Bollywood movies – those often overdramatic all-in-one films filled with action, drama, singing, and dancing – may not be everyone’s idea of a good sit down, entertaining movie. But to the majority of the Indian population, those in the subcontinent, and the millions of expats who have settled around the globe, these overdramatic movies with their larger-than-life characters offer people an escape from the mundanities of everyday life. For those (often) three hours, fans are transported into a colorful world of singing, dancing, and sometimes, decent plots.
A lot of people underestimate just how big Bollywood is. Think about it for a sec: there’s a population of 1.3 billion people in India, and I’d say the vast majority of them treat watching movies as a religion, and the movie stars as their gods. If it wasn’t for the weakness of the Indian rupee against the U.S. dollar, Bollywood would be the biggest entertainment industry on the planet, without a shadow of a doubt, and these exquisite heroines would be at the helm of it.
It’s the male actors who make up the megastars of Bollywood, but it’s the women who bring the movies to life. They’re charming, charismatic, and of course, a must for any female actress in Bollywood, extremely beautiful, seductively using their feminine wiles to light up the silver screen and drive fans crazy. A few of these Bollywood beauties have transitioned to Hollywood, with some being more successful than others. Aishwarya Rai, Mallika Sherawat, Sunny Leone, and Deepika Padukone (who appeared in the new xXx movie) are a few who’ve made the leap, and most recently, Priyanka Chopra, who I’m sure many of you will know as the star of Quantico, is making a name for herself in the U.S.
But Bollywood fans, and I’m sure many of you as well once you’ve checked out the pics of these Bollywood babes below, would love to see more of these stunning women in Hollywood.
15 Kareena Kapoor
On this type of a list discussing the best and hottest Indian actresses, having Kareena Kapoor – now Kareena Kapoor Khan due to marriage – first up is a no brainer. She was a heartbreaker the moment she first appeared on the big screen in 2000 and her career’s since gone from strength to strength.
Over the past decade, Kareena’s been the best actress in the industry by a mile: beauty, sass, acting ability, dancing – she has it all and does it better than the rest, hence why she was the highest paid actress in 2016, and has been raking in the cash consistently over the past ten years. Play a game of Bollywood top trumps and she’d be the card everyone’s after; Hollywood should be after her too, and fans would love to see it happen, although she’s recently had a baby so the transition – if it happens – won’t take place any time soon. Fans would love it to happen, but why would Kareena want to? She’s a princess in India – yes, literally a princess, as she’s married to the prince of a place in Northern India called Pataudi – so I doubt she’d want to make the move. But there’s no harm in dreaming! She has been in a Bollywood movie with the one and only Sylvester Stallone, so she has the connections, and maybe one day, they’ll both rekindle their on-screen relationship.
14 Madhuri Dixit
If Kareena’s the best actress of the modern day era, back in the day, and I’m talking in the 90s, it was Madhuri who was the biggest star around. After starting her career with a string of flops, she hit the big time in the 90s; casting directors wanted her and fans wanted to see her. She could act, but it was her sumptuous moves and dancing that mesmerized audiences. She’s a trained professional Kathak dancer – a form of Indian classical dance – and her professional training and flair for dancing certainly showed in her movies, making her a choreographer’s dream. On top of that, she’s beautiful too; she’s a timeless beauty who still looks stunning, even as she’s approaching 50.
Madhuri’s getting on a bit now, so is starting to get more of what some people might say are ‘proper acting’ roles. Her versatility means she’d be a great fit for Hollywood. Also, despite everything that’s going on in the U.S. at the moment, she won’t have any issues getting in and settling into the States either; she became an American citizen after living in Denver, Colorado for a decade with her American husband.
Madhuri’s skilled in the art of looking effortlessly gorgeous and possesses all the skills and acting ability to make it work in whichever industry she may end up in in the future.
13 Alia Bhatt
When Madhuri made her debut in 1984, Alia Bhatt wasn’t even born. Now at the age of 23, Alia’s been tipped to be the next big thing and is trying to step into Madhuri’s shoes. She has big shoes to fill. Her initial films haven’t been rip-roaring successes, but her performances have certainly stood out.
Alia’s regarded to be the baby of Bollywood. There’s a real silliness and cute sense of naivety about her, which may not make her seem like the most intelligent woman around, but certainly endears her to the fans. Her interviews are always entertaining and she’s growing as an actress day by day; it wouldn’t hurt her to have a go at things in Hollywood. She’s be perfect for a role in some kind of teen drama or TV show, but at the moment, fans are loving seeing this fresh-faced young woman just having a ball and imparting her chilled-out attitude into the manic craziness that is Bollywood.
12 Parineeti Chopra
Like Alia, Parineeti’s slowly establishing herself as one of the most promising new actresses in India.
In 2009, she had no interest in wanting to become an actress. She’d just smashed it at university and was preparing to make a go of things in the world of banking and finance. But Parineeti’s a shrewd character; she decided India’s recession was the perfect time to establish herself and ultimately cash in in a new line of work. She did just that and is today one of the hottest new talents from the younger group of actresses who are slowly taking over Bollywood, not to mention she’s gorgeous too.
Now, Chopra’s a common Indian surname, but this one is actually related to the woman who I mentioned in the intro. She and Priyanka Chopra – the star of Quantico and other Hollywood projects on the horizon such as the Baywatch movie – are cousins. One Chopra might currently be spending less time on Indian shores, but fans are glad the younger Chopra’s still about. She may however, just like she followed her cousin into the movie industry, look to emulate Priyanka’s success in Hollywood, and if that happens I don’t think you’d see many people complaining.
11 Shraddha Kapoor
Shraddha Kapoor is your girl-next-door type of actress, not your conventional bolshy and bratty star, which is common amongst those newcomers to the industry, but extremely endearing. The angelic beauty is super cute and innocent looking, she has soft features, a perfect face, delicate frame, and is able to enchant and mesmerize audiences with her on-screen performances. She brings something different to tinsel town and the fans are loving it. They love seeing her keep rolling out stunning performances and grow as an actress.
Shraddha’s a multitalented woman whose skill set can be used in any entertainment industry. Of the current crop of actresses, she’s the best dancer by far, can act, and fans recently discovered she has – to go along with her angelic features – an amazing singing voice. She’s also a crazy Priyanka Chopra fan, so perhaps Priyanka will at some point be able to hook her up with some work in Hollywood, not that she’d really need a hook-up; she’s got enough talent and quality to shine wherever she goes.
10 Anushka Sharma
After debuting in Bollywood at the age of 18, Anushka’s rise to fame and her growth in popularity was pretty much instant. In her first film, she played the leading lady opposite one of the biggest actors in Bollywood, and that performance propelled her into the limelight. She then continued on her merry way to being one of the most sought-after actresses in Bollywood.
Anushka’s not your conventional actress. She’s not afraid of pushing the boundaries and challenging herself, taking on unconventional roles and pulling them off with relative ease – not your stereotypical mainstream leading lady.
Anushka’s without doubt one of the hottest women in B-town. She was super hot and super cute when she burst onto the scene, but for some reason decided to get some cosmetic work done. She was bullied endlessly over her lip job – some may say she didn’t need it, which she didn’t, but she’s still equally as stunning now than ever before.
Now that Bollywood actresses have been starting to foray into international showbiz, Anushka’s been asked about Hollywood many times. She has said she’d love the opportunity, as long as she’s not playing the stereotypical Indian woman. That shouldn’t be an issue as Anushka can pull off any role!
9 Sonakshi Sinha
When Sonakshi first entered the industry, plenty of people laid into her about all sorts of things, about her looking overweight, not having that instant sex appeal, and not being one of the best looking actresses around. Plenty of people also got on her back because she didn’t have any acting training; she was working as a costume designer, was spotted by one of the biggest stars in the world right now – Salman Khan – who saw something in her and cast her as his leading lady in his next film. She played the simple, Indian housewife type of girl, and that’s pretty much her character in real life. It’s certainly something different, and in Sonakshi’s case, it works for her and fans love seeing her in this light; there are no airs and graces about Sonakshi and that kind of makes her accessible.
After seven years in the industry, Sonakshi now looks stunning but has stayed down to earth and has remained grounded, something that’s held her in good standings over the years. For everyone thinking of the possibility of Sonakshi in Hollywood, get ready to be disappointed. She has zero aspirations of getting into Hollywood…yet, and is content to keep churning out hit after hit in B-town.
8 Preity Zinta
Yes, you can guess what’s coming: Preity Zinta is certainly pretty – ha ha!– in fact, I’m sure you’ll all agree that she’s absolutely stunning. The dimpled beauty has one of the cutest faces in Bollywood and has a smile and the charm to make her millions of fans melt and go weak at the knees.
She’s seemingly been around forever – and she has been, since 1998 – but she somehow still looks the same as when she started, and that of course is a good thing.
Unfortunately for her many adoring fans around the world, Preity’s acting career has slowed down as of late and has taken a backseat to her many other business ventures. Her acquisition of a cricket team has kept her busy, as has her marriage to LA financial analyst, Gene Goodenough. Preity currently lives with her hubby in LA California, so if an opportunity in Hollywood was to present itself, she’d feel right at home.
7 Katrina Kaif
Katrina’s super hot and is slowly growing as an actress, although her initial performances were laughable. She began getting roles in Bollywood because she was hot, and that’s about it. She had no acting training – which was evident – couldn’t speak the local lingo, and seemed like a fish out of water when it came to dealing with the press and her tons of screaming, adoring fans. Fans took to her because she was the hot new face on the block, but critics ripped her apart for her performances, and rightfully so.
But since making her debut 14 years ago, Katrina’s slowly but surely began to grow as an actress. She’s getting better with each film, but I fear that those contemplating what Katrina will be like as a Hollywood actress will have to wait a long time. She’s said she would only say yes to Hollywood if Tom Cruise came calling; the chances of that occurring in the near future are pretty grim.
6 Dia Mirza
Dia Mirza’s a strong-headed woman with a fiery and vivacious personality. She won tons of accolades as a model before transitioning into an actress and making a go of things in the movie industry. Aside from her acing work, today she’s known more for her philanthropic projects and she’s heavily involved in social work – a beautiful actress with a heart of gold.
Dia’s got this unique look as an actress – she doesn’t look like your everyday Indian woman, and that’s because she’s not fully Indian. She’s got some European blood in her; her dad was German and her mom wasIndian – that’s one hell of a mix, perhaps the reason for her fiery nature, and has given her an awesome complexion, all of which she’s used to her advantage during her time in Bollywood. One thing’s for sure, if she does try and make it in Hollywood, she’ll be doing so on her terms, in her way.
5 Jacqueline Fernandez
Jacqueline has been all over the place. She was born in Bahrain, brought up in Sri Lanka, studied in Australia and now taking over Bollywood.
Again, Jacqueline got into the movies after being spotting during a modelling assignment. Like Katrina Kaif, she didn’t speak the language and had no background in acting, but her looks were enough to get her some roles. But unlike Katrina Kaif, she’s an endearing character, is incredibly down to earth, stunningly beautiful, and has the most infectious smile and laugh; watch her smile and giggle and you can’t help but do so too – she’s that type of woman.
After some initial flops, Jacquie’s grown immeasurably as an actress to become one of the hottest entities in Bollywood. With English being her main language, she has also starred in a couple of English-language films: a British film called Definition of Fear, and another that’s currently in post-production. But as of yet she hasn’t forayed into Hollywood – perhaps that’ll be the next thing on her agenda.
4 Genelia D'Souza
Here’s yet another model turned actress. Genny came into the limelight in the early 2000s when she appeared in an advertisement alongside arguably the best Bollywood actor of all time, Amitabh Bachchan. Casting directors came calling, and pretty soon she was getting calls left, right, and centre, from all corners of India. She utilized the opportunities showing that she’s a versatile actress and began appearing in different language Indian films, including South Indian, and what brought her stardom, Hindi cinema, aka Bollywood.
Genny’s got an utterly cute and kind of cheeky, naughty smile. These cute mannerisms combined with her innocent looks, have been captivating fans for over a decade now in Bollywood; she’s just adorable and because of all of this and her acting ability – which has improved by leaps and bounds – she’s a scene-stealer too. She has made a success of things in no less than six different Indian film industries – six different languages – so it’s about time she tried to make it seven with an English-language Hollywood movie to her name.
3 Ayesha Takia
Some people have said that Ayesha Takia resembles Kim Kardashian – make your own mind up. The similarities aren’t entirely obvious, but Ayesha has certain assets that have made her stand out in Bollywood amongst the mainly conservative heroines.
She’s not shy about showing off her physique and gets fans drooling when she dresses in one of her racy outfits. She’s young, she’s got it, and she wants to flaunt it, and the fans love it and have been lapping it up.
But unfortunately, her fans haven’t been seeing that much of her of late. Over the past four years she’s been absent from the big screen. This coincides with the time she got married and had her first baby. Great for Ayesha and her family, but fans have been missing her!! Perhaps it would take an offer from Hollywood to coax her back into films, because the film industry’s currently making do without some serious talent.
Kajol’s like the Kate Winslet of Bollywood cinema. She’s from the older generation of actresses – having said that, she’s only 42 – but is perhaps the best in the business, renowned for her roles in those typical lovey-dovey, singing and dancing, over-the-top Indian films, pretty much all of which have become major classics.
Kajol’s another head-strong woman. She has stayed true to her conservative Indian values, so while the new crop of actresses are showing more skin and are taking on raunchy roles, she hasn’t given in to peer pressure or gone with the trends. Any other actress may have got left behind, but Kajol’s personality has meant she’s as successful now as she ever has been. Despite once being criticized for her so-called unconventional looks, I’m sure you’ll all agree that she’s incredibly beautiful, she’s also easy going and comfortable in her own skin, and that comes across in her performances. She’s been very quiet as of late, so perhaps it’ll take an offer from Hollywood to get her talking again.
1 Shilpa Shetty
Shilpa Shetty’s yet another actress that’s been very quiet as of late. Aside from a few cameo appearances, her Bollywood career has been non-existent over the past decade, but she’s still one of the most well-known and loved actresses in Bollywood.
Her business ventures have been keeping her away from the big screen, as has motherhood, so the films have taken a back seat. She’s still always in the media though, in the papers, on talk shows discussing this and that, so fans aren’t being starved of their favorite superstar from the 90s and 2000s.
Shilpa’s considered to be one of the best dressed women in Bollywood. She’s considered to be a fashionista in B-town and a fitness expert – she has released numerous fitness DVDs, mainly yoga related. It’s therefore no surprise that she’s managed to maintain her beauty and toned physique through the ages and still sizzle on screen.
Shilpa has said that she’d love to go to Hollywood, and fans would love to see her there too, but she’s probably kissed her chances of appearing in a Hollywood movie goodbye. Google the scandalous Shilpa-Richard Gere smooch and you’ll understand why.