She danced to Ek do teen on the screen way back in the ’80s and has been ruling our hearts ever since. Madhuri Dixit was a true phenomenon. She was a female superstar in her own right who gave out hits after hits year after year like the change of the seasons. The rains might come late but a Madhuri Dixit film always delivered on time. Barring Amitabh Bachchan, she was paired with almost all the top male stars of her era and didn’t just play arm candy to them. Her roles got an equal, if not better footage. And her dance numbers were a thing of beauty indeed. On the occasion of her birthday today, we bring to you a list of her top hits down the years. Enjoy their dhak dhak exuberance during the present lockdown scenario.
Director: N Chandra
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Chunky Pandey, Anupam Kher, Kiran Kumar
Anil Kapoor plays a young collegian who wants nothing else but to join the navy and serve his country but circumstances force him to take to a life of crime. The film highlighted the seething anger felt by the society which is mostly kept in check but acts like acid when erupted. It didn’t have a larger-than-life villain but a normal slumlord ruling over his denizens through use of fear. Munna (Anil Kapoor) locks horns with him in order to save his girlfriend (Mohini) and is forced to go all mano-a-mano with the goon in the climax in order to end his reign and also to finally give closure to his own pent up resentment and anger. The film had an undercurrent of violence running throughout and wasn’t just another breezy masala entertainer. The song Ek do teen from the film picturised on Madhuri made her a superstar and is still famous today.
Ram Lakhan (1989)
Director: Subhash Ghai
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Dimple Kapadia, Madhuri Dixit, Raakhee, Amrish Puri, Paresh Rawal, Anupam Kher
When Sharda’s (Raakhee) husband is murdered by his two evil cousins, Bhishamber (Amrish Puri) and Bhanu (Paresh Rawal), and she and her two young sons are thrown out on the street, she swears that her two sons will avenge all this after growing up. The elder Ram (Jackie Shroff) grows up to be an upstanding police officer. The younger Laxman (Anil Kapoor) too joins the police as he feels it’s an easy way to make money. He gets corrupted easily by the bribes he gets and it’s up to Ram to make his brother see the light of the day. Madhuri Dixit played Laxman’s sweetheart Radha. Subhash Ghai had reportedly offered her a dance number in Karma, which got edited out. He promised to make up for it and the result was this film. Her pairing with Anil Kapoor was charismatic and she made her dance numbers O Ramji and Bekadar bekhabar look enchanting indeed.
Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Cast: Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Madhuri Dixit, Anupam Kher
Vidhu Vinod Chopra made a gritty underworld saga. It was a kind of a pioneering product of the neo-noir gangster genre later taken up by Ram Gopal Varma and Anurag Kashyap. Kishan (Jackie Shroff) and Karan (Anil Kapoor) are orphans growing up in Mumbai. To provide a better life for his younger brother, Kishan joins Anna’s (Nana Patekar) gang and soon becomes his most trusted lieutenant. Karan sees his friend inspector Prakash being killed by Anna’s henchmen and joins hands with Anna so he can kill those responsible. He starts exacting his revenge, by taking out his targets one-by-one. He romances and marries Paro (Madhuri Dixit), Prakash’s sister and his childhood sweetheart. They are killed on their wedding night as Anna gets to know of Karan’s duplicity, leading to Kishan killing Anna by burning him alive. The film became known for a rather risque honeymoon scene between Madhuri and Anil. Her realistic portrayal of Paro was admired.
Director: Indra Kumar
Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Aamir Khan, Saeed Jaffrey, Deven Varma, Anupam Kher
Inder Kumar made a college romance with plenty of melodramatic twists and turns. Madhu (Madhuri Dixit) and Raja’s romance starts with them playing pranks on each other. She even goes to the extent of making false charges of rape on him and is smitten when he doesn’t retaliate. They genuinely come to like each other. Meanwhile, his father Hazariprasad (Anupam Kher) pretends to be a rich man so he can get his son married to Mr Mehra’s (Saeed Jaffrey) daughter, who happens to be Madhu. When Mehra learns of this duplicity, he humiliates Hazari Prasad. The two become sworn enemies. The two children secretly marry however and are disowned by their respective parents. When Raja gets injured, Hazari Prasad helps Madhu on the condition that she leaves his life forever. He lies to his son later that she left him. On knowing the truth, he rushes to the airport to stop her from flying away and their world is complete once more. The chemistry between Madhuri and Aamir in the film was out of this world indeed. Khambe jaisi khadi hai shot on them became a rage. The other songs like O piya piya, Hum pyar karne wale, Humne ghar choda hai became popular as well.
Director: Lawrence D’Souza
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit
Two macho stars hellbent on sacrificing their love for the leading lady to prove their friendship to each other might look like an overly dramatic premise today. However, Hindi cinema has been brought up on the bros-before-hoes tradition like nobody’s business. The film was said to be inspired by the play Cyrano de Bergerac. Sanjay Dutt’s character is a handicapped orphan brought up by Salman Khan’s parents. The two grow up as brothers and would readily die for each other. While the former has a reserved personality, the latter is a playboy of sorts. Sanjay Dutt writes poetry under a pseudonym and a popular singer, played by Madhuri, sings them at her shows and is smitten by him. He likes her but when he hears that his best friend too pines for her, he lets Salman borrow his pen-name and pretend to be a poet. Whether the singer loves just the lines or the actual man behind them is the dilemma offered by the musical. Songs like Mera dil bhi kitna paagal hai, Bahut pyar karte hain, and Dekha hai pehli baar are still a hit.
Director: Indra Kumar
Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor, Aruna Irani
Beta is an official remake of 1987 Tamil movie Enga Chinna Rasa (1987). Madhuri plays Saraswati, the good-natured wife of Raju (Anil Kapoor). He has blind devotion towards his stepmom, Laxmi (Aruna Irani) and can’t see through her mechanisms. Laxmi has deliberately brought him up as a simpleton as she wants to control him for his wealth. When Saraswati comes to know about it, there ensues a war of wits between her and her mother-in-law. It was a film about family dynamics and Madhuri excelled as an intelligent and loving wife who must make her husband realise the truth about his stepmother. Her confrontation scenes with Aruna Irani were the life of the film. The film had the famous Dhak dhak karne laga song picturised on Madhuri. Songs Koyal si teri boli and Saiyan ji se chup ke were hits as well.
Khal Nayak (1993)
Director: Subhash Ghai
Cast: Jackie Shroff, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt
Subhash Ghai turned the anti-hero into a hero in this tale about a villain being smitten by the heroine. It was a modern take on the Ramayana story with all kinds of bangs and whistles thrown in. Madhuri plays an undercover police officer who dresses up as a nautch girl in order to capture a criminal called Ballu (Sanjay Dutt). She’s doing it all to restore the reputation of her fiancee Ram (Jackie Shroff), who has been accused of aiding Ballu’s escape from jail. She comes to know of Ballu’s past and she helps him escape being shot by the police. Ballu, who likes and admires her, finally gets reformed through love when he hears that she will in all probability be handed out a rigorous punishment and surrenders himself in court before that happens. The film created history because of the hugely controversial Choli ke peeche kya hai song, which remains one of the best songs ever picturised on Madhuri. It was her grace and charm that made the song stand out and made us forget the double entendre contained in the lyrics.
Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994)
Director: Sooraj Barjatya
Cast: Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Renuka Shahane, Mohnish Bahl
The film gave us a flowchart about how an arranged marriage works. First the parents have a get-together, then the engagement takes place and the various ancillary ceremonies culminating in the D-Day. Madhuri Dixit played Renuka Shahane’s younger sister who falls in love with her sister’s brother-in-law. The two Marathi girls were the perfect epitome of sibling love. The film showed romance blossoming between the groom’s brother and the bride’s sister and then dived deep into melodrama when the elder sister dies and the younger is compelled to marry her brother-in-law for the sake of their newborn kid. Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit’s chemistry was palpable indeed and made us believe in sanskari love. They came across as real people despite the OTT display of emotions. Composer Raamlaxman reached a musical high with this one, what with every song, be it Didi tera devar deewana, Pehla pehla pyar hai, or the title song proving to be hugely popular.
Director: Indra Kumar
Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Kapoor
Raja became a huge hit on the basis of Madhuri Dixit’s histrionics. She carried the film on her formidable shoulders and people started saying it should have been called Rani instead. Raja (Sanjay Kapoor) and Madhu (Madhuri Dixit) were promised to each other in marriage when children, thanks to the friendship between Rana Mahendra Pratap Garewal (Mukesh Khanna) and Vishwa (Dalip Tahil) — Madhu’s brother with Brijnath (Paresh Rawal), Sanjay Dutt’s brother. Brijnath suffers a setback in business and becomes poor. Rana and Vishwa break the arrangement when they learn of this. Brijnath suffers mental shock because of that and Raja now supports him by whatever means he can. Raja and Madhu fall in love and get married despite opposition from her brothers. They pay someone to dress up like Brijnath and asks him to enter Madhu’s room when she’s alone. Madhu feels Brijnath has come to molest her in her husband’s absence and this leads to a huge misunderstanding between the two. How everything gets sorted forms the crux of the story.
Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)
Director: Yash Chopra
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Karisma Kapoor
Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) and Nisha (Karisma Kapoor) are the best of friends and perform dance-based plays along with their troupe. Pooja (Madhuri Dixit) is a classically trained dancer and is hopelessly romantic. Their paths cross when Nisha injures her leg during rehearsals and Rahul has to cast for someone new to play the lead in his new play Maya. Nisha, who is secretly in love with Rahul, is jealous of Pooja taking her place. The jealousy deepens when she becomes aware that Rahul is falling for Pooja. Ajay (Akshay Kumar), Pooja’s fiance, arrives at this stage. Rahul is devastated but the film gears towards a happy ending when Ajay sacrifices his love upon finding out Pooja’s and Rahul’s true feelings for each other. The film featured a dance playoff between Nisha and Pooja, with Nisha not caring for her injury in order to go one up on Pooja. Madhuri and SRK make you believe in their characters and you do sympathise with Nisha’s angst as well. Unheralded composer Uttam Singh got the biggest hit of his life with the film and songs like the title track, Le gayi le gayi, Koi ladki hai and more still resonate with us today.
Director: Rajkumar Santoshi
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Namrata Shirodkar, Danny Denzongpa, Om Puri
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned — or so they say. Anjali (Madhuri Dixit) and Major Jaidev Rajvansh (Anil Kapoor) are childhood friends. When he returns to his hometown a war hero, their elders want them to be married off during the holidays. But Jaidev has been smitten by Miss India, Pooja Mallapa (Namrata Shirodkar) and wants to marry her instead. Bitten by jealousy, Anjali plans Jaidev’s ruin. She hurts his reputation by leaking out false information which makes it seems like he was in cahoots with dreaded terrorist Abhrush (Danny Denzongpa). Later, she realises her mistake and repents. She wants to undo the damage she had done and restore the reputation of her beloved and is willing to lay down even her life towards that goal. Apart from her histrionics, the film became known for the song Kay sera sera, picturised on her and Prabhu Deva.
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
It’s based on the 1917 Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Bengali novel of the same name. Shah Rukh Khan plays Devdas, a wealthy law graduate who returns from London and finds himself in love with his next-door neighbour Paro (Aishwarya). However, because of the class difference between them, his family doesn’t consent to their marriage. Devdas becomes heartbroken and becomes an alcoholic because of the pain of separation from his childhood sweetheart. Paro’s mother marries her into a family which is richer than Devdas’ family. She marries a widower with children who has no interest in her. Devdas finds succour in the arms of a courtesan Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit). Madhuri made us fall in love with Chandramukhi’s character, lending it the kind of gravitas it deserved. She seemed to have entered the spirit of Sarat Babu’s original story. Her song numbers like Maar daala and Kaahe chhed were simply out of this world. Devdas, despite Chandramukhi’s ministrations, just can’t reconcile himself with the separation and his health deteriorates. In the end, he takes his last breath at the gate of Paro’s new home. She can only watch helplessly from afar as he dies.