hasn't been easy at all. There has been a great deal of hard work, patience and plenty of determination to reach here. I had to work hard for it," she says and continues, "Although I had some fairly good films like 'Uttar Dakshin', 'Khatron Ke Khiladi' and 'Dayavan' which failed, The feeling that, despite so many good films, nothing was happening with me, was difficult to cope with. Besides, everyone had dismissed me without even giving me a chance." Dil To Paagal Hai, a hit film of Yash Chopra too showed Madhuri Dixit slipping. A young Karisma Kapoor stole the show under her very nose.

However, the feeling of despair went away when she did `Mrityudand`, and more so, when MF Husain who was already impressed with what he had seen of her in HAHK did a series of oil paintings (Dhak Dhak Madhuri) and ended up making a film entitled `Gajagamini`. There are not many takers for Husain's film though it might get her international acclaim. But before that Madhuri has gone ahead and made it to the front pages of newspapers. She has got married to a doctor settled in USA. The man is Sriram Nene and Madhuri is now known as Madhuri Dixit-Nene! Her post marriage film 'Pukar' failed but Madhuri did some more films including 'Devdas' in which she was pitted against the reigning queen Aishwarya Rai. Madhuri played Chandramukhi, a role immortalized by Vyjantimala and in a together dance (dola re, dola re) with Ash stood her ground. Even now Madhuri is game for meaty, meaningful roles. She is working in 'Aaja Nachle' produced by Yash Raj films where her co-stars are Akshaye Khanna, Kunal Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma. There have been rumors about her marrioge being on the rocks, partly fueled by the fact that Madhuri has got her kids admitted to a Mumbai school while her husband in settled in the United States.