Kareena Kapoor has completed 19 years in the film industry today. The actor made her debut alongside Abhishek Bachchan in J.P. Dutta’s war drama Refugee for which she won the best debut award. She was appreciated for her craft even then and many critics had begun to appreciate and vouch for her skills just after the actor’s first few films.
In a interview to film critic Anupama Chopra around the release of her debut film, Kareena had said that she looked upon actors of the 50’s like Madhubala for inspiration and wanted to leave a mark like that with her skill set.
As the film industry and fans celebrate the actor’s journey in Bollywood, here is a look at five of her iconic performances that established her as an actor of her own might also being an inspiration to others who followed suit.
In 2004, she played a prostitute in Sudhir Mishra’s Chameli. Initially unwilling to do the role, she later came around and was appreciated for her performance so much that she even received a special jury recognition at the 49th Filmfare Awards. The film also had Rahul Bose in the lead.
In the same year, Kareena also starred in Govind Nihalani’s critically acclaimed drama Dev which had Amitabh Bachchan, Fardeen Khan, Om Puir and Amrish Puri in key roles.The film revolved around the 2002 Gujarat riots and won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Film while Kareena won the Critics Best Actress award.
In 2006, Kareena starred in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean adaption of Othello alongside Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan. In the film she portrayed the character of Desdemona in a tragedy set in the backdrop of the political system in Uttar Pradesh. Kapoor considered her role in Omkara as a new benchmark in her career and compared her portrayal of the character with her own evolving maturity as a woman.
Jab We Met
After Omkara, Kareena took a short break and became selective about the films she did. In 2007, she returned with Imtiaz Ali’s, by far the most iconic film, Jab We Met, alongside Shahid Kapoor. In the film, she played a Sikh girl from Bathinda, who is vivacious and full of life, completely opposite to the character played by Shahid Kapoor.
After Jab We Met, the actor went on to do many commercially and critically successful films , but for one which she was most appreciated for, was for her portrayal of a successful film actress whose career is on the decline in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine. The film received mixed reviews, both at the box office and by the critics.