Finally, after much vacillation, I have decided to put together a ten greatest beauties list, somewhat inspired by Dustedoff’s list from several months ago.  Some of my selections here are different from what they might have been months ago, but this is how I see the list today, when I am finally going through with it.

By the way, my list is based on actresses prominent from the mid ’40s to early ’60s.  So, no need to wonder why I haven’t added your favoite actress from the late ’60s or early ’70s, etc.

If you have strong feelings one way or the other about what I’ve posted, feel free to comment, but please do read the text first (most of which I added several hours after posting the original list).

10. Sandhya

Even before I got to type promised further text, I got a strong opposing comment about Sandhya. Yet, she has been named as a beauty by a number of people too. Of couse she was not a classic beauty, but I find her very visually compelling, and not in a negtaive way. (Others, I know, feel differently.) I like her uniqueness and creativity, which apply as much to her appearance sometimes as to her dancing. She was also a very underrated actress (I’m sure of that now), which is all the more reason to give her a place on the list.

9. Minoo Mumtaz

Minoo wasn’t a classic beauty either. But she was so lively and cute. (Where is she today? Is she still alive? No one seems to know.)

8. Suraiya

Suraiya was very pretty in her heyday, and millions of people knew it, too.

7. Vyjayanthimala

I actually think Vyjayanthimala looks prettier in some of her later movies. But I tend to like her mid-to-late ’50s movies the most, and she was also quite pretty in them. I think she was very striking as a peacock, although I like Sandhya’s peacock dance even more.

6. Waheeda Rehman

Great beauty and a wonderful actress – as everybody knows!

5. Madhubala

Hey, she’s on my list, OK? So if you need to make her number one, do it on your own list. Still, I agree Madhubala was very pretty and lovable and a fine actress. And considering the date that I’m typing this, a happy birthday to her too!

4. Shyama

But in the movie Barsaat Ki Raat, I thought Shyama was more beautiful than Madhubala, and her character was more interesting. Why did the Bharat Bhushan character choose the Madhubala character instead? Why/how could both these beautiful women be so hopelessly in love with someone who looked like Bharat Bhushan? I did enjoy this movie, even if some things in it didn’t make much sense to me.

3. Noor Jehan

No picture I can come up with can adequately convey the gorgeousness of Noor’s screen presence in the ’40s and ’50s. (And, by the way, though she did put on a bit too much weight and makup, I do find her to be quite cute in performance clips from a few decades beyond that.) I suppose that with Noor, the influence on my ears affects the influence on my eyes. On the other hand, if I were ranking beauties according to the overall effect as a performer and what I feel about the performer, Noor could possibly be number one, or at least tied at number one. I adore Noor. But I’ll leave her here at number 3.

2. Meena Kumari

Meena was a stunning beauty in the ’50s and part of the ’60s. Illness and alcohol did some damage later on, but even in her much-discussed decline, she was still usually a very nice sight on screen. And she was a fantastic actress.

1. Padmini

I’ve written enough about Padmini. Many will agree with me that she was one of the great beauties; to me, she was the greatest. Certainly, her dancing influenced that effect, but she still was quite a beauty just standing still. And she had a lovely screen presence. I’m happy to proclaim Padmini as the greatest Bollywood beauty of all!

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