“The ‘90s were the worst decade for fashion,” exclaim all critics. The ‘90s were also considered to be a disaster for Bollywood, although it was the golden age for Indian television. This contrast sometimes boggles the mind but then there’s no denying how the biggest superstars in Bollywood (who’re still ruling the box-office) were the products of the ‘90s.  

But then, there were some actresses who didn’t really get their due because of the kind of shoddy films that were created during that era (the era mostly objectified women where they only served as sex symbols or pin-up dolls). And one of them is Shilpa Shetty, who can be considered one of the most underused actresses in Bollywood. 

Beautiful, stylish and immensely talented, Shilpa Shetty exuded a lot of grace on-screen and was considered a sex symbol then, but then her untapped potential (which most directors failed to notice) was one of the reasons why she isn’t counted among the bigwigs of the industry.

So today, on her birthday, here’s taking a look at some of her absolutely soul-stirring performances that mesmerize us every time we watch her on-screen.

 

Darna Mana Hai

Ram Gopal Varma (then) possessed this uncanny ability to get the best out of his actors. He gave us the intense Urmila Matondkar, who was yet another actress who didn’t get her due in Bollywood. Darna Mana Hai was a tale about six friends who are stranded in a highway and in order to pass some time, they begin narrating horror stories to each other. Shilpa Shetty shone in one of the eerie tales where she played a housewife, alongside Rajpal Yadav (who plays a vendor). She was a natural in that role and we surely think RGV did a fine job by tapping her potential and bringing out her versatility.

Rishtey (2002)

Shilpa impressed the audiences with her small, but powerful role as an eccentric and lively fisherwoman who falls for an already married Anil Kapoor whose wife has walked out of his life due to her father’s misguidance. 

Dhadkan

 

A romantic drama, Dhadkan finally focused on the actress (not as a sex symbol) where she played to perfection a beautifully etched character who is torn between two lovers (one was her ex, while the other was her husband). This meaty role is also considered one of her career best. 

Phir Milenge 

Shilpa aced this role of a woman who is HIV positive and whose employers fire her from the agency when they discover her secret. Upset by the unfair dismissal, Shilpa seeks a lawyer to fight her case and to restore her dignity.   

Life in a Metro

With Anurag Basu’s Life in a Metro, the audiences discovered the hidden versatility that Shilpa Shetty was nursing all this while. Far away from the sex symbol (and item girl) image that she was stereotyped with, this path breaking film was critically acclaimed for its sensitive story about love, heartbreak, extra-marital affairs, and life in general. Shilpa plays the role of a married woman who falls in love with another man. Beautifully enacted, Shilpa shone throughout the film, even with the presence of other ace actors such as Kangana Ranaut, Shiney Ahuja and Kay Kay Menon. 

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