Bollywood is often quick to demarcate actors and movies as mainstream and indie. But, Dimple Kapadia is one of the few stars to have successfully broken the barrier between mainstream and parallel cinema, and deliver some truly groundbreaking performances.
As her recent success with Tenet proves, Dimple Kapadia is one of our industry's finest stars. And here are some of her most memorable performances:
Dimple Kapadia made one of the most popular debuts in Bollywood history, when she starred in this romantic drama, opposite Rishi Kapoor. There was a freshness to her screen presence that immediately made her a crowd favourite, and her natural performance established her as a star from the first scene itself.
Dimple Kapadia's comeback film Saagar, though released a year after she returned to movies, once again won the crowd over and earned her the Filmfare award for Best Actress. The film also firmly established her as an actor with an ethereal, almost incomparable screen presence.
The film that gave her a chance to truly flex those acting muscles, Rudaali won Dimple Kapadia a National Award for her portrayal of a professional mourner. To date, it remains one of her most memorable performances.
Gulzar's romantic mystery gave us an altogether new version of Dimple Kapadia. Her performance, as a haunting spirit seeking liberation, was surreal yet tragic and completely different from the horrific, almost caricaturish way ghosts and spirits had usually been portrayed in Hindi cinema.
Though over the years Bollywood's leading lady has become a layered character, at the time of Drishti's release, Dimple Kapadia's character of career-woman Sandhya, was like a breath of fresh air. Her stirring, sensitive portrayal won her Bengal Film Journalists' Association's Best Actress (Hindi) of the year award.
6. Dil Chahta Hai
Dil Chahta Hai was not just a groundbreaking film in Indian cinema, but also a fine example of Kapadia's acting prowess. Even though it was a brief role, her nuanced depiction of a middle-aged divorcee and recovering alcoholic, was unconventional yet relatable.
7. Finding Fanny
Finding Fanny gave us a glimpse of Dimple Kapadia's underrated comic timing, proving that she was an actor who could make even the most absurd appear comical, without becoming a caricature.
Long before Rudaali, it was Mahesh Bhatt's Kaash that showcased Dimple Kapadia was more than just a 'pretty face'. As a mother forced to stay with her estranged husband due to their child's life-threatening tumor, she delivered one of the most emotionally rousing performances of her career.
Dimple Kapadia played the role of a journalist fighting against society's injustices, and there was not a single scene where she didn't command your attention. She won the Filmfare for the Best Supporting Actress for her role.
10. Luck By Chance
For a fan of Dimple Kapadia and movies, Luck By Chance was a rare treat. As a yesteryear star carefully preparing her daughter's launch, Dimple Kapadia smoothly moved between showcasing vulnerability and steely determination, thereby giving us an 'antagonist' who felt more human than most female villains.
What a phenomenal star!