Archive for June, 2010

Is Ranbir Kapoor the next Superstar?

June 26, 2010

Ever since Amitabh Bachchan was conferred the title of a superstar, all of us from simple viewers and fans like me to the media and the movie industry have been waiting for a successor to this prestigious Bollywood title. Every some years we have young actors showing a lot of potential but falling short somewhere. 

I still remember when Shahrukh Khan made his debut in Baazigar he played the same angry young man’s role which had catapulted Amitabh to a profound fame and glory unmatched to this day. Although Shahrukh’s retribution tactics was a bit more on the gray side than that of Amitabh’s character Vijay, Shahrukh’s screen presence and his charisma with women (or should I say the would-be mothers-in-law) were awesome. But somehow it was nowhere near Vijay’s devotion to his mother, his style of avenging injustice a la Robin Hood style and his romance with women played by timeless beauties like Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman and the evergreen Rekha. Well, no wonder Shahrukh Khan stopped doing the roles of an angry young man and became a romantic hero more like Rajesh Khanna and created a separate niche for himself as the “Baadshah” of Bollywood. Befitting, indeed!

Amitabh Bachchan vs Shahrukh

Another contender for Amitabh’s much coveted title was Hrithik Roshan. I fell flat for him in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, loved his raw emotions in Fizaa and was smitten by him in Lakshya. But something happened after that. He just decided to go the Sallu way, shirtless, bearing his 6-pack and showcasing his dancing skills more than his acting talent. Guess what, Shahid Kapoor stole his thunder as a dancer and the 6-packs are so common these days, even cuties like Aamir’s got one.

My husband’s bet was and still is on Abhishek Bachchan. He is very likeable, simple and fun, a true chip of the old block. But how serious is Abhishek? He comes across as an ambition-less lad lost in his father’s glory and now basking in the splendor of his wife. I know I am harsh but he has great potential and I hate to see it go waste. Just think about it, he does a great movie like Guru and then he makes five awful movies in which he is so silly that if I had a “delete” button, I would just keep hitting it.

So, coming back to this superstar title, why is it so hard to get? Is it Amitabh himself who just keeps setting the bar higher and higher? Let’s look his career briefly – 

Amitabh Bachchan through the years

Superstar, Amitabh Bachchan

  • Amitabh started his career in 1970 with Saat Hindustani and bagged the best newcomer National Award. He then went onto win 14 Filmfare awards in various categories, 2 more National Awards, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shree. Still counting!
  • From 1970 to 1982, he gave us constant hit films like Zanjeer, Sholay, Deewar, Namak Haraam, Amar Akbar Anthony, Trishul, Don, Satte Pe Satta, Shakti and so many more. (He was also lucky that his only competitor Vinod Khanna decided to drop out of Bollywood to follow Osho Rajneesh. Otherwise who knows what the outcome would have been!) 
  • However, an unfortunate accident in the sets of Coolie led to a decade of flops for Amitabh but his image remained untarnished. Then came Agneepath in 1991! Bam! It resurrected his image. 
  • But he was not really young and went through another decade of flops and a lot of personal struggles. Best part about his career is that his fans never deserted him. 
  • With Mohabbatein in 2000, he totally re-invented himself and started playing the roles of a father and what a cool dad he became! 

There is no looking back since then. He played some very different and challenging roles in movies like Aks, Black, Sarkar, Paa, Rann etc giving him more awards, fanfare and fame. So, is it really possible for another human being to achieve this kind of success? But the title needs a successor. In fact, I was surprised when I heard this title being used randomly in the recent Filmfare Awards on everyone from Shahid Kapoor to Neil Nitin Mukesh who have not even achieved a quarter of what Amitabh has done. It looks like people in the industry have given up. But I am still searching for the next superstar.

After a long time, I am feeling very hopeful because of Ranbir Kapoor. A product of phenomenal genetic lineage (Neetu Singh, Rishi Kapoor and the entire Kapoor clan) and a perfect physical make up. He is gorgeous, period. And, he can also act. Phew!

A similarity with Amitabh is undeniable. Both are extremely tall and are not necessarily out and out handsome. Both are lanky with long nose and strange eyes but have some kind of a charisma to attract fans in big numbers and appeal to the young and the old. I know it’s too early to predict but hey, if anyone can get away wearing a pink turban and yet considered macho, it’s Ranbir.

Ranbir Kapoor vs. Amitabh Bachchan

In just 2 years or so, he has established himself as a great performer. But Ranbir better make up his mind on whether he just wants to be good-looking hunk dropping towels to expose his derriere or he wants to really become a superstar. His latest Rajneeti may have gotten him accolades but I was pretty disappointed. He just came across as too serious. If this was supposed to be a role of Michael Corleone, Abhishek Bachchan played it very well in Sarker. So, my friends, the field is wide open as it always has been but I will always remain hopeful even though I am a big fan of Amitabh.

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Grass is green on the other side!

June 4, 2010

I overheard a phone conversation at an airport where a lady dressed in a business suit was casually joking with her friend on the phone.  It was past noon and I heard her ask if her friend was taking a nap. She called her friend as a “woman of leisure” and kept pulling her leg about it 2-3 times in a 10-minute conversation. So, apparently this friend was not working from what I could gather and could have been a homemaker. Let’s hypothesize for a minute and wonder if this was just a casual fun remark or was it something that this lady in the business suit craved deep inside to be that “woman of leisure”.

Grass is always green on the other side, so we have heard and I bet you, we have experienced it at some point in our lives. Literally, my neighbors’ grass is really lush and greener than mine. 🙂

People react to this feeling or as I would like to call this “syndrome” in many different ways. Some of us face up to it and openly envy others. How many times we have heard people say, “Wow, I envy you”. But sometimes this envy stays deep inside and festers. We may not even realize it and inadvertently we become angry and resentful of others who are not like us. Or, the best approach adopted by a daring few, take a giant leap over to the other side and experience the lush green grass.

I was actually stung by this syndrome sometime ago. Yes, my confession moment: I started working right after graduating with Master’s degree and the entire time I was envious of all the women who married and chose to become a homemakers. Although a few of them said that there was nothing to be envious about and that they missed going to work. But hey, I was blind and deaf because of this syndrome. I could not comprehend then that there was a reverse reaction of them finding my grass as green.

Fast forward to ten years! I had to take a break from work due to frequent moves we did and my back pain. I should have been very happy, right? Well, I was happy to begin with being in my green pastures of newfound luxury of time. I browsed, read, caught up on movies and even had the patience to watch Indian Idol on You Tube.

Anyway, I just spiraled down into an abyss with no purpose in life. But it was a lesson learnt and I realized what I truly liked in life. The lesson here is grass is not always green on the other side. We have to know what we want and it may not be what others have. But unfortunately a lot of these decisions are not quite that simple. Reminding ourselves of this can make us feel a lot less resentful or just feel the pang and move on with life.

But one thing that strikes me odd is that why is it that sometimes we crave what others have. This happens to babies as well. I am not kidding, a child bawling because she wants the green lollipop that the other kid has even though she is holding a pink one. Girl, you have the pink, stop crying! Oh no! See what I am saying? So it almost makes me wonder if we are wired to crave for what we don’t have.

From all these examples, I can only say that we have to be comfortable in what we do no matter how green the grass is on the other side. I choose to dare if it really bothers me. Yes, I chopped my hair and sported a short style for years. And, all my eyes could see were women with long hair looking beautiful. My hair has grown back and I love it but I can’t help feel a pang when I see Katie Holmes beautiful bob! Go figure!

Katie Holmes