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Starring Ranbir Kapoor and ???

I was discussing the woeful quality of current Hindi cinema with my filmmaking colleague and fellow Upperstall blogger, Batul, when the conversation shifted to Wake Up Sid (WUS) and Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani (APKGK). Even as we spoke about Ranbir Kapoor in glowing terms and were pretty sure that Hindi cinema had found its next superstar and a great performer to boot, she suddenly said she felt really sorry for him. I looked at her and she asked me, “He’s such a good performer but where are the actresses from the younger lot that he can be paired with who can match him in terms of performance?”

That got me thinking. Who indeed? Especially since Ranbir is such a natural in both the films and love stories work best when the heroine is able to match strides with the hero so that the two can complement one another. Can one ever forget Dimple’s contribution to Bobby or what Kajol was to Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge and Madhuri to Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! just to name some?

OK, so Ranbir and Katrina made a great looking pair in APKGK but she was light years behind him in terms of performance. Katrina is great as long as she has to look pretty and smile sweetly but expecting her to actually act is being plain unrealistic. Deepika Padukone? Nah! She was used cleverly in Om Shanti Om and Bachna Ae Haseeno with her dialogues kept to a minimum but she was plain embarrassing each time she opened her mouth in Love Aaj Kal and there’s no guarantee she will always get smart directors to cover up for her lack of acting talent. The good actresses like Rani Mukerji and Kajol are far too old for Ranbir as is the much overrated Kareena Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai, while Ayesha Takia lacks that extra it factor and Genelia D’Souza can do little beyond her irritatingly over perky and supposedly cute act. Maybe, Priyanka Chopra seems comparatively the best choice today as no doubt she has matured into an efficient actress and certainly looks an eyeful but age is again a big factor for her to be regularly paired with him. And then I suppose there’s Asin. But she was wasted so badly in her big follow up to Ghajini, the simply awful London Dreams and from what one has seen of her films down South, one is still unsure about her actual acting credentials.

It’s bad enough that there is an extreme paucity of good roles for women on the Hindi screen today, but not having even one good actress in the younger lot of female stars is a sorry state of affairs to say the least. Little wonder our films are what they are today.

18 Comments

  • Jkd, I’m sure that particular family member is giving it her best shot!!!

    Thanks for your feedback Akash and you would know this better. A colleague from Chennai was moaning about the same state of affairs in the Tamil film industry as well with no strong female star to pair opposite the likes of Suriya and Vikram. Thinking about it, I guess it’s true. With Asin and Trisha (and both are competent actresses at best) trying to make it in Hindi cinema, the likes of Tamannaah and Nayanthara are hot in the market whereas better actresses like Priyamani, Pooja Umashankar, Padmapriya, Sneha, Meera Jasmine have no market. The less said about Shriya and Namitha the better. The days of Sridevi, Shobha, Saritha, Ambika, Revathi, Radha, Radhika, Suhasini and even Gauthami and Simran are looong gone. Siigggh…

  • Maybe a new face will be to Ranbir what Kajol was to SRK or Juhi was to Amir Khan.
    I don’t think the industry is unduly worried about lack of heroines for romantic movies. Sure a sizzling romantic jodi would be great bonus. But for distributors, its the male star that counts I guess. And in that terrain, there is a serious paucity too. Ranbir is probably the only 20 something STAR in the trade today. Yes Shahid is there too. But besides these two young men, rest of all the male STARS are in their 40’s and late 30’s ( hritik and Abhishek).

    The trade has found its next SRK @ Ranbir. Now its high time it found its next Amir, Salman, Akshay, Saif, Hritik, Govinda (yes…the same Govind Ahuja MP…single screen ka rajababu)

    But who’s gonna bell the tomcat? Which was the last male star created from nowhere like a SRK or Akshay kumar was?

  • Charu, agreed the Hindi film Industry is a totally male dominated bastion, especially businesswise, but there’s no doubt a great actress like Kajol or Juhi helps in making the film extra special like a DDLJ or a QSQT.

    And yes, considering filmmakers wanna mainly target youngsters today, its true there’s a paucity of star actors in their 20s as well. At least Ranbir has proved himself now as has Shahid with Kaminey but Imran has only disappointed after Jaane Tu. Though I think it’s a little unfair to slot Ranbir in the SRK mould as was Shahid earlier. True, Shahid took some time to come into his own but Ranbir already has his own style and charm, I think.

    Talking of creating new stars, one needs a sensible filmmaker to bell the (tom)cat. Or else we are going to suffer the insufferable Jackky Bhagnanis and others… 🙁

  • True, we may have a few female stars like Katrina Kaif or Kareena Kapoor who can bring in a particular section of the crowd to the cinemas or multiplexes, but we certainly lack actors who can perform like Dimple, Madhuri, Kajol and the likes. If a new performer can’t be found from this vast country of cultural and linguistic opulence, at least a Priyanka Chopra or a Bipasha Basu has to step up to the challenge and go to the next level. There has been an occasional Nandita Das or a Tabu who can perform, but they certainly lack the star power that Madhuri or Kajol did. Let’s hope our female star actor is just around the corner waiting to pounce on Ranbir and the likes.

  • Right as usual Karan! But more than male or female stars we need intelligent scriptwriters and directors else we all will continue to suffer from bad films some of which become hits due to strange reasons or simply over the top marketing.

  • @Batul:That just shows how inspirational the conversation was! 🙂

    @Monish:There are lots of things this industry needs if we are to make better films!

    @Charu: Here’s something to think about. Easily the most successful actor having regular releases in Hindi films from 2007 has been Katrina Kaif. Look at the hits – Namastey London, Partner, Welcome, Race, New York, Ajab Prem. Akshay Kumar’s films without her post 2007 – Tashan, Chandni Chowk to China, Kambakkth Ishq, 8x 10 Tasveer, Blue have done below expectations compared to his films with her. Even the last film of Bobby and Sunny Deol that did somewhat OK was Apne which had her opposite Bobby. Ranbir was appreciated enough in Bachna Ae Haseeno, Wake Up Sid, and Ajab Prem but the biggest hit of the lot is Ajab co-starring guess who with Ranbir??? Her only outright flop 2007 onwards has really been Yuvvraaj but then we all also know how bad the film was. In fact, barring Wanted Salman himself has had one flop after another. Haven’t really counted SRK and Aamir as they now have but one release a year aside from guest appearances. The list goes on – John Abraham and Neil Nitin Mukesh’s most successful film – New York! So are the filmmakers and distributors missing something here??? 🙂

  • That was quick, from conversation to post.

    Yes, the said family member nurtures hopes. But that is another story, and several years down the line.

    What a sorry state of affairs. It’s not only about scripts or roles, and lack of thereof, the industry calculations and what-not, it’s also about the sheer pleasure of watching a good actor, with star power. And one does miss that.

    Even amongst the men, Ranbir has arrived after a long time. The wait for a female acting star is still on.

    And yes, I agree with Cubbu, what about more than one? All the others.

  • Karan…i do not buy your katharina thesis @ she being an important X factor in the success of those films with those actors. Any PYT or any from the current lot like Deepika or Feepika would have done the trick.You panned Katarina’s YUVRAJ as a bad film and thus a flop. But you thnk Namaste London and partner and New York and Race and what have you are really good films? That girl cannot act. She is no kajol or even of the calibre of a OTT Kareena. She is

    Boss…lets get a bit real here. Mainstream Bollywood as it is today, really cares too hoots about female actress, sensitive and intelligent stories et al. What matters in getting the movie into the halls is the male cast, the genre,the director’s commercial track record and what kind of publicity buzz has the movie got. Then once its up there, its all about number of prints released and what is recoverd on Friday saturday and Sunday. Every frikking film is talking about being a hit with the moronic ‘star ratings” and quotes from spineless critics.

    But yes, amidst all this depressing things happening, there ARE dudes who are making movies with in the market and really doing some storytelling . Look at chaps like Dibakar, Shimit Amin, Raghvan, imtiyaz Ali, Anurag kayshap, nishkant kamat, Vishal B, Anurag Basu and last but not the least RAJU HIRANI who are constantly pushing the envelope inside of the studio/corporate system and WITH interesting combos of salable star faces doing parts that are other than the usual bump and grind.

    So yes….poor talented Ranbir had to make do with a talentless but pink-pretty katarina in ajab prem..and a talented but not pink-pretty konkona in Sid…but lets not forget….that Priyanka and kangana did really well in Fashion and all those Chak De kuddies were like a breath of fresh air….Ahana in Rock on rocked!

    So! maye as audiences..for the high ticket prices public are not getting big time entertaining masterpecies to watch…but for aspiring filmmakers…there could never have been a better time to in this trade.

  • agree with you totally cubbu – dont think the industry is unduly worried about lack of heroines who are good actresses… or for that matter heros who are good actors… The bottom line, I guess is, are you perceived to seen as a salable entity?

  • Wow Charu, apparently it’s giving you a LOT to think about! 🙂

    OK, One never said Madam KK is a good actress! Not by any stretch. Or gave any judgement or a thesis or an essay. Just found these facts extremely interesting and that’s all I’ve put down and said just think about them. And you cannot deny KK is the common factor in all those hits and actors like even Akshay Kumar have not had that kind of success without her last coupla years. Yes, Namastey London, Partner, Welcome, Race, New York are not good films to me by any stretch of imagination either but Yuvvraaj, I think, was just beyond repair and something even Ms Kaif’s presence couldn’t save. 🙂 Of course, one knows how hero and male dominated industry our film industry and particularly its business side is.

    True, almost all these PYT’s like’ Deepkia – Feepika’ are totally interchangeable as our whole problem is not having that capable female actress star and anyway the heroine roles don’t make any diiference but we’re talking so many films here and not one or two. There just might be something to the fan base of mainly young men making Ms Kaif the most googled person and wanting to see her films.

    If Akshay Kumar’s desperate search for a hit ends next week with De Dana Dan, maybe that would give us more fodder to continue this discussion. If not it would just die a quiet and quick death!

    Anyways, to happy movie watching as always! Let that not change…

  • @Vibbhav: Nepotism is not just the bane of the film industry but is present everywhere in India. Merit has rarely been a criteria.

    @Aahana: As long as market and business dictates are what they are, heroines will never be important. Sad but true. And you’re talking of the editing stage. I’m amazed why can’t people realize at the the script stage itself. But again, a good script has never been the main factor in deciding a project. If you get a (saleable) star, the film is made, script and idea be damned. I remember someone from Venus telling me they were not too bothered about the content of De Dana Dan. With Akshay, Priyadarshan and Katrina (yes, he spoke in that order), they had made a huge profit on the table itself! Unless that mindset changes, we’ll continue to see rubbish week after week. 🙁

  • The following are the problems in the Hindi Film Industry:
    1. This industry is a really scared one!! They give little or absolutely no chance to some credible female artists
    2. They think only pretty faces can pull loadz of audiences.
    3. They do not want to experiment with new actors who are sitting in bulk.
    4. They take too long to make Hindi Films!!

    The solutions are as follows:
    1. A pretty face yes it is but talent is what this industry should look forward to, there are credible female actors in this city itself, apni aakhen kholo!!
    2. Do not repeat actors in all the films, it’s annoying to see the same faces in every film. So if i miss a film of Ranbir with katrina , i know i can catch another one with the same cast.
    3. It’s amazing to see that films abroad experiment with actors and those ppl are not heroes and heroines, they are actors.
    4. Plzzz…..we need more films and better scripts and don;t they realize at the editing table that they are making crap!!! I mean really???

  • Ranbir should sustain as an actor. I hope he does. He is quite effervescent and charming but he still has a long to go to be called a versatile actor. I agree that there is very little good in the young actress category but hopefully there will be some who will match good male leads in the near future. (Dont ask me from where?). I really feel that till nepotism goes out of Hindi cinema, the end product will always be deplorable and more than the soul of storytelling and good direction it will all be limited to the dazzle of the star power.

  • Ah Batul, The happy movie watching part was more in the nature of a parting toast and some desperate eternal hope…

    But yeah, Hindi movie watching is simply torturous. I watch a lot of films in the morning show at the theatre next to my house for Rs 50 rather than shell out the ridiculous muliplex rates but our current lot of films are so bad that one feels bad for even having spent that fifty bucks. 🙁

  • That’s one interesting discussion. The trouble is it’s no longer happy movie watching, it’s just dismal. I, for one, come away, feeling depressed, sad and very angry. Watching films that start off with stars, money, all the conceivable technical support and remain undigestable.

  • hi,
    I love reading your blogs. personally I feel Madhuri is an over rated actress too. If you look at her movies she only had the glam factor, more important, she announced I am woman, and Iam available. which is why she had to quit when she did.
    If i were to star in a movie today, with Juhi, and Madhuri believe me, Juhi is tougher competition because she is your regular woman, the daughter-mother-sister-bhabhi-beti kind of person. she has the aura of being a guy’s buddy with the oomph factor thrown in, the real person for keeps.
    I don’t know if i am articulate enough but that is the factor missing in most of today’s women.
    Yes Ranbhir exhibits good potential.

  • Parwatisingari, Thanks for your feedback and comments.

    However, I disagree with your comment that Madhuri is an overrated actress. In fact, I would say that whenever she did get a role where she had the scope to perform, she did so brilliantly be it Beta, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…! or especially Mrityudand, where she was simply outstanding.

    That said, Juhi too has her strengths. So to each his own. Keep visiting and keep adding your comments. 🙂

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