Bollywood shining. This is what one is constantly hearing today, and rightly so, since the industry is definitely on an upswing. After a period of complete silence with hardly any films going on floors, there is a gradual rise in production. However, there is still a cautious approach to the whole scenario and the first step in this direction is that the trusted lot here is – as always – the superstars.
There is no middle road here, at least for the established superstars. No more roping in of newcomers and trusting them to do the job. It is the known faces that are doing the trick here and due to this very reason, the industry is relying on its most saleable names. The Super Six who are in truly in charge here? Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Aishwarya Rai and the latest entrant – Kangna Ranaut. In this week’s ‘Reflections’, let’s explore how these women are calling the shots and reigning
from the top.
The road ahead
Believe it or not but between the six of them, there are as many as 30 films being made. If one looks at an average of 100 Hindi films being made in a year with 40 of them being truly ‘A’ grade, the impact that these actresses are making is as high as 75%. Truly fantastic. Let’s look at the line up.
- Kareena Kapoor: She is ruling from the top with Golmaal 3 lined up for release, shooting of Ra. One coming to a close, Agent Vinod progressing fast, Short Term Shaadi (tentative title) all set to go on floors soon and Heroine kick starting next year
- Katrina Kaif: After delivering multiple back to back hits in last couple of years, her repertoire in coming months may not boast of volumes. Still, her Tees Maar Khan is comfortably the hottest film before 2010 comes to a close. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara should build on heat next year while her pairing with Imran Khan in Yash Raj’s next should be interesting as well.
- Priyanka Chopra: The lady is certainly making some smart choices. Her Anjaana Anjaani is looking like a terrific love story, Saat Khoon Maaf should work for the lovers of drama, Silence should be yet another performance driven film while Don 2 and Italian Job remake (rumoured to be featuring her) should get the cool quotient on.
- Aishwarya Rai: With the privilege of having worked in India’s costliest film ever, Robot, Aishwarya has some double ‘dhamaal’ lined up in the form of Action Replayy and Guzaarish. It is surprising though that she hasn’t signed anything new for 2011. Still, one never knows, a biggie may just be round the corner.
- Deepika Padukone: She has galloped fast and would end 2010 with five releases, including Break Ke Baad and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se. She has taken a break when it comes to signing films though and the only new project which she is supposed to have committed so far is Desi Boyz.
- Kangna Ranaut: The pretty girl-woman would go down as the surprise of 2010. Just when she seemed to have been badly bruised due to Kites fiasco, Kangna went on a signing spree. Result? Other than her earlier films like Knock Out, No Problem, Game and Tanu Weds Manu for which she has completed shooting, she would also be seen in One and Only, Double Dhamaal and Bullet Train. She is also committed for a film with Sunny Deol while news is that she would also be seen opposite Salman Khan in the remake of Marathi film Shikshanacha Aaicha Gho as well as Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn starrer Rascals. If one had to go by sheer volumes, Kangna would certainly rule from the top.
Such heavy rush of films only makes one wonder that is it plain insecurity that is making actresses work on such huge number of films today? After all the competition has become so intense with only a select few films being made by the top banners. Moreover, unlike the earlier times when films were the only source of earning, there is also a huge world out there when it comes to endorsements. Top films mean bigger visibility and more visibility means better endorsement deals.
In a cut throat competition with stakes running in crores, there is no room for any flexibility whatsoever. Unlike their male counterparts where majority of them are not doing more than a couple of films a year, leading ladies are not quite taking any break whatsoever. Quantity is holding as much importance as quality and no wonder, most of these leading ladies have more than five confirmed films secure in hands.
Not just a glam doll
If one remembers the old times, especially the 70s and the 80s, any actor worth his/her salt had at least 10 films in hand at any given point in time. However, it also must be added that in those days of masala pot boilers, leading ladies didn’t quite have much to do except four songs and a couple of noteworthy scenes. The scene has definitely changed for the better today with leading ladies being quite conscious about their role as well as
script before consenting to do a film.
This means that each of the aforementioned superstar leading ladies has her film requiring her to add value to a project as an actor and not just as a glam doll. These females are the lead protagonists in each of their films and in some cases, even a central protagonist.
Result? A high pressure job
Gone are the days when a leading lady could sip her orange juice on the sets while the hero did all the talking and the kicking. Today, whether it is Kareena, Katrina, Priyanka, Aishwarya, Deepika or Kangna – each of them is expected to give to the film as much as the leading man and in some cases even more. They are expected to be present on the sets for most of the shooting days and schedules (as well as contracts) are drawn in such a manner that there is no space for any faux pas. Date diaries are no more at the mercy
of a star secretary as everything is planned to perfection well in advance, hence ensuring an out and out professional setup.
To add to this all, none of these young women can afford to relax once the film’s shoot is through. Promotional events are a part of the contract, dates have to be allocated for interviews, press conferences and overseas visits are a given as well while an overall professional conduct till right after the release of a film is pretty much the order of the day. And if a leading lady is working on five films a year, the pressure just multiples itself five times over.
The fun element?
This leads one to wonder when these pretty women actually get to enjoy all the luxuries of the world. Kareena hasn’t taken a break for ages now and her only outings are those quick visits to exotic locations with partner Saif Ali Khan whenever she gets a week off. Priyanka barely got free from her film shooting schedules when she lapped up her ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’ assignment. Katrina Kaif is finally breathing but one wonders whether she would allow that to last long. Aishwarya time and again fits in her international assignments during her Bollywood journey. Deepika Padukone has pretty much realised that after a dream debut in Om Shanti Om, life was only going to become tougher and busier. As for Kangna, one wonders if it is too much too quick that the little woman has taken up on herself.
How about the audience?
With a heavy number of films starring these six actresses in one single year, would members from the audience raise up their hands and complain? Can they be expected to cry for a new face? Not really in fact as long as the films turn out to be entertaining as a whole. Katrina Kaif is being seen on the big screen at a regular interval but no one seems to mind that. Kareena and Priyanka have been regularly coming up with films for years now and audience have time and again given them a nod of approval whenever they have come up with something spectacular. In the past too, there was a time when Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zinta were going through a great career phase with multiple films of theirs releasing in a span of a single year. No one really complained.
Eventually, it’s a film that counts in totality and as long as the overall package works, audience are expected to lap it all up, regardless of whether a leading lady (or man for that matter) is seen every second month.
The million dollar question though is – Do we have any reserve? What happens five years down the line? Is there a younger set of actresses out there who can be expected to reign from the top? Can we expect the likes of Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Sonakshi Sinha to rise up to the challenge as well and fill up these big shoes?
‘What next’ could well be the key phrase here!