Veer has released and more or less gone from the theatres. Along with it has subsided the topic that made for screaming headlines for most part of the film’s promotion i.e. debutant Zarine Khan being the look-alike of Katrina Kaif. Filmmaker Anil Sharma was never too happy with the comparisons and continues to maintain that it was more a game of perception building than anything else.
“It was all a media perception that Zarine looked like Katrina. So much was written, said, heard and gossiped around for months that when people saw Zarine for the first time, the instant question that came to their mind was – ‘Kya yeh sach mein Katrina jaisi hai?”, says Anil Sharma who did make a mega film in Veer but couldn’t quite keep the pace (and the conflict) intact for its entire duration.
Remembering the times when Zarine had come first on board, Sharma says fondly, “She is a nice Mumbai girl with her middle class values intact. The luck was on her side that Salman spotted her, showed us her photographs and we liked them. She worked hard to reach the position where she is in today. She got Veer through a screen test and it’s sad if some still choose to call her as a Katrina look-alike.”
Through the very first pictures of Zarine that were revealed to the media, the perception building game began which carried on for weeks at stretch. Ultimately she came close to being a Katrina clone though due to her good luck, she didn’t fall into the Sneha Ullal trap who could never come out of the ‘Aishwarya Rai look-alike syndrome’ even years after Lucky – No Time For Love. A good performance in Veer meant that after a while, she came on her own and even audience started looking at her as Zarine rather than someone who bore some similarity to Katrina.
“Aisa hi hota hai“, smiles Sharma, “When a magician shows us something, we get an illusion. However, the moment you are able to get that out of your mind and take control of yourself you don’t fall under any illusion. The same happened with Zarine too. After all, naak, baal, aankh, sab hi toh alag hain! Jab parda uthta hai to sab saaf dikhayi deta. Yeh sab dimaag ka khel hai!”
This is the reason why it would only be helpful for the newcomer if there is some restraint shown in bringing up the topic of any similarity that she bears with Katrina Kaif. It may be natural or perhaps designed but for any newcomer, it may get her a moment of recognition but not necessarily huge benefits in the long run. We have seen Sneha Ullal going into oblivion after her brief ‘hey, check her out, doesn’t she look like Aishwarya Rai’ phase.
With Zarine promising to be much more than just a Katrina Kaif clone and looking extremely confident as an actor for her very first film, it only makes sense to see her ‘as-is’ rather than any preconceived notion of diverting the conversation towards a topic that may not necessarily be conducive for her status as an actor performer.