The Indian Film Industry for ages has followed a trend. It loves to hashtag people, and it has been doing it even before hashtags and social media came into existence.
“Rishi Kapoor’s son”, “Wardrobe disaster”, “Kajol’s sister”, “World’s most beautiful woman”, “King of Romance”, “Fight Master” etc., are not just phrases uttered with indifference to create a top-of-the-mind recall, but they are based out of some hardcore perceptions among Bollywood audience — a perception that viewers never want to let go; and a perception that the actors work very hard upon to modify.
‘Rishi Kapoor’s son’ has marched way ahead, to create a distinguished space for himself and take Kapoor-ism further with his own mix of cheap stunts with substance. We have started appreciating Vidya Balan’s wardrobe and she is one hell of a lady, who can force you to focus on things that she wills, rather than allowing your wicked brains to discuss her imperfections! But ‘Kajol’s sister’ sadly remained just that, and nothing more. The moment I utter Aishwarya Rai, you would still say ‘World’s most beautiful woman’. The fact that she is a great dancer and fine actor gets overshadowed. A series of good films could not replace the ‘King of Romance’ title as much as SRK voiced his discontent against such limiting categorizations. Ajay Devgan remains ‘Fight Master’ even after his successful trysts with comedy and substance.
There are some prominent names in the industry, who are slaves of their own hashtags today, often turning their strengths to weaknesses. It remains to be seen how their career progresses in the days to come and how their brand building exercises is received by the audience.
Here’s discussing the five best hashtags, oops! five best examples from the industry where potential was overshadowed by unfair perceptions.
Farhan Akhtar : #Director
Even today, Farhan Akhtar is not considered “hero-material” for huge budget mainstream films. He has given awesome performances in movies like Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, etc. Yet, no producer-director (other than Zoya Akhtar) has trusted a big budget responsibility on his shoulders. Not just that. If I ask you to name 10 best singers of contemporary India, you will not name Akhtar. Not because you don’t love his music; you adore it, I’m sure. But most likely, you’ll forget about him while naming your favourites. We have unfairly not allowed him to travel beyond the ‘Director’ category, though Farhan himself did not give us a reason to stick to that!
Fawad Khan : #Chikna
Pakistan was a forbidden word for the Indian middle class till he graced Indian television with Zindagi Gulzar Hai, and then everything else was forgotten, including our political differences.
Fawad Khan gracefully marched into women’s fantasies, culturally uniting the two nations all —over again, but stopped at that. Or maybe, his path was blocked there temporarily. From Shobhaa De to the 10 years-old-next door, everyone is raving about Fawad’s classy mannerisms and ability to make a girl feel that he is the man she’s been waiting for!
The dude possesses some serious acting chops and he is a refined singer as well. Yet, most Fawad praises are all about his eyes, his hairstyle, blah blah blah! We are yet to see where this actor takes himself in the days to come. Would Indian audience recognize him in roles where his looks are not the sole protagonist? Or will he remain India’s favourite eye candy for as long as he chooses to be here?
Alia Bhatt : #DumbBelle
An unplanned (I think so. You?) slip of tongue landed the Bhatt babe in a crazy situation. She seems to be prepared for the core job she is supposed to perform, accentuated with additional skills of music, dance, gossip-handling and journalist humouring.
Alia is courageous and sporting. Even if that spoof on her reacting to the Alia-Bhatt-messages is a PR exercise, it takes guts to acknowledge those and laugh at yourself! She has been applauded for the video, but the jokes on her stupidity never died down. Moreover, even her sense of humour gets explained as her dumbness.
These days, when verbal public bashing through social media or otherwise is the ‘in’ thing, this girl has exhibited a lot of class and patience. We hope her patience wins over our idiosyncrasies!
Sonam Kapoor : #JustAFashionista
Oh come on! I have been reading things about her “loud over-acting” in Khubsoorat. You really believe so? Or you can’t see her talents just because you are too focused on her fashion-sense? Way differently handled from the “original” Khubsoorat, Sonam Kapoor has done a brilliant job as the ever flamboyant Mili. She behaved like what every woman secretly is! And she is that woman who has appeared in complete non-glam avatars in multiple films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Ranjhanaa, partly in Mausam (Ok, chuck that!), etc.
But all you love is fashion-policing her, judging her by the appropriateness and perfection in her appearance. Sonam herself has fuelled this considerably, building an image of a glam doll. The audience is waiting to understand whether those fashion statements become her sole identity in the days to come, or she manages to swim deeper with her contributions to the Indian Film Industry.
Emraan Hashmi : #SerialKisser
“What else comes to your mind when I say Emraan Hashmi?” I asked a friend. Her response was, “Errr…Emmm…well, entertainment, entertainment and entertainment!!” She blinked each of the three times she repeated that word.
I don’t blame her. That’s what brand Emraan Hashmi is all about. And he is so dedicated to that image, that even reports on his spotless family life with his wife and son could not deter its impact. The conflicts in all his films arise from those womanizing habits, and even solutions to the conflicts hover around the same practice. In Emraan Hashmi films, thus, both cause and consequence erupt from the same origin! Who knows whether this is Hashmi’s personal taste, or his producers-directors are reluctant to explore his capacities devoid of the adventurous kisses.
The world is yet to find out whether he stays glued to his core competency or significantly rediscovers himself, sometime, somewhere, with or without his audience supporting his move.
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