During the 80s and 90s when thanks to the “angry young man” Amitabh, action films were the predominant genre, it was all masculine force with high doses of testosterone that we witnessed on our screens.
As a younger brigade like Sunny Deol and then Hritik Roshan and Akshay Kumar took over the action scenes got bolder and more death-defying. Super men entered the fray.
We also had the Khan trio whose screen dominance was so vast that if an actress failed to make a ‘hit pair’ with even one of them, she was out of reckoning. This is where Madhuri and Kajol scored. Talented performers themselves, they never carried films on their strength.
Now many of the stars named above are aging and their hey days are clearly over. Salman is under a legal cloud. Proved guilty but out on bail. SRK, Amir will still produce and star in a film once in two years or so and sell it using every marketing trick in the books, but they are clearly not the super stars they once were.
So, who is to the fore now? Who are the reigning stars? The super stars of tommorow?
Not of Bollywood lineage yet making their mark
Surprise, surprise! It is a couple of females – Deepika and Kangana. Also to an extent Priyanka . Both are not of Bollywood lineage like Kareena or Sonam; neither have come in as Beauty Queens winning international pageants like Ash or Priyanka. Yet it is their films that are making waves now. Queen was probably the most talked about movie of last year. The effortless ease with which Kangana essays the role of a bride jilted at the altar, picking up the pieces of her broken heart and moving on, determined to go on a Europe honeymoom alone (since she had been saving up for it) and discovering herself in the process.
Deepika has always got to play the educated, independent, professional city girl with vulnerable undertones. Whether it was Love Aaj kal or Break ke Bad or Jawani…she played an architect, a stage actress, a Doctor.
The verdict is out – Piku is going to be the “cult film” if this year. A surprise hit, it is on its way to becoming a ‘super hit’ and may very well join the Rs. 100 crore club. It is an usual film, no ‘item numbers’, no romantic duets – not even a romance for that matter! No shooting at exotic locales abroad; no villians, no mara- mari, dhushum-dhushum and no ‘attempted rape’ scene. It was not promoted extravagantly. Yet it is the hit it is. And the biggest contributor is Deepika – she IS Piku. She lives Piku. A multi tasking, harassed career girl of a metro like Delhi, living with her demanding parent and making half hearted attempts at finding a man. “I have needs too”.
She had contributed equally to the success of her many films in the last two years. Yeh Jawani hai Deewani; Ram Leela; Cocktail etc.
Everybody is talking about Kangana’s stellar performance in Tanu Weds Manu Returns and how she is the Queen of Bollywood. Not many know that the Director of Tanu Weds Manu was reluctant to make a sequel, it is the growing success of Kangana that prompted him to give in. The part- 2 was made primarily for her and she plays a double role in it.
Broken affairs with tinsel town men
Co- incidentally both had made serious commitments to two guys belonging to Film families. Deepika to Ranbir Kapoor and Kangana to Adhyayan. The two met on the sets of their film, Raaz 2 and love blossomed. Kangana had broken up with a much older and married Aditya Pancholi and found love in the arms of Shekhar Suman’s son, Adhyayan Suman. They went steady for a while and even aknowledged their relationship in public. But it did not last long. Some media reports allege that it was Adhyayan’s dad, Shekhar Suman who was against the relationship and wanted his son to marry the daughter of a prominent builder. In an interview to The Times Of India, Adhyayan said, “Yes, we’ve moved on from this relationship. I guess this was how long it was meant to last. At this point, I really want to focus on my career and professional commitments. Sustaining a long-distance relationship of this intensity is tough.” Kangana also admitted that they had moved on, and that she was shocked by Adhyayan’s decision. “Adhyayan and I had a talk about our relationship and it was his decision to move on. It came as a shock to me. But I guess he has other priorities now, and many options in terms of people to be with. It’s an amicable break-up and I wish him the best”. The guy broke up for his career, and sadly no one even remembers his name today!
In a way Deepika and Ranbir had a similar story. ‘Bachana Ae Haseeno’ brought them together and soon they were inseparable. Deepika, who had earlier been paired with some cricketers, including Dhoni , but had never spoken out publicly about them now freely admitted to being in love. One could see she thought this love affair was for keeps; it was the real thing. But then she reportedly caught her beau red handed with Katrina and the two had a public break up. In Ranbir’s case also sources say his mom Neetu Singh did not approve of Deepika.
Deepika took the break up very hard. She went on saying there were days when she had cried for Ranbir to overcome whatever happened and today she thanks him for providing her that phase.
“It made me realise I should not be so attached to one thing or a person – after the break-up the fact that I had to pick myself up. I cried a lot after my break-up. But I have become a better person and I thank him for that,” said Deepika.
Role models in real life too
But there is a lot more to the two actress than meets the eye.
Apart from her acting prowess, Kangana is known for being someone who is refreshingly honest in the tinsel town.
While actors make crores of rupees promoting products, Kangana refused to be a part of the bandwagon. Did you know that the actress declined a fairness cream endorsement because she does not believe in the concept of fairness.
In an interview she was quoted as saying, “Ever since I was a kid, I have never understood the concept of fairness. Especially, in such a case, as a celebrity, what kind of an example would I be setting for younger people? I have no regrets about turning this offer down. As a public figure, I have responsibilities.
Kangana was reportedly offered Rs. 2 crore for the ad.
She said her sister was dusky, yet beautiful, and if she went ahead with the ad she would insult her. “If I can’t do that to my sister, how can I do it to the entire nation?” she added.
Deepika has been gutsy enough to talk about her ‘depression’ publicly too. It was a heady phase for her when mental depression suddenly struck – may be the trauma of the break up was still there?
Deepika Padukone had been on top of the box-office game, won all the awards this season, and still has the best of directors and actors lining up to work with her. It is possible why the media calls her the rising queen of Bollywood. No one knew – till she divulged it herself later – that it was during this very successful phase that she felt shattered and empty inside and cried a lot. But her family and friends came to her rescue and forced her to seek medical help. Today she is confident enough to inspire others with her example.
Ironically, since the break up, Ranbir’s career seems to have nose dived. He hasn’t had a hit worth mentioning, or even been noticed in any role for his acting in the last two years.
Making Indian Women proud
Think of Deepika’s controvertial ‘Woman with spirit’ video. Many have panned it but there are many Indian women who identify with it and say what she has said is very right. Women have the right to their decisions, their bodies and their lives too.
Kangana in or out of films is the role model for many young girls. Hailing from a small town, the grit and the determination with which she made her mark is truly inspiring.
Atta girls. March on…keep conquering the world.
– Sunita Mudaliar
We are watching and applauding. And learning too.