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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Odd Couple Pairing Grabs Bollywood, 2013!


Monojit Lahiri salutes B-town 2013, for getting bold and adventurous with unusual lead pairings. Way to go!
MONOJIT LAHIRI | Issue Dated: November 30, -0001, New Delhi
Tags : Bollywood | Ranbir Kapoor | Raj Kapoor-Nargis | Shahrukh-Kajol | Amitabh-Rekha |

Let’s face it. Image is a killer because you live by it…and sometimes die by it! Nothing and no place exemplifies it more dramatically than showbiz, meaning Bollywood!

Mention it and Raj and Nargis floats in. Ditto with Dilip and Madhubala and Deb with Suraiya, right? Later, Dharam and Hema, Amitabh and Rekha, Rajesh and Sharmila/Mumtaz, Sharukh and Kajol and so on and so forth.

Contrary to what the industry folks like to believe, pairings are not created or made by some maverick directors with great visions and foresight, the dhuendaar gimmicks of their publicity departments or overheated pens of some genius journo who claims to have seen the future, but by an entity much more deadly and unpredictable than they can dream of… the aam junta!

How, why and when a particular pair catches fire in popular imagination remains one of the most closely guarded secrets between the pairs, their crazed fans and god! Little wonder that once the pair has struck gold, herd-like, film-makers are on a stampede, hoping to cash in on their glow. Not all these films succeed, for a variety of reasons – dumb scripts blindly mimicking earlier successes heading the list – but if the pair actually do have that intrinsic charisma (like the ones mentioned) then despite a few duds, they continue to rock… and directors continue to woo them.

However, over generations, there have been film-makers who have broken the mould to try out new and fresh permutations and combinations. Dilip has blended superbly with Vyjantimala and Waheeda Rehman. Raj too with Nutan and Vyjantimala, even Rajshree and Sadhna. Dev – wow, where do we begin and end! – covered with his matchless andaaz, the entire gamut from Nutan to Tina Munim!

In recent times, Ranbir-Konkona in Wake up Sid did raise eyebrows too. Some worked, some didn’t, but fresh pairings did happen even way back then.

In year 2013, Bollywood is all set to offer their version of exciting new combos to rev up the second part of a year that hasn’t really caught fire.

First up is Mr. Perfectionist with the Barbie doll! Forever unleashing surprises, Aamir Khan this time plays a dark, negative role in the Yashraj banner Dhoom 3. While his talent, passion, ability and involvement is well known, his leading lady comes from a different zone! Kat Kaif has categorically moved from Boom (Doom?) to another level, proving that focus, hard work, sincerity, leveraging limited talent towards consolidating strength areas, staying away from controversy and conducting oneself with dignity, grace and humility goes a long way.

Sure, there has been luck and the Salman and Akshay factor, but that comes with the territory to the fortunate whom the gods choose to bless, hai na? Aamir and Kat – wow, should be a whopper! The others, frankly, are much more thanda by comparison but deserve airing because of their first-time flash. Chhote Nawab Saif Ali Khan – Bollywood’s coolest and most stylish dude by miles – has (as everyone knows too well) an inherent in-built sophistication that is a part of his DNA, bestowed by bloodline, kya kare!

Right from Dil Chahta Hai, he’s done his very own cool, whacky and stylish numbers (moving away for the odd Omkara) like the recent Cocktail, where he remains matchless. Now when this definitive metro sexual is paired off with someone who is the quintessential bharatiya nari – dark, long, lustrous hair, large expressive eyes, voluptuous – like Sonakshi Sinha for Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Bullet Raja, will the sparks fly in this gangster-thriller?

Opinions are divided. Watch this space, guys. Remember the amazing 2006 hit, Pyaar ke Side Effects, the (odd couple) Rahul Bose-Mallika Sherawat sex-comedy? A small budget, unsung and unheralded film, it was a super smash hit hugely enjoyed by the smart set in metros across the country! Seven years on Producer Pritish Nandy is all set to offer us a sequel, Shaadi ke Side Effects. Similar oddball pairing headline this film too - Farhan Akhtar and Vidya Balan!

While Farhan, a gifted multi-faceted creature, is not known to carry solo films (Karthik calling Karthik) this project could pose a challenge to serious actor Vidya, since it’s a comedy. Curiosity levels? Certainly. Excitement? Not really… let’s see how the treatment pans out, because it comes with the baggage of an outrageous and irreverent super-duper laugh riot!

Imtiaz Ali’s Highway zooms off towards a whole new destination too. The exciting creator of Jab We Met and Rockstar now dumps stars and takes two completely poles-apart actors to play lead – toughie, cold, Randeep Hooda and vivacious, sprightly student of the year, Alia Bhatt! “Incongruity and mismatch were demanded as critical components of the script,” insists Ali.

The director is a well-respected class act with total focus on stylish content and treatment and though neither of the lead players are stars, they could become stars once the film is released, since they are both directors-driven actors. Interesting pairing for sure!

At the end of the day, surprises delight like nothing else, right? So let’s wait n’ see what these new jodis do to topple the applecart. Your guess is as good as mine, dude! 


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Issue Dated: Apr 27, 2014