Okay, so I'm starting a new little feature where I look at promising Bollywood actors/actresses who never really made it, or those who did but seem to have fallen off the face of the earth. My first subject? Antara Mali.
Remember Antara? The gorgeous bombshell with a body to die for and abs to kill for? She often collaborated with Ram Gopal Varma, initially appearing in small roles in films like Prema Katha, Mast, and Khiladi 420 (I honestly don't remember her in any of these films). Antara finally made her mark in the 2002 film Company in a critically acclaimed performance for which she received a Filmfare nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Antara seemed to bear a slight resemblance to Daud-era Urmila Matondkar, another one of RGV's favorites. Coincidence? Hmmm...
Antara was an unconventional actress. She never played a "typical" Bollywood heroine. Her roles were different and her films often unusual (note: Road, Naach, Gayab). I fell in love with Antara in 2003 after watching the hugely underrated film Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon. With this film, Antara proved herself to be perhaps the only actress able to actually compete with Madhuri's dancing skills.
Main Madhuri... was not at all a commercial success to the point where it was actually pulled out of many cinemas midweek due to poor box office performance. After this film came the failed Naach and Gayab. Antara once again displayed her superior acting dancing skills in Naach but lack of a compelling story made the film an understandable failure. In 2005, Antara tried her hand at directing in the film Mr. Ya Miss where she also starred alongside Aftab Shivdasani. While the story was not an original one, the movie was funny and entertaining and Antara showcased her talents as a comedic actress.
After Mr. Ya Miss, Antara reportedly "quit" the film industry, never to be seen again. Or so I thought. Upon researching her current whereabouts, I found that Antara actually had a 2010 release that went largely unnoticed: an Amol Palekar film called And Once Again where she plays a bald Buddhist monk. I only found one review for the film, which was negative. But stills show that Antara is just as beautiful without hair on her head!
Unfortunately, And Once Again does not mark a comeback for Antara Mali who is currently married to GQ editor Che Kurrien and now lives life out of the spotlight. In her relatively short film career, Antara managed to make an impact on my Bollywood life, as I still recognize her as one of the most beautiful and talented Hindi film actresses. I urge you to check out Road and Main Madhuri... if you haven't already!