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.