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Top 10 Divas of Hindi Cinema: List of My Favourites

Chitrangada loves the richness of Indian art, culture and traditions. As a writer, she wants to spread information about Indian culture.


"A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

—John Keats


Beauties that did not live long, but left their impressions forever--Madhubala and Meenakumari

Beauties that did not live long, but left their impressions forever--Madhubala and Meenakumari

Beautiful Actresses of The Black and White Era of Bollywood

The World is full of beautiful faces, wonderful features with immense talent. Some beauties remain in our memory, even when they are gone.

Beauty has always inspired great poets and writers.

Indian Cinema is no exception. It has seen eternal beauties with powerhouse performances, since it’s beginning. There are so many talented actresses, that it wouldn't be fair to list them.

This is also true that in the early days of the Hindi cinema, there was no trend to compare these Divas, according to their acting talent or beauty.

But nowadays, one can see on the television, or read in the magazines, the interesting lists, covering the actors and actresses. This list may vary in accordance with their beauty, talent, dancing talent, academic talent, their money making capabilities and so on.

When I thought of writing about my favourite divas, I couldn't help going back in time, to the black and white era of the Hindi cinema. This may be, because I have seen the pioneers performing.

Naturally, the list made by me would be different, from the one made by some of the youngsters.

My all time favourites


Madhubala, the timeless beauty, is often referred to as the 'Venus' of the Indian cinema.

Madhubala, who acted in the hit films like Mughle azam, Mr. and Mrs. 55, Mahal, Kala Paani, Chalti Ka Naam Gadi and many other films, remains in the public memory as the ultimate beauty even now.

Meena Kumari

One of the most adorable, prominent actress of all times, known for her beauty and acting talent is Meena Kumari.

She is often referred to as 'The Tragedy Queen'. She had a tragic personal life, and she too died quite young, like Madhubala. She is known for her Classic films, such as Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam, Pakeezah and others.

The times when Madhubala, Meena kumari or Nargis became actresses, was quite different from the times of today, when girls come well prepared, and are quite aware, about what they are doing.

Some lesser known facts about Madhubala, who died very young, source: YouTube


Powerful performers--Nargis and Nutan

Powerful performers--Nargis and Nutan


Nargis is considered as one of the most talented actress of Hindi Cinema, not only for the commercial films, but the critically acclaimed ones too.

She was honoured with many awards and rewards, and she was the first one to be awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India.

She has done many cult films such as Mother India, Chori Chori, Shri 420, Pyasa and others.

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One of the finest and most powerful performer, Nutan has acted in a variety of films and has many awards to her credit.

Known for her spontaneous acting, her memorable films, that I admire the most are Seema, Bandini, Sujata, Tere Ghar Ke Samne, Saraswatichandra and many others.


Vyjayantimala and Waheeda Rehman

Vyjayantimala and Waheeda Rehman


Vyjayanthimala is an actress, with multiple talents and is a living legend. She is a Southern beauty, and has done some very popular films in Hindi. She is a celebrated Bharatnatyam dancer, and her contribution to the Indian Classical dance is an example, to many other dancers and actresses.

Her dance numbers in movies are unmatched, and in her times, people sometimes watched a movie only because of her Dance performances. Some of her memorable films are Madhumati, Mahal, Jewel Thief, Amrapali and others.

Waheeda Rehman

Another living legend of Hindi cinema, who has been admired for her grace and simplicity, combined with acting talent, is Waheeda Rehman.

She has a memorable list of impressive films, such as Pyasa, Kagaz ke Phool, Guide, Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam, Chaudhavi ka Chand, Mujhe jeene do, Khamoshi and many other wonderful films.

Dancing diva -Vyjayantimala , source: YouTube

Hema Malini

Hema Malini is one of the most successful actress commercially, and still gives competition to actresses of today, by her graceful presence in the films.

She has a long list of hit films, among which my favourites are Johny mera naam, Sholay, Khushboo, Seeta aur Geeta, Baghban, and many more.

She is a living legend, again a beauty from the Southern India, and now a member of the Indian Parliament too.

She is fondly referred to, as the 'Dream girl.'

Her contribution to Indian Classical dance is to be reckoned with. She has done, and keeps on doing, Dance Drama, stage shows, and this is a noble way to keep the Art and culture relevant with the masses.


When we talk of ageless beauty with infinite grace, it is the name of Rekha that comes to my mind instantly.

She has done some excellent films such as Ghar, Khoobsurat, Khoon Bhari Maang, Umrao Jaan and others with very strong female characters.

Rekha, the diva and an inspiration to many young girls, had weight issues when she started her career. It is amazing, how she transformed herself, and has maintained it, and it would not be wrong to say, that she is getting better and better, with each passing year of her life.

She was a Box office hit machine, and has done some memorable films commercially.

Her performance in Umrao jaan won her the National award, besides many other awards.

Hema Malini

Beauty with grace and talent--Hema Malini and Rekha

Beauty with grace and talent--Hema Malini and Rekha


Sridevi is a South Indian beauty and prior to appearing in Hindi Cinema, she worked successfully in many Southern languages films. She has worked with big banners in Hindi films, and was considered a guarantee for a Box Office hit film.

Sadma, Nagin, Lamhe, Chandni, Khuda Gawah, Mr. India and recently English Vinglish are some pf her memorable films which made her a super actress of her times.

She is immensely talented in Indian Classical Dance too.

Madhuri Dixit

Madhuri Dixit is an accomplished dancer with the Indian Classic beauty. She is still a darling of the masses. There is something about her dancing talent, which is unique and seems different from other great dancers in Indian Classical dancing. Her dancing style is most spontaneous and effortless. She excells in both contemporary and classical Indian dance styles.

Powerful acting with Dance talent is the ingredient for success for this Diva. Her successful list of films includes Abodh, Tezaab, Parinda, Beta, Khalnayak, Hum aapke hain kaun, Lajja, Devdas and many more.

Aishwarya Rai

Earlier a model, then Miss India- World, then Miss World, and thereafter a successful actress in Hindi cinema, and many other Indian languages--Aishwarya Rai has also done some very impressive International films, as well.

A true definition of Beauty plus Brains, she has managed her career extremely well, and is an inspiration to the young generation.

Among her films, my favourite ones are Hum dil de chuke sanam, Taal, Devdas, Guru, Jodha Akbar, Khamoshi, Jajba, to name some of them.


Sri Devi and Madhuri Dixit -- Beauty, talent and dancing divas

Sri Devi and Madhuri Dixit -- Beauty, talent and dancing divas

Aishwarya Rai

Aishwarya Rai-- Former Miss World, Philanthropist, Beauty and immense talent !

Aishwarya Rai-- Former Miss World, Philanthropist, Beauty and immense talent !

To Sum Up

This is just a small tribute to the Timeless beauties of the Indian Cinema, and I can tell you with certainty, that this is a very small list.

There are so many more, who deserve to be included in this list, and according to other’s perspective, the list could be different.

My aim is just to highlight some of the incredible beauties, and share the joy of having their presence, even today with their awe-inspiring personalities.

Mention your favourites in the comment section. I would be happy to hear from the readers.

References : To know more about Bollywood actresses, you can checkout these reliable websites

1. Bollywood actresses, via Wikipedia

2. Bollywood Via IMDB

3. Golden era of Bollywood, Via The Culture Trip

Some contemporary beauties of Bollywood, source: You tube

Hindi Movie Actresses, Source: YouTube

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Chitrangada Sharan

Who is your favourite Bollywood actress? Please mention in the comments section.

kato the slave. on April 02, 2019:

Such inner calm to add to their graciousness.

Gadfly from Olde London Towne on April 01, 2019:

There is no jewell more precious than Woman !

Old Sanskrit saying.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 18, 2017:

Thanks Gadfly for your kind visit and comments on this article!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 16, 2017:

Thanks MISBAH for reading and commenting on this article!

MISBAH on October 16, 2017:

No one was like her, no one is like her, no one will be like her----------MADHUBALA---The most innocent beautiful person on EARTH.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on July 03, 2017:

Thank you Gadfly for your beautiful comments!

You described the divas of Hindi cinema so beautifully.

There is no doubt that there are many beautiful heroines but it needs something extra to be a Diva. A lot of talent, beauty, grace, screen presence and mass appeal is needed to be an eternal beauty and to be always remembered with fondness.

Thank you for your valuable comments.

Have a wonderful day!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on July 01, 2017:

Yes Surendra Ji , Nalini Jaywant was also a timeless beauty and there are many more in the Indian film industry. But it's not possible to include all names in a single article.

Thanks for your kind visit and valuable comments!

surendra kumar on July 01, 2017:

What you think about timeless beauty nalini jaywant.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on February 27, 2017:

Thanks for reading and commenting limpet!

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on February 27, 2017:

Aishwarya Rai most definately has a destiny to fulfil.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 03, 2016:

Thanks limpet for stopping by and your comments!

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on October 03, 2016:

I was initially impressed by Madhubala's picture and decided to look up the Hindi meaning of her name 'sweet' as in honey, and 'maiden'. Funny how when we went to Saturday cinema matinee as kids how Hollywood whenever a film was set in India, they got it all wrong depicting the people culture and locales. One particular movie (they were all adventure stories) had a Swedish born actress performing a middle eastern belly dance. She was supposed to be a Hindi princess. Oh and it was shot in Morocco with Moroccan extras as Indians.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on July 25, 2016:

Thank you Surabhi, for appreciating the hub!

I do understand that many younger people would not be able to relate to my list . There are so many multi talented heroines these days. I also agree that there have been many more classic beauties in Indian cinema. Isn't it beautiful that we have so many talented artists in the film industry to look up to as role models, each one special in their own way.

Thanks again and have a good day!

Surabhi Kaura on July 25, 2016:

A well-researched article, Chitrangada ji. I like Madhubala. Well, I have always admired Sushmita Sen. She has a good sense of humour, beauty along with great oratory skills. Nice hub!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 15, 2016:

Thank you Shaloo, for reading and commenting on this hub!

Yes Juhi Chawla and Kajol are equally beautiful and talented and there are so many more in the film industry.

Thanks again and have a good day!

Shaloo Walia from India on January 15, 2016:

Madhubala is indeed a classic beauty! I also like Juhi Chawla and Kaajol- both are so vivacious and amazing actresses.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 08, 2016:

Thank you Rajan ji, for reading and commenting on this hub!

I have also seen and admired many movies of these great actresses. I hope the young generation gets some idea of these talented heroines through this hub.

Thank you for sharing your views!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 07, 2016:

Old timers like me surely have seen numerous films of each one of these actresses. And for the impact the black and white medium provided a perfect foil.

Truly remarkable was each one. Madhubala and Vyjantimala are my favorites.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 07, 2016:

Thank you Nithya, for coming back to read this hub! Yes you are right these two heroines are so maintained.

Thank you again!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 06, 2016:

Came back to read again. Hema Malini and Rekha are my favorites. Hema Malini never ages, she still looks so very beautiful.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 15, 2014:

Thank you Nash, for your kind visit and comments!

Glad you liked the list and I agree the list can be different for different people. Obviously there are many-many other beautiful actresses in Hindi cinema, but its not possible to include all names in a single article.


Nash on October 15, 2014:

Nice list . But you missed out on some real beauties . Sridevi and Nargis ? Nope . Both are good actresses but I doubt if they would make it to a list of beautiful women .

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on May 31, 2014:

Thank you prashant ng, for visiting this article and sharing your views!

Madhubala is an all time favorite, no doubt.


prashant ng on May 31, 2014:

there is something about madhubala that separates her from the rest. no indian actress has ever enchanted me like her.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on May 29, 2014:

Thank you Jodah, for your kind visit and positive comments!

Besides being beautiful they are talented too and have given many memorable movies as well.

Thanks and have a good day!

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on May 28, 2014:

Hi hitrangadasharan. These are all beautiful actresses. have not seen many Indian or Hindi so I don't know if I have actually seen any of ther movies but I am sure they were/are good actresses. Thank you for sharing.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on May 25, 2014:

Thanks Vellur, for your appreciation and vote up!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 24, 2014:

A great hub to timeless beautiful women, each one a legend in their own way. Enjoyed reading and voted up.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on March 21, 2014:

Thank you wqaindia, for your kind visit and wonderful words of appreciation!

I am glad you liked this small effort. As they say, 'Old is Gold.' These divas are the pioneers of Indian cinema and their contribution can not be described within few words.

Thanks again!

Ashok Goyal from 448 Dalima Vihar Rajpura 140401 Punjab India on March 20, 2014:

Memories of yesteryears so finely collected and current memories preserved as a great History in the shape of Hub. This hub is immortal as memories and history lives for ever. Feeling overjoyed to read the Hub and the embedded video.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on March 04, 2014:

Thanks Harishprasad, for your visit and appreciative comments!

I agree with you that these talented, graceful actors are unforgettable and in fact part of our lives. Old songs are so melodious and soothing too.

Suggestion noted! I will write a hub about the great male actors in near future.

Thanks for your beautiful comments and motivation!

Harish Mamgain from New Delhi , India on February 28, 2014:

All these beautiful and talented actors cannot be forgotten ever in our lifetime. It seems they and their films are part of our lives. Even the songs filmed on them are so wonderful that we still remember them and try to sing them in our solitude with great relish. The songs are such great stress-busters. ChitrangdaSharan, you have presented a real gem. How I wish there were a similar article by you covering great male actors too ! Thank you very much.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on February 13, 2014:

You have a valid point there!

Thanks for visiting and sharing your opinion!

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on February 13, 2014:

All are beautiful ladies for sure but since it is much easier to make a heroine much more beautiful in black and white than in colour HD no wonder most of beautiful heroines were in balck and white era. voting up and interesting.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on February 11, 2014:

Thanks aviannovice, for your kind visit and support!

I am glad you liked the information. Thanks and have a good day!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on February 10, 2014:

These are all multitalented women. Thanks for the great information.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 28, 2014:

Thanks Imogen French, for your kind visit and appreciation!

I am really glad that I have aroused your interest in Indian cinema through this hub. I am sure you can find some films on You tube with English subtitles.

Thank you so much for your support!

Imogen French from Southwest England on January 28, 2014:

Indian cinema is a genre that I really haven't explored yet, but I think it is time I did. Thanks for a very interesting article that has inspired me to look further into these films. Hopefully I can find some with English subtitles :-)

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 28, 2014:

Thanks Devika, for your continued support and appreciation!

Indian Cinema has changed a lot and by that I mean for better. Lot of meaningful Content rich Cinema has been made. You can enjoy them on the Internet too.


Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 28, 2014:

Thanks billybuc, for your kind visit, support and comments!

Your observations are much appreciated!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 28, 2014:

Thanks sujaya venkatesh, for your visit and comments!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 28, 2014:

The Timeless Beauties Of Indian Cinema: Divas Of Hindi Films sounds great I last watched Indian movies in the eighties

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 28, 2014:

They are beauties for sure. Thank you for the cinema history lesson. I never would have known without this article.

sujaya venkatesh on January 28, 2014:

pretty damsels on silver screen

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