In Indian society, among the never-ending list of taboos and societal conservatism, prostitution has always raised eyebrows and been spoken about in whispered voices, if at all. And playing the role of a hooker on screen? Well, let’s just say it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The intense scrutiny of the performance and the seamless combination of boldness, beauty and confidence needed for the role is unimaginable.

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However, there are quite a few actresses in Bollywood, who have played the role of a sex worker with incredible perfection. These are the top 10 actresses who have completely blown us away with their praiseworthy portrayals of a Scarlet woman:

1. Meena Kumari

Meena Kumari’s powerful performance in the movie “Pakeezah” is nothing short of a masterpiece! The golden-hearted Lucknow prostitute played by her won the movie immense critical acclaim.

bollywood actresses as hookers

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2. Sharmila Tagore

Sharmila Tagore’s double role in “Mausam” of a mother and a daughter who turns to prostitution is considered one of her greatest performances to date. She also played the role of Pushpa in Amar Prem, of which the dialogue by Rajesh Khanna, ‘Pushpa, I hate tears’ is from.

bollywood actresses as hookers

Picture Source  Bollywood actresses as hookers

3. Rekha

Rekha is another actress who defined the role of a prostitute in the early 80s, in “Umrao Jaan” as Umrao Jaan Ada, the tragic tawaif who had no luck in life or love and is left alone in a brothel for her life.

bollywood actresses as hookers

Picture Source   Bollywood actresses as hookers

4. Madhuri Dixit

Madhuri’s award-winning role as the lovelorn Chandramukhi, who falls helplessly in love with the titular character in “Devdas”, won her several accolades and gave the movie a poignant touch.

bollywood actresses as hookers

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5. Tabu

Tabu has no shortage of stellar performances under her belt, but her role in “Chandni Bar” as Mumtaz, the bar dancer who gets married to a gangster and has to resort to prostitution to make ends meet, was exceptional, as an eye-opener about a bar girl’s life in the rotten stench of the Mumbai underworld.

bollywood actresses as hookers

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6. Manisha Koirala

The shockingly underrated movie, “Market”, has the under-age Manisha playing a hooker at a Hyderabad brothel after being sold off by her Arab sheikh husband. Manisha gave a brilliant performance as the hooker who goes on to avenge herself against her husband.

bollywood actresses as hookers

Picture Source   Bollywood actresses as hookers

7. Preity Zinta

With slight notes of “Pretty Woman”, in “Chori Chori Chupke Chupke” Preity played a lowly prostitute who gradually transforms into an elegantly groomed personality, at the behest of a businessman who needs her to be his infertile wife’s surrogate.

bollywood actresses as hookers

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8. Kareena Kapoor

Kareena Kapoor’s role in ‘Chameli’ was a story of a girl sold off into the flesh trade by her uncle, and how she impresses Rahul Bose’s character with her strength, kindness and compassion. She also gave a remarkable performance as Simran in the movie “Talaash”.

bollywood actresses as hookers

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9. Rani Mukherjee

Rani’s performance as a hooker in ‘Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’, as a girl who leaves her family to find a job to provide for them, but ending up as a call girl in Mumbai was heart-wrenching. She also was the narrator in “Sawariya”, Gulabji, who falls for Ranbir Kapoor’s character, but loses him to another girl, played by Sonam Kapoor.

bollywood actresses as hookers
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10. Kalki Koechlin

Kalki’s role as the modern day Chandramukhi to a 21st century Devdas in “Dev D” shone a light on one of the burning issues of nowadays, an MMS scandal that jolts a girl’s family into shame and drags a decent woman to prostitution, and added a new dimension to the role of a prostitute in Bollywood.

bollywood actresses as hookers

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That brings us to the end of our list. Let us know if we missed a performance by any other actress that YOU were impressed by!

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