An Oscar Hangover

Published On: 2012-03-25

Author: Dufan Reena

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So there’s a lot of talk about the possibility of big Bollywood stars doing Hollywood films these days. First it was Vivek, now Aishwarya, I wonder how much of it will turn out to be true. Is Ash REALLY TRULY gonna do a film with numerously-Oscar nominated Meryl Streep! NO WAY??!!! Well, if it happens, she’s one lucky girl! And she’ll make me very proud if she holds her own against her Hollywood counterparts. But… CAN SHE? Not to degrade her acting, I’m infact a fan of hers, but I DO wonder if Bollywood’s style of (mostly) flamboyant histrionics will be considered as “good acting” in the West, or if it’ll just be laughed at? The thought makes me INCREDIBLY NERVOUS cos after all the excitement of FINALLY getting into a Hollywood film, I’d like whoever does it to make a HUUUGELY GOOD Impression! :D 

And of course, you all already know what I’m going to say! I’m going to say, that I wonder if Mr Hrithik Roshan is one of the few – if not the ONLY – one of our BIG stars that Can make that kinda impression, solely because of his ability to be SUBTLE yet sooo POWERFUL! His ability to TRULY IMMERSE himself into character and LOSE Mr Hrithik - superstar heartthrob - Roshan in a film role! 

I saw a poll at the Indiatimes site recently asking if we thought Bollywood stars were capable of changing their look for a film as drastically as Oscar winning South African actress Charlize Theron did for her role in the film Monster. WHAT kind of a poll question is THAT, is what I felt like asking! You all KNOW what Hrithik did for his role in Koi Mil Gaya! And I guarantee you he would’ve done the same in many roles if he Got such roles and his director’s were not Scared for him to lose the heartthrob image!

Infact I’ll tell you, the film Monster only released in my part of the world a week or two ago, and when I was reading the reviews, I went through a true and true de javu moment! Cos I found myself reading critics halfway across the world saying about Charlize, EXAAACTLY THE SAAAME THINGS those in India said about Hrithik when KMG released! I am not kidding you! If I could find the reviews, I’d quote them and you’ll feel like you’re reading about Hrithik’s performance as Rohit all over again! Except in actual fact you’ll be reading about Charlize’s performance in Monster! The SAME things about how he WHOLLY transformed into his character, about how it even seems wrong to call it ‘acting’ because the character was just SO REAL! 

The similarity in praise, and the unanimous accolades Charlize’s receiving, to that of Hrithik’s is just UNCANNY! IS this not proof enough, in a sort of roundabout way, that Hrithik is one Bollywood actor that is FOR SURE CAPABLE of giving the kind of TRANSFORMANCE / PERformance that Hollywood will SING PRAISES about! Oh my goodness the thought gives me goose pimples! : ) 

Is it really true that Lakshya will be showing at Cannes? I’d like to see it happen before I get too excited, but MAN if EVER we’ve got a chance to showcase Hrithik’s talents to a FEW Hollywooders who might take notice of this boy, it might be at Cannes! PLEASE let it be a good film! AND PLEEASE May Hrithik have given ANOTHER performance OF A LIFETIME! Especially considering he’ll be starring with the more internationally known Mr Amitabh Bachchan! I HOPE the limelight doesn’t dwell on AB, and the rest of the actors don’t fall in his shadow! 

Course the other huge problem is that Hrithik doesn’t seem very keen to leave our film industry and try out in Hollywood. But my question is, does giving it a shot have to mean leaving Bollywood? I don’t think so! In essence all we’re talking about is ONE REALLY GOOD role/film that makes everyone stand up and take notice of the talent we have here! It takes only one film for people world OVER to start talking about “that Indian actor Hrithik Roshan!” Can you IMAGINE!!!! Man I’m getting goose pimples again! :D 

That thought brings me to another Oscar-nominated movie. (A lot of them only released in SA recently so forgive me if these are old films to all of you). I watched The Last Samurai a few weeks back and I THROUGHLY ENJOYED the film!!!! (I hope lots of you have seen it cos it was really good!) But what REALLY STAYED with me Days after the movie, was not Tom Cruise (and that’s saying a lot cos I am a big fan!), or the powerful story, or the grand beautiful visuals, it was a man named Katsumoto… played by Japanese actor Ken Watanabe. 

Oh MY! What POWER and PRESENCE he exudes in the film! SUCH power! SUCH PRESENCE! SUCH compassion! And comic timing! And sensitivity...and a whole MIXTURE of everything else! Wow... there really is something very very special about this guy and the way he acted in the film... So much so that I found myself reading up on him on the internet afterwards... 

And realised only then to my absolute DELIGHT, that he HAD AN OSCAR NOMINATION!!!!!! And his FELLOW HOLLYWOOD CO-Star, SUPERSTAR Tom Cruise DID NOT!!!!! CAN YOU IMAGINE!!!!! Can you just IMAGINE that happening with our Hrithik!!! OH MY I think I’m FLOATING! :D And this is only BESIDES all the other numerous nominations Watanabe had at other prestigious Hollywood awards, including the Golden Globes! WOW! Who cares if he didn’t win, he was at the OSCARS! 

And do you know what, I nearly FAINTED when I read that this film was Watanabe’s FIRST ENGLISH SPEAKING ROLE!!!!!! I was under the impression up till then that the only way this guy could’ve got into a Hollywood film (and the only way an Indian could get such a good role) is if he’d been playing many small insignificant character roles before and this was just his big break! I was wrong! He’d NEVER BEFORE acted in a Hollywood film! This man could barely SPEAK English with ease!! 

HOW?!?!! How OH HOW can you give SUCH A POWERFUL performance when you barely speak the language! SOLID PROOF that acting is about sooo MUCH MORE than lines of dialogue... Phew! And yet his dialogues too were sooo ... WOW... THEN PLEASE SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME EVEN ONE SINGLE REASON WHY Hrithik can’t do the same! 

Hrithik is probably the ONE AND ONLY SINGLE popular actor in India who CAN do what Watanabe has done in this film! Who can express sooo MUCH intensity, and Emotion, and Power, and Sensitivity, and EVEN that Glorious physical presence… and a whole number of other things, not with dramatic histrionics, not EVEN with excessive words, but with simple, pure BRILLIANT ACTING! It IS about SO MUCH MORE than words and drama! It’s about expression, and sincerity, and feeling, and SOUL! 

Gosh I can almost PICTURE Hrithik as Katsumoto, so BRILLIANTLY would he do a role that layered! Oh my! IF only! IF ONLY the Samurai people were Indian and the Hollywood people had come to India to scout for actors, and they’d found Hrithik to play Katsumoto, and he’d right now be sitting proud knowing he competed with the best of Hollywood at the Oscars… And the rest of us Dufans would still be on cloud nine even a month later… Ah dreams… : ) IF ONLY!!!! 

But this film and what I saw Watanabe do really DID make me dream! Cos as PROUD as I am of him and what he accomplished in a film industry so far removed from his own, at the same time I'm actually extremely jealous! Look at them! All those Japanese actors! I was EXTREMELY impressed with a LOT of them, the young guy who played Katsumoto's son… Ujio, the Samurai warrior who hated Cruise until the end... Even Katsumoto's sister... And the kid! Too good! Could we POSSIBLY gather that many Indian actors who can give such Hollywood-standard GOOD performances? EVEN without speaking the language well? COULD WE? I really wonder!

And would you believe it if I said that the actor who played Ujio, is actually the WAAY bigger and more famous star than Watanabe in Japan, but he agreed to play the inferior role just cos he’s a nice guy! Can you even COMPREHEND a Shah Rukh or a Amitabh Bachchan doing that for a Hrithik around here? THIS is the problem! The emphasis is not on making good films here but on making money and becoming popular! HOW are we going to get global recognition on a world stage if our BEST actors keep doing that! If our most TALENTED actors stay in the secure knowledge that the people in India Love them doing things the way they do it, and that’s all they need or want! 

Gosh, I was sooo jealous cos there a bunch of completely Unheard of Japanese actors made a BIGGER impact on screen than their English speaking counterparts in a HOLLYWOOD film! And here WE are having to deal with the seeming impossibility of actors from our side of the world even GETTING INTO a Hollywood movie, never mind getting the core role and a Oscar nomination to boot! I can only dream of so many Indian actors holding their own against Hollywood actors IN a Hollywood film! And just Imagine, an Indian actor getting a Oscar nomination when his Hollywood co-star in the same film DIDN't! GOSH! I'd be crying for joy the day that happens! :D 

It makes me so sad that it feels like we have MILES to go before we reach that! I mean I went on the net to read about Watanabe after I watched the movie and I swear people left, right and centre, people who’d NEVER seen a Japanese movie in their lives, or who’d NEVER heard of this guy before in their lives, were SO STUPEFIED by his performance that THEY were starting websites for him! I mean REALLY! That MAKES ME DREAM! Because I KNOW Hrithik is AS GOOD! IF ONLY somebody would NOTICE!!!! I KNOW Hrithik can make that kind of impact! IF ONLY he would TRY! 

Apparently you DON’T have to pack up and settle down in Hollywood or go begging at director’s doors to get a good script! Apparently THEY COULD COME TO YOU! EVEN IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY! EVEN with as JUICY a LEAD (cos Katsumoto was THE Last Samurai!) role as one that could get you a OSCAR NOMINATION!!!! ... WOW... 

We often hear that Hrithik gets Hollywood offers, but he doesn’t seem to take them seriously! Or are they all silly little roles? I dunno. Hrithik really needs to keep an open mind about this. I honestly believe he’s the one person that can MAKE the kind of phenomenal impact and impression Watanabe made on the West! He NEEDS to BELIEVE in himself enough to have the confidence to accept such an offer when a good one comes along. It Doesn’t mean he’ll be deserting Indian films, infact he’ll be carrying Indian films Forward! 

Oh I SO Wish he would…! In the meantime, I guess I will just have to carry on fantasising about that day when our boy will become the one to follow the path his fellow Asian actors have already made, and walk that red carpet at the Oscars!! :D Come on Hrithik! I KNOW you can do it! :D