We would like nothing more than to rescue these girls from side-kick purgatory. Here are some ideas !
Do you ever get tired of watching the same three or four actresses in every single movie? If it isn’t Deepika it must be Katrina, and if it is Dharma it must be Kareena. If it is masala it must be Sonakshi and if it is an ‘author-backed’ role, it must be Vidya Balan. There are so many wonderful actresses in Bollywood today- each with such a unique personality- that it’s almost like the producers don’t know what to do with them. These girls deserve to be rescued from eye-candy/item-song purgatory- but since no one else in Bollywood seems to be doing the thinking for them- here are our suggested breakout roles for our Bollywood Girl Friends
1. Neha Dhupia- When she first burst onto the scene we instinctively didn’t like Neha Dupia since she represented the kind of Delhi girl who more or less bullied us during our college years (It’s true dear readers). But her public appearances and selection of roles over the years have revealed her to be one smart naan khatai. Maybe she wouldn’t have selected these parts if she had become an instant superstar, but we believe that her filmography is richer for having made these choices. She looks great, has a creative and distinct sense of style about her, speaks Hindi beautifully (a strangely dying art), and looks like she could tell a joke and hold a glass of Scotch in her hand at the same time!
Our Suggestion: A classic screwball comedy like His Girl Friday with her and Saif Ali Khan would do so well! They both wear their privileged remove well, and one can only imagine how salty their banter would be, and how many doors must bang and eye-brows be lifted before true love prevails. And who should direct this – why Rajat Kapoor of Mithya and Mixed Doubles fame. (I think he and Neha Dhupia are already good friends!)
2. Kalki Koechlin- Kalki was so much fun in her spoilt-to-goodness avatar in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara that we don’t know why filmmakers insist on making her play a good girl all the time. For most of the running time of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani we wanted to rush over to the other side and hear more about Aditi’s story. What would she do once she’s married? Will she put all the high society madames to their place with one cleverly chosen retort? Will she spend all her husband’s money in adopting a kennel full of stray labradors? Kalki has a way about her of showing a certain resolve. All her characters seem so sure of themselves, even in their wrong-headedness, that we can’t help but root for them to be right!
Our Suggestion: We think that Kalki could be an excellent Imtiaz Ali heroine. She would have made a better Heer than Nargis Fakhri and would have also added an interesting nuance to Geet (now running away from her hippy parents in Goa instead of the large joint family in Punjab perhaps?) An out-an-out Imtiaz Ali romance may just be the right vehicle for her to reach the big leagues.
3. Asin- Girlfriend is fiesty! And gorgeous! And deserves so much more than the 3 songs and one emotional scene rut that she’s always stuck with! Now it may be a personal choice (those movies pay for themselves) but surely there is a part of her that wants more? And by more we mean more ‘actorly’ stuff, more range, more dramatics and high histrionics and a character that is a little more fleshed out than “Salman Khan’s girlfriend”
Our Suggestion: Rumour has it that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been dreaming a magnum opus Bajirao Mastani for years. Instead of looking at his first-choice actors from ten years ago who are all clearly too old for the part, may we suggest Asin and Ranveer Singh? They are both so earthy and smouldering that their chemistry will be a explosive-to say the least!
4. Aditi Rao Hyderi- No moment in Hindi Cinema in 2013 made us despair more than Aditi Rao Hyderi’s bikini moment. It’s not her fault, we just had (have) better dreams for her! Part of it is in irrational likeness for the flawed London, Paris New York (hey someone put our life story on celluloid), and part of it is just this conviction that she’s meant for more than the second heroine in a Vishesh Films horror remake. She plays innocent so well, a well-meaning innocent, who is probably not as smart as she thinks she is (Ok, we are projecting a bit here or maybe just talking about her character in LPNY), but who is also capable of being a lot of fun.
Our suggestion: Firstly, quit the horror movies. Secondly, call Vishal Bharadwaj and ask him why Shraddha Kapoor is playing Ophelia in his Hamlet adaptation when you will do so much better? Thirdly, can Dharma please cast her opposite Ranbir Kapoor in their next movie? We already have the script ready. The two are call-center professionals who meet in the same late night cab, there is some mutual moaning over their horrible manager, rolls at Fanoos on a rain drenched midnight, falling in love, living in together, Ranbir quitting his job to try his luck at open-mike nights at sundry bars, Aditi getting a bit exasperated, the inconvenient return of her-MBA classmate Arjun Mathur, and then after all of this a Happy Ending (Clearly we’ve spent too long thinking about this).
5. Huma Qureshi- Huma is doing quite well for herself and Dedh Ishqiya should cement her reputation as a performer. But we want her to be a ***star***. She is so beautiful, displays such a strong sense of self-confidence and assurance, that we truly believe that she can do more than play the third wheel in ensembles (albeit strong ensembles)
Our suggestion: At the risk of spoiling the book for those who haven’t read it, she would make the perfect Amy in Gone Girl. Hers is a face that can convey vulnerability and strength and manipulation and diffidence all at the twitch of an eyebrow, and in our (imaginary) desi version of the movie she and Sushant Singh (I don’t trust his eyes) are playing clever mindgames with each other until she suddenly disappears one evening.