Can the new crop of real actors clinch stardom?

imageNew Delhi, (IANS) It seems Bollywood is opening up to “real” actors who are struggling to make their mark in the industry.For the past few weeks, walking down any street in India it is hard not to notice posters of “Pyaar Ke Side Effects”, the latest film on the marquees starring Mallika Sherawat and Rahul Bose.

Looking at the posters, one cannot help but wonder what is a usually intense actor like Rahul Bose doing in a film that seems like any other Bollywood sex comedy.

As it turns out, both Mallika and Rahul are great in the film by debutante director Saket Chaudhary.

Then there is the other release of the week, “Bas Ek Pal”, starring young actors who have raked in critical acclaim but no commercial success like Sanjay Suri, Rehaan Engineer and Jimmy Shergill, paired up with Urmila Matondkar and Juhi Chawla.

Both Urmila and Juhi may no longer be crowd-pullers but are still recognisable by the masses.

Next Friday release “Dor” by Nagesh Kukunoor casts Shreyas Talpade who had put in a stunning performance as the speech-impaired fast bowler in “Iqbal” in a mould of a hero who sings and dances like the usual Bollywood guys.

Turn on the TV and you cannot miss the sizzling and super stylised promos of Tanuja Chandra’s “Zindagi Rocks” with Sushmita Sen pirouetting with intense actor Shiney Ahuja.

And the airwaves are saturated with the news of Irrfan Khan and John Abraham sealing many hearts and impressing many minds at the Toronto Film Festival with their performances in “The Namesake” and “Kabul Express”, respectively.

So far unconventional looking but talented actors have not enjoyed much superstardom in the Hindi film industry. Most superstars have either never managed to learn acting or have learnt the craft after a series of films.

Then there are some born into families with established links to the industry who have bagged films irrespective of their talent or looks.

But this new crop of not-so-conventionally good-looking but good actors is taking a road less travelled. Having got the good fortune of establishing that they can act, they are hoping to make a home in hearts of Indian masses who make the bulk of moviegoers.

Unlike greats like Motilal, Balraj Sahni, Sanjeev Kumar, Om Puri, Naseruddin Shah, Amrish Puri, Anupam Kher, Paresh Rawal and others, these young stars-in-the-making are well poised to bring a new kind of respectability and stardom to the character actor.

Whether it is the plain-looking, the very anglicised-looking or the intense-looking, if they are able to master the art of crowd-pulling like superstars in south India-based film trades have, then sky is the limit.

Now if only the industry’s big production houses who have a track record of making super-duper hits would cast a real actor with no illustrious background in the industry as their protagonist. Perhaps then Bollywood would begin celebrating raw talent.

As far as women are concerned, the day acting prowess becomes more valuable than mere looks would be no less than attaining Utopia.

For Rahul this is not the first time he has tried to go Bollywood. In his previous efforts he had come off as insufferable. But in “Pyaar Ke Side Effects” both Rahul and Mallika seem to have a winner in hand.

Given the full value of money that well made comedies bring for cine-goers, all wannabe stars should try their hand in it. Just take a clue from Arshad Warsi, Paresh Rawal or Boman Irani.

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At a time when comedies are having a rocking time at the turnstiles, Mallika Sherawat and Rahul Bose’s “Pyar Ke Side Effects” seems set to send the cash registers ringing.

The film by debutant director Saket Chaudhary has a good script in which humour is woven into the narrative and the actors get their comic timing right.

The film will face competition in the form of “Khosla Ka Ghosla” that releases Friday. The promos of the film starring Boman Irani promise a rib-ticking fare.

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“Bas Ek Pal” that released Friday is the second venture of Onir who had made his directorial debut with “My Brother Nikhil”. He has repeated Sanjay Suri and Juhi Chawla in the film.

Urmila Matondkar, Jimmy Shergill and Rehaan Engineer worked with him for the first time in this film based on relationships. The film is receiving varying reviews with some terming it as a work of art and others finding its script too vague.

The film has no hope beyond the metro circuits. And coming Friday it will be facing competition by Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Dor”.

Kukunoor has roped in Ayesha Takia, Gul Panag and Shreyas Talpade for the film that promises to be an intense love story, a first for him.

Given that he is one of the only critically acclaimed directors who have managed to make box-office gains, expectations from “Dor” are high. Cannot wait.

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