It's reclamation season for Bollwood

Published On: 2012-10-22

Author: Saibal Chatterjee

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It's reclamation season for Bollwood

Source: Wide Angle

By: Saibal Chatterjee

Date: April 26, 2006



For Bollywood stargazers, the next few months promise a bushel of riches. Hrithik Roshan returns to big-time action after a brief lull, Kajol makes a much-awaited comeback to the silver screen, and the peerless Rekha dons her dancing robes and gears up to make yet another statement as an actress of substance.


Hrithik’s first release in all of two years, Krrish, a turbo-charged, special effects-laden action fantasy, has the obvious makings of a blockbuster. More than that, however, the Rakesh Roshan-directed film seems set to give popular Hindi cinema its first real comic-strip superhero. Who else but Hrithik could have donned the mantle?


For Hrithik, Krrish is a gilt-edged opportunity to make amends for the box office failure of his last release, Farhan Akhtar’s wartime drama, Lakshya (2004). His performance in that film had drawn critical praise all around, but it could not rescue Lakshya from its less than average commercial showing.


The fact that Hrithik is a veritable powerhouse at the box office is beyond doubt, but his immediate future as a Bollywood superstar will hinge to a great extent on whether Krrish replicates the super success of the film that it is a sequel to, Koi… Mil Gaya. If it does, Hrithik will end up achieving the seemingly impossible: upstaging the currently ubiquitous Aamir Khan in what has so far overwhelmingly been the year of Rang De Basanti.


Aamir, on his part, will be back in the multiplexes next month with Kunal Kohli’s Fanaa, which co-stars the gifted Kajol. The latter’s presence in the cast of the Yash Chopra-produced film has understandably generated a huge amount of media buzz.


Kajol will make a comeback with Kunal Kohli’s Fanaa.


Kajol was last seen in a major screen role five years ago, in Karan Johar’s multistarrer Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. She was in such fine fettle that she almost overshadowed stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan. As a garrulous Chandni Chowk girl who falls in love with and marries the scion of a wealthy upper class household, Kajol went well beyond the limitations of the screenplay to etch out a character that stayed with the viewers long after the film had exhausted all its mushy reserves.

The consummate scene-stealer that she is, Kajol is capable of stamping her personality on a character and a film without ever letting the effort show. That is precisely why Fanaa is such a tantalising proposition. Pitted against the meticulousness of Mr Perfectionist himself – Aamir never gives less than 101 per cent to a role – Kajol’s spontaneity would be a counterpoint that could give Fanaa just the sort of chemical frisson that makes healthy on-screen duels such a delight to watch.


Talking of frisson, one seasoned actress who is capable of generating some on her own is the ever-steady Rekha. In Bengali director Goutam Ghosh’s Hindi-language Yatra, which is ready for release, she will match her acting abilities with a thespian of the quality of Nana Patekar. That, needless to say, would be worth much more than the price of the ticket.


Yatra isn’t Rekha’s comeback film. In fact, she never ever went away from the arclights. Apart from last year’s mesmerising nightclub act in Parineeta, she has been seen off and on in films like the Koi…Mil Gaya, Lajja, Dil Hai Tumhara and the disastrous Bachke Rehna Re Baba. In fact, she has a role in Krrish as well. What makes her association with Yatra special is the fact that the film marks her return to the non-mainstream space.


The last time we saw Rekha in a non-commercial Hindi film – if we discount Shyam Benegal’s Zubeidaa – was in 1984. The film was Utsav, Girish Karnad’s adaptation of a classical Sanskrit play.


Much of Rekha’s enduring aura as a screen diva hinges on her memorable star turn in yet another off-mainstream film, Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan (1981), but for reasons unknown she hasn’t been seen often enough in films of that class.


Therefore, Yatra, which has her playing a dancer-singer a la Umrao Jaan Ada, represents a journey back to where the 51-year-old Rekha really belongs. In this exciting season of creative and professional reclamations, expect her to be right up there among the best and the most talked about star-actors when the spotlight is turned on and the bows are taken at the end of 2006.