Brand Madhuri vs. Brand Sridevi

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An actress’ career is as long as her single life. Once she gets married, her career, no matter how phenomenal it may have been, comes to a standstill. Yet there are some leading ladies who are not deterred by the odds against them.

Madhuri Dixit is one such name. Her return to India was a welcome surprise. Interestingly, her personal life never crossed ways with her professional life after her return to India, which indicates that she is keen on rebuilding her brand persona more as an individual than as a married actress. The movie Aaja Nachle marked her official comeback to Bollywood. Unfortunately, the movie bombed at the box office re-establishing the fact that the male psyche doesn’t accept a married actress easily.

But the advertising world was quick to pounce on Madhuri’s stardom. Her astutely maintained image of an ideal homemaker and a successful woman made her the perfect choice for many endorsements. What followed was a slew of commercials that brought her closer to the audience. But she was not doing anything different. After all, TV commercials have a reputation of being the lifeline for actresses past their prime. Karishma Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, Sonali Bendre and many more actresses have been doing it and yet none of them could break the glass ceiling.

Madhuri then took to the the high profile reality show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa. The show being high on the star-power quotient drew unparalleled popularity for the actress and revived her Diva image. Besides, it also gave her a chance to build rapport with Karan Johar. Possibly, her item number in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, which garnered extra mileage because of a Ranbir kiss, was an outcome of the same friendship. Her choice to begin afresh with an item number has added new dimensions to her personality and has rekindled hopes in the brand Madhuri.

Her upcoming projects Dedh Ishqiya and Gulab Gang have already soared high on expectations. While Dedh Ishqiya has some sensual scenes filmed between Madhuri and Naseeruddin Shah, Gulab Ganghas Madhuri (portrayed as a heroic character) pitted against a villainous Juhi Chawla. Madhuri’s bold choices and her readiness to share the screen with her arch rival Juhi, speaks volumes about her commitment to sway her career into new avenues.

If there is another actress whose comeback looks promising, then it has to be Sridevi.  Her official comeback movie English Vinglish was a huge success. The movie received rave reviews not only from the audiences but from the critics as well. Sridevi, who has always been known for her bubbly roles, successfully managed to break the image by playing a shy character in English Vinglish.

Sridevi’s next movie is Mr India 2 which is slated to release in 2015. Given the cult movie that Mr. India was, its sequel is bound to be high on anticipations. Added to that, Mr. India 2 will bring back Anil Kapoor and Sridevi after a gap of almost 16 years, something that the audiences will love to see. If the movie succeeds in meeting the standards set by its predecessor, Sridevi’s brand value will be catapulted to new levels. Besides, she might just become one of those few actresses who have achieved such success after returning to the industry as a married woman.

Contrary to Madhuri , Sridevi has chosen a much quieter course to make her way back into the Hindi Cinema. She has hardly been seen doing endorsements and has not judged any reality show till date. It is almost impossible to predict the influence of the small screen on an actress’ career but Sridevi’s rare appearances on the small screen might give her an edge. She will look a much fresher brand than her counterparts who are seen on the small screens frequently. There is also a major ideological difference between the two actresses. While Madhuri is venturing to completely different zones for reinventing her image and her brand persona, Sridevi is not being too experimental with the choice of her roles.

Only time will decide the fate of these actresses. But as two phenomenally successful ladies of the past gear up for their second innings in Bollywood by taking two strategically different routes, it would be interesting to see which route takes the winning course!

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