Here are five of Karisma Kapoor’s most memorable roles in celebration of her 50th birthday, from Raja Hindustani to Zubeidaa.

Karisma Kapoor turned 50 on June 25. Here’s a look at some of her most memorable characters in Hindi cinema.

Karisma Kapoor is celebrating her 50th birthday on June 25. The actor, who debuted in Bollywood with Prem Qaidi (1991), recently garnered praise for her comeback in Homi Adajania’s Murder Mubarak. Initially criticized for her performances and costumes in mass-market films, Karisma silenced her critics with a transformative role in Dharmesh Darshan’s Raja Hindustani and her involvement in arthouse cinema like Fiza and Zubeidaa. Here’s a look at five iconic roles from Karisma Kapoor’s illustrious movie career.

Karisma Kapoor’s look and costumes in Dharmesh Darshan’s film sparked a major fashion trend. Her transformation perfectly suited her character Arti, a sophisticated, wealthy girl who falls in love with a taxi driver, played by Aamir Khan. Raja Hindustani, inspired by the Shashi Kapoor-Nanda starrer Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), explores a classic love story involving class divisions. Karisma’s evolution from a damsel-in-distress to a more mature character was noteworthy, and the film’s music became a ’90s sensation. The chemistry between Karisma and Aamir, particularly their famous kissing scene, remains a topic of discussion. Despite conservative times, the censor board granted the film a U certificate without objections. Aamir and Karisma won the Filmfare Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, and the film became the biggest commercial success of their careers up to that point.

Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)

Karisma Kapoor agreed to star alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit in Yash Chopra’s musical love story after several actresses, including Manisha Koirala, Urmila Matondkar, Juhi Chawla, and Kajol, turned down the role of Nisha. While some actresses were wary of being overshadowed by Madhuri, others did not want to play the second lead. Karisma, however, not only received widespread acclaim for her performance but also won the National Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her “Dance of Envy” sequence, featuring a dance-off with Madhuri, was particularly praised for its choreography and glamour.

Haseena Maan Jayegi (1999)

Karisma once again embraced an out-and-out mass-market genre with David Dhawan’s comedy-drama, which also starred Sanjay Dutt, Govinda, Pooja Batra, and Anupam Kher, among others. Her chemistry with Govinda and her energetic dance moves were highly praised alongside the film’s humor. Portraying Ritu Verma opposite Govinda’s Monu, Karisma delivered numerous laugh-out-loud moments, and the duo’s comic timing was beloved by audiences. Haseena Maan Jayegi became the fifth-highest-grossing Hindi film of 1999.

Fiza (2000)

Karisma once again pushed boundaries by starring in an offbeat film centered on communal riots and religious discrimination. She played the titular role in Khalid Mohammed’s Fiza, portraying the elder sister of Hrithik Roshan’s character. Her performance, depicting the anguish of discovering her missing brother had become a terrorist, was widely acclaimed. Many regarded it as her best performance, surpassing even her National Award-winning role in Dil To Pagal Hai.

Zubeidaa (2001)

Zubeidaa, directed by Shyam Benegal and written by Khalid Mohammed, is based on the tragic life of actress Zubeida Begum, who married Hanwant Singh of Jodhpur. Khalid Mohammed’s mother was Zubeida Begum. In this epic musical romance, Karisma portrayed the titular character opposite Manoj Bajpayee. This marked Karisma’s first period film and her sole collaboration with Shyam Benegal.

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