I was watching a hindi movie yesterday on TV..it was a movie that I had watched with a large group of college friends in the very front row in the cinema hall about four years back, and the movie had been so NOT paisa vasool. Anyway, I gave the movie another chance to impress me yesterday. And I realised that I ended up criticising it even more, but from a different angle. I was very focussed on my criticism this time, and my focus was the side/supporting actress. I won’t take any names, neither of the movie, nor of this actress. But she’s tall, and can be made to look prettier, even if the character she was playing wasn’t supposed to be ‘glamorous’. But I couldn’t help marvelling on the costume/creative directors’ idea of ‘hotness’. She was made to show lengths and lengths of her already long legs and to top it all, a badass attitude which defines a so-called ‘modern woman’ in ‘passionate’ love.

With all due respect to the creative directors and scriptwriters and screenplay writers, and whoever else is involved, since when did cinema become a play-field of stereotypical characters? Cinema is cinema when it’s imaginative, creative and yet makes us relate to the characters in some way. I’m sure many girls in this generation may have related to this particular character in terms of her outlook on life, but why is our collective idea of ‘hotness’ so limited? Why does it have to stop at washboard abs, toned legs, and chiseled facial features? I miss people who miss the beauty in a woman. To be honest, the actress looked anorexic. She has looked much better in many better movies that she’s done (maybe because she looks way better when fully clothed). I don’t know how I missed that when I watched the movie earlier. Sure, she may have a solid metabolism or a genetic tendency to not put on weight (lucky woman), but I’m still sure she doesn’t eat anything.

A woman or a man can look ‘hot’ even when they put on weight, because hotness quotient of a person is ultimately contingent on a person’s personality. Talking of personality, one need not be extremely gregarious to seem hot. Hotness can be exuded silently as well. In fact, mystery adds on to the hotness quotient. Talking of women, a woman needs to look like (and behave like) a woman if she really is aiming at looking hot. Coming back to the stereotype, why can’t a fully-clothed-and-still-hot woman shoot a documentary in snow? I find it impossibly weird, for obvious reasons. Why should an actress look like she doesn’t have proper clothes or she hasn’t eaten in days? Perhaps her natural curves vanished in ‘thin’ air. Why does passion always have to be loud and lewd? Since when did a ‘free spirits’ character start indicating a free  (anorexic) body? (It’s surprising nobody ogled at her even though she was in India in the movie..how’s that even possible. Privileged she must have felt.) Is that all there is to a ‘modern girl’?

Bollywood needs to move over this narrow-mindedness, because this is where our creativity also lessens. This is the reason why Hollywood goes on to showcase a 50-something Meryl Streep who alongside Anne Hathaway makes fashion look like art in ‘The Devil wears Prada’, and Bollywood (sometimes) struggles with presenting real talent (not ‘fresh’ talent) many a times. It’s important to get under the skin of the character, but it’s equally important to not let the character get under the skin. Someone like Meryl Streep doesn’t shine in her movies solely because of the character she plays..most of her fans will agree that it’s her own individuality as well which shines through her characters. She makes those characters her own, and not vice-versa. An actor’s surrender to a character shouldn’t be at their own expense, because an actor is also an individual. It’s an actor’s talent that makes a movie worth watching. A character can be written, but it’s upto the actor to make it look real, or else, relatable. There’s more to actors than just their looks. Maybe that’s why, theatre artists have more credibility when they perform on the big screen. As audiences, we instantly say something like “Oh, he/she is a theatre artist, he/she’s bound to be good”. Since when did ‘hotness’ become a criterion for making someone an ‘actor’? ABCD (Any body can dance), any body can be made to look like the stereotypical ‘hot’, but does any body care about the ‘act’ in an actor?

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3 thoughts on “Where’s the ‘act’ in an ‘actor’?

  1. Very, very true.
    Funny thing, I was watching The Devil Wears Prada yesterday.
    Apparently, Meryl Streep stayed away from interacting with the cast and crew of the movie just to stay in the aloof character of Miranda Priestly! Now, that’s commitment.
    Bollywood is slowly putting the ‘act’ back in the actor. Indie-ish movies like Masaan, Queen, Piku and Dum Laga Ke Haisha were great examples. On the other hand, there were Dilwale and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo , movies which did better, money wise.
    I think Bollywood caters to standards set by society although it is crucial too in setting those standards. It’s a circle.

    Anyway, all is not lost. For every yin, there is a yang. Let’s hope 2016 is better.

    PS- Happy New Year, ma’am. 🙂

    1. Hehe..wow, telepathy.
      Happy new year to you too! 🙂
      And yeah, Bollywood is slowly catching up. I think I forgot I was writing about a 4-year old movie 😛 I’m yet to watch Masaan and Dum Laga ke Haisha, heard such good reviews about them.
      Cheers to good cinema!

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