Editor's Comment: Is Kareena Kapoor finished?
Kareena Kapoor can make love to the camera. She’s talented. That was never under any debate. And by her own admission, talent sustains, so she’s survived the onslaught of Ranis and Preitys and other similar PYTs, but suddenly the floods of films that were offered to her have now reduced to mere trickles.
That's right. The lady that once had a slew of film makers begging for dates at her doorstep has suddenly been left with a few stray endorsements, ONE FILM, yes that’s right one film, and an extended cameo in an Akshay Kumar potboiler (Gabbar) where she plays... wait for it... a ghost.
I read an interesting post the other day — an open letter to Kareena Kapoor, from a fan. It perfectly described my sentiments. Kareena is an incredibly gifted actress but she’s never taken chances especially in the latter part of her career. I’d give an arm and a leg to see her do a Dev, a Chameli, a Yuva an Asoka even, over trite, pardon my French, crap like Bodyguard, Tashan and Ra One. And probably the worst recent offender of them all. Gori Tere Pyaar Mein. A film for which she gave up none other than Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-leela.
Which brings me nicely on to my next point. Kareena was offered the creme de la creme of projects at one point. Queen, Kaminey, Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-leela, Raanjhanaa, Zoya Akhtar’s upcoming Dil Dhadakne Do — the list of good films she’s refused is actually startling. Films that got their leading ladies accolades by the dozen. And for what? Two words: Khan Fascination. Today Kareena's left with a stray Singham 2, and what exactly does she have to do in that film I wonder? Besides scream and play the damsel in distress of course.
I had a glimmer of hope though, when she recently green-lighted two projects: Dev Benegal’s Bombay Samurai (which sounded really interesting), and Karan Malhotra’s Shuddhi. Neither of which sound like they will ever see the light of day now.
Kareena’s become flippant. She’ll take on Satyagraha – a role that requires her to portray a serious journalist a la Barkha Dutt. And what does she do? She botches up. By being more conscious of her attire than her performance, which is the most disinterested in a part I’ve seen her in in a long time.
She’ll walk out of Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-leela because Ranveer Singh isn’t a huge star (at the time, things of course are now radically different, with Ranveer’s meteoric rise to stardom), purely because ‘she wants to’. Deepika owned the part, but Kareena with her vast experience could have added the required gravitas to the role too, and she’d have actually looked pretty good opposite Ranveer.
I think the last decent performance from Kareena Kapoor was in Kurbaan. The role had meat and she delivered. And perhaps to a lesser extent Talaash. Her streetwalker part was delivered with conviction. Anything she’s done after that has had zero substance or been all hype no delivery. Her much touted Heroine, which was meant to fetch her the National Award, sank without a trace and the film itself was so mundane and contrived, I practically snoozed through it.
Her closest rival, Priyanka Chopra on the other hand, has taken risks. I’m not saying that because PC’s one of my favourites. In fact if I'm honest, I feel Kareena probably has more potential and is more natural than Priyanka. But Priyanka has consistently strived to push the envelope as far as acting is concerned. She may not have the hits but she’ll dig into Kaminey (with just eight scenes), What’s Your Rashee, Barfi!, Saat Khoon Maaf, and the like with impressive gusto. She’s still pushing the envelope in fact with films like Dil Dhadakne Do and Mary Kom.
The prime reason why PC’s body of work is probably more respectable and will be remembered down the line? It’s because unlike Kareena, she doesn’t take her career for granted.
I wonder what the reason behind Kareena’s nonchalance and indifference is? Is it because she’s married Saif Ali Khan and is a fully fledged ‘begum’ now? Is it because she just wants to perhaps settle down and move on to the next phase of her life and embrace motherhood and marriage?
If that’s the case so be it. It would be a darned shame though. A powerhouse of talent, I don’t think any director has fully tapped Kareena’s potential. Take a look at Chameli, Omkara, her crowning glory Jab We Met or even Fida (her antagonistic part had flashes of brilliance in it) and you’ll realise, that Kareena Kapoor still hasn’t come into her own. She still hasn’t given us that one film she can call her swan song. Jab We Met was seven years ago. And we expected more. A lot more after that.
Being a fourth generation Kapoor can only get you so far. Unlike sibling Karisma, Kareena never really had to slog for her stardom. Which is why perhaps I have more respect for Karisma as an actress. Even though Kareena was, and still is the superior actress, Karisma pushed her boundaries with Zubeidaa, and Fiza and even took risks like Dil To Pagal Hai, where she perhaps walked away with the most credit and a coveted National Award.
It’s time for Kareena to show us why she was once considered the top actress, and why filmmakers swore by her talent and spontaneity. As things stand Deepika, Priyanka, Katrina and shockingly even the newbies Alia, Parineeti and Shraddha all seem to have raced ahead. They take risks. They push boundaries. Kareena perhaps is more keen on box office glory. To each his own I guess. It just seems a darned shame to let so much talent go to waste.
Is Kareena Kapoor listening?
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