Birthday Special: Why Juhi Chawla remains one of the best actors we have in the industry

Updated: Nov 13, 2019, 11:40 IST | Vinamra Mathur | Mumbai

For the last three decades, Juhi Chawla has given some incredible performances and films, and what better day than her birthday to reflect upon them!

Picture Courtesy: Official Instagram Account/Juhi Chawla
Picture Courtesy: Official Instagram Account/Juhi Chawla

Aamir Khan wasn't the only name that became an overnight sensation with the blockbuster success of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak in 1988, Juhi Chawla too left the nation in a collective state of reverie. She was both guileless and gorgeous, and the combined vulnerability of the debut leads worked magically for the film's legacy. Not one, but two stars were both that day.

Chawla was an unabashed performer, towering above her heroes and owning the film with her charm and spontaneity. And as she celebrates her birthday on November 13, there couldn't be a better occasion to revisit some of her most splendid and searing performances and films, which will never get rusted and redundant. These characters and portrayals vary drastically in range, displaying her versatility and effortlessness. Have a look at them:

1. Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993)

Juhi Chawla Birthday

In 2007, the nation saw Geet, an unapologetic motormouth. But way before Kareena Kapoor Khan made her idiosyncrasies look cool and charming, there was Vaijanti Iyer of Mahesh Bhatt's Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke that reached there before. Chawla was always a fantastic comic, and this comedy was probably the proof of her chops. Her endless balderdash never felt discomforting or exhausting, on the contrary, we wanted more of her feistiness whenever she was on the screen. It seems for every dour protagonist, Hindi Cinema made an equally dazzling lover.

2. Daraar (1996)

Juhi Chawla Birthday

Abbas-Mustan presented an untapped side of Chawla in this remake of Sleeping With The Enemy. She was a victim of domestic violence and physical abuse at the hands of her psychotic husband. Although remembered for Arbaaz Khan's surprisingly chilling performance, Chawla held her own. Her fear, pain, and anguish all felt real. She could illicit panic as seamlessly as laughter.

3. Ishq (1997)

Juhi Chawla Birthday

A lot has to be said about a performer that can nearly overshadow Aamir Khan twice in her career. In Indra Kumar's Ishq, she was a lot more unfiltered than in Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke. And once again, the actress displayed her blazing comic chops, standing tall and proudly in the same frame as Kajol, Khan and Ajay Devgn. A lot of humour in Ishq relied on farce and innuendo, but she pulled everything off convincingly, without making herself or the audience a fool.

4. My Brother... Nikhil (2005)

Juhi Chawla Birthday

Hindi Cinema, particularly over the last two decades, hasn't done dramas with finesse. But Onir's My Brother... Nikhil remains a worthy title and a much-needed exception. Chawla played Anamika, the eponymous character's sister. He's in love with a man and is diagnosed with AIDS, but Onir doesn't resort to manipulation, the very staple in today's filmmaking. He keeps the tone restrained and the narrative rousing. And at its heart was Chawla's remarkable portrayal of a sister who's about to lose his brother. This film was further proof of why Juhi Chawla is a fine actor.

5. Salaam-E-Ishq (2007)

Juhi Chawla Birthday

Nikkhil Advani's Salaam-E-Ishq didn't do well. It was a story about six couples and their love and complications. It was nearly four hours long and the audiences couldn't connect with most of the characters after a point. Personally, two stories resonated the most, Govinda and that of Juhi Chawla's. Her husband, played by Anil Kapoor, began an extramarital affair as he wanted to break away from the monotony and mundaneness of his life. Chawla, after realising his infidelity, handled her scenes with a heartbreaking approach. It still remains a highly underrated performance in a story that deserved an individual film.

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  • 1/19

    Juhi Chawla was born in Ambala, Haryana to Dr. S. Chawla and Mona Chawla on November 13, 1967. Juhi Chawla is an accomplished dancer having learned Kathak since age 3. She is also proficient in classical singing. (All photos/mid-day archives)

  • 2/19

    Juhi Chawla won the Miss India title and the Best Costume Award for the Miss Universe contest in 1984. Juhi made her Bollywood debut in the 1986 multi-starrer Sultanat.

  • 3/19

    A year later in 1987, she starred in what would be her first-ever regional venture in the Kannada romantic musical Premaloka. The film, which was a loose remake of Grease 2 was also remade in Tamil as Paruva Ragam.

  • 4/19

    Juhi Chawla with Aamir Khan in a still from the 1988 superhit Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. The film which was an adaptation of 'Romeo and Juliet' became a critical and commercial success catapulting Chawla into superstardom

  • 5/19

    Juhi Chawla won the Filmfare Lux New Face Award and received her first nomination for Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in the film Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.

  • 6/19

    A picture of Juhi Chawla with filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and Chiranjeevi. Juhi and south star Chiranjeevi starred together in 1990 hit Pratibandh and the 1994 south remake of The Gentleman.

  • 7/19

    Juhi Chawla with Rishi Kapoor in a still from a film. Both co-starred in several films, the most notable of them being the 1992 hit Bol Radha Bol. The film secured her another nomination for the Filmfare Best Actress Award.

  • 8/19

    Juhi Chawla with Jackie Shroff and Amrita Singh in a still from the 1993 film Aaina. The film's story, which was based on sibling rivalry became a blockbuster hit solidifying Chawla's status as a leading lady in the 1990s.

  • 9/19

    Juhi Chawla with Sunny Deol in a still from a film. Both co-starred in the 1993 hit Darr which saw Shah Rukh Khan in a negative role.

  • 10/19

    Juhi Chawla with Shah Rukh Khan in a still from the 1997 film Yes Boss. This film along with Darr (1993) and Duplicate (1998) are some of the most memorable films that the duo are remembered for.

  • 11/19

    Juhi Chawla with Shah Rukh Khan in a still from the 1998 film Duplicate. The actress' mother tragically died in a freak car accident in Prague where the actress was shooting for the film.

  • 12/19

    Juhi Chawla married industrialist Jay Mehta. The couple has two children, a daughter named Janhavi and a son named Arjun. Juhi and hubby Jay are also co-owners of the IPL Kolkata Knight Riders in partnership with her frequent co-star Shah Rukh Khan.

  • 13/19

    Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan were also co-owners of a production company called Dreamz Unlimited with director Aziz Mirza. They made the films Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, Asoka and Chalte Chalte under the company's banner.

  • 14/19

    Juhi Chawla with Anil Kapoor in a still from the 1998 comedy Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate. The film which, was Hrishikesh Mukherjee's last directorial venture was reminiscent of his light-hearted classic comedies from the 70s like Chupke Chupke.

  • 15/19

    Juhi Chawla with Sanjay Dutt in a still from the 1999 film Safari. Although, the film failed to ring the cash registers at the box office the pairing of Dutt and Chawla proved to be entertaining. Both co-starred years later in the 2012 film Son of Sardaar.

  • 16/19

    Although she only did commercial films during her early career; Juhi Chawla started appearing in independent and art films, and her work in the genre included the critically acclaimed films 3 Deewarein, and My Brother Nikhil; films that were considered by critics as the finest in her career.

  • 17/19

    Juhi Chawla has also been presenter and host of numerous television shows, particularly award ceremonies.

  • 18/19

    She was a judge for the dance reality show 'Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa' alongside Saroj Khan and Vaibhavi Merchant during the show's third season. She was last seen on big screen in Chalk n Duster (2017). She also did a cameo in Gujarati remake of Marathi film Ventilator (2018).

  • 19/19

    Juhi Chawla is still going strong! The actress was seen in Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga which also starred Anil Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao. We wish her a very happy birthday!

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