With a Bollywood career spanning over three decades, Urmila Matondkar has given a range of performances many of which stand out even today.
With her unconventional role choices and phenomenal performances, she was one of the earliest actors to bring in the trend of female-led films in Bollywood. Simply put, in Bollywood’s monochromatic world of melodramas, action thrillers, and sub-standard comedies, she was the unexpected but much-needed color.
Here are some of her finest performances:
Her character of Mili in the film has dual shades. The actress plays an ambitious starlet in the film, managing to strike a perfect balance of vulnerability and sensuality. Sharing screen space with Aamir Khan, and Jackie Shroff, Urmila still completely owned her character. Not to forget her smashing dance moves.
If you haven’t watched this underrated gem then you should. This one is perhaps Urmila’s best performance. Her transition from the victim to the killer in the climax will give you the chills.
The actress played aspiring singer Vidhya—an innocent, young girl in love with a gangster. She was seen in a completely different avatar than fans had ever seen her in before. If “Rangeela” saw her as an aspiring actress, “Satya” saw her in a de-glam look as an aspiring singer in Mumbai’s underbelly.
This horror film directed by Ram Gopal Varma sent shivers down our spine and the credit goes to the actress. She nailed the role of a possessed housewife with such finesse, that even in the truly horrifying scenes, she had us peeking from behind the hands we’d clapped over our eyes.
5- Ek Hasina Thi
Urmila played the innocent girl who transforms herself to take revenge against the charming and mysterious businessman Karan (Saif Ali Khan) who has her framed for a crime she never committed. This movie is proof of what wonders can be achieved when a well-written role and a brilliant actor come together.
6- Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya
Urmila played a possessive lover who just couldn’t let go of the object of her affection. The way she executes the part of an erratic, edgy young woman who confuses harmless flirtation as signs of serious interest is commendable.
Based on an iconic Punjabi novel, Urmila plays Puro whose happy life is shattered when she is kidnapped. This National Award-winning movie is unlike anything Urmila had attempted before. Putting up a solid performance, she managed to stand out and shine the brightest among exemplary actors like Manoj Bajpayee and Lillette Dubey.
Now, what most of the people remember film Judaai for Bollywood veteran actress Sridevi’s performance for being rich and what kind of things she did in the film. But what about Urmila who had so many negative aspects but still managed to grab the positive position till the end. Despite the kind of role she played in the film, it was Urmila’s act that made the audience empathize with her towards the end.
9- Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara
Urmila Matondkar was nominated for Filmfare Best Actress for her performance of a caring daughter to a father (Anupam Kher) dealing with dementia. It’s the father-daughter moments between Kher and Matondkar that are a glaring example of the latter’s range as an actor.