Thursday, September 5, 2013

Those Arms Need Rest



Google Images: santabanta.com

Acting is said to be a shy man’s revenge. There is little point in acting unless an actor re-invents himself and surprises his fans with something new.

Chennai Express’, the fastest 200 crore grosser of all times has Shahrukh playing a forty year old Rahul. At a time when the air is suffused with cynicism, three hours of mindless song and dance away from the tumble of the rupee, jumble of our leaders and fumble of our economy has done wonders at the box office. Regardless of the success of Chennai Express, how long can SRK spread his arms, lift his lungi and continue to play the quintessential Rahul?

Rahul at 25, Rahul at 40
His bratty boy charm and wicked wit as Rahul in ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ remains etched in memory. On a personal note, I have to say that I place ‘Chak De, India!’ and ‘Swades’ on a higher pedestal. And in both the movies Shahrukh was not playing Rahul. At forty-seven, Shahrukh can make all the jokes about being forty, but his self deprecating humor is not likely to attract audiences for a long time. Not everyone can ape Rajnikanth and bash goons at sixty plus.

The truth is that the triumph of any commercial success blurs reasoning. And in all likelihood, Shahrukh will give in to the temptation of self-indulgence. Fair enough. But it is time to break away from the comfortable company of director friends like Rohit Shetty and Karan Johar. His buddies have done nothing to break the clichéd mould of ‘Rahul’. Ensconced in his comfort zone, Shahrukh is likely to become a prisoner of his social chamber.

Re-invention = Resurrection

It took nearly a decade for Amitabh Bachchan to grasp this reality and break the mould of angry Inspector Vijay. Unlike Amitabh, those who refused to emerge from shadows like Dharmendra or Govinda, have failed to stage a successful comeback. Why, even a youngster like Ranbir Kapoor is evolving film after film. King Khans’ bête noire, Salman Khan has evolved from Prem to Pandey ji, but much like Shahrukh, Salman Khan continues to play Salman in all his movies. Among the Khan troika, only Aamir Khan has had the courage to play different characters far away from the lover boy of QSQT. But then, Aamir is not in the race of making the fastest crore at the box office, is he?

Rahul in Jammu-Tawi Express

Of all the people, Shahrukh knows that times have changed. Labels are coming unstuck and audiences are ready to accept various characters. Regardless, Shahrukh continues to play Rahul.
I am guessing that after the success of Chennai Express, Rohit Shetty will announce a sequel. This time the fun ride can be called ‘Kolkata Express’ or Jammu-Tawi Express’. No points for guessing that the hero on the train will be, well, Rahul.

Read the entire post originally on The Indianexponent
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44 comments:

  1. I really admired him during his initial Rahul days but he forgot to evolve as an actor and lost my respect. Giving intelligent answers during interviews does not make you a good actor.

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  2. He forgot to grow old as he grew old, only to enter and keep entering roles and characters which make women swoon at his dimples. I wish he knew not just how to handle his fame, but where to gracefully retire from it too. If not retire, at least not remain a college student. Nice one, Alka! :)

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    1. No need to retire, he needs to re-invent, try different things.

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  3. I liked the Rahul of DDLJ, but the Rahul of Chennai Express was over the top in every which way. My favourite Shah Rukh Khan movies are Chak de India and My Name is Khan.

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  4. nicely put across Alka ... i am a Salman fan - and thus enjoyed every bit of it (but for reference to Salman - personal bias). but yes - no time for stereotypes !!!

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    1. A pleasure to see you here. Makes my day. Ahh, don't we know that you are Salman loyalist. I remember your excitement after Dabangg.

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  5. There was a time I didn't miss a single Shahrukh movie. And look what he's done to himself to keep his stardom intact. I feel sorry for him and his wasted brilliance.

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    1. Like Salman, he plays SRK in every film.

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  6. Rahul should well realise like Vijay in time else would be in trouble. It was difficulty holding seats of Chennai express already, sequel if kolkata express would go dedicated to Mithun then:-)

    Nicely penned...

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  7. I think he wants to be rajnikanth of bollywood.. I really like him a lot but did not like him much in chennai express.. He looks a lot older then 40.. He better start using rajnikanth's make-up artist.. :)

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    1. Ha ha, but not everyone can do that. Lets wait and watch.

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  8. I remember the movie that shot him to fame. It was a shocker. I remember the jolt the scene on the roof gave me. Not many people had the guts to start off their careers as anti heroes in India then. Wish he'd take a page out of his own book and dare to be different.

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    1. A valid reminder. Success does different things to different people.

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  9. All these actors seem to live in a vacuum far removed from reality. They continue to follow the same stinking formula movie after movie. I have hated all of SRK's recent movies and have no intention of watching CE.

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    1. His buddies want him to play SRK and no one else. And he falls in the trap. When the money is good who can blame him?

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  10. That's the problem with actors - after a point the image becomes the man :)

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    1. You said it. But he needs to break that image.

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  11. the sooner he does, better it is..
    I didn't even bothered to go n watch.. mere trailer was enough to spook me :P

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  12. Bang on Di, other two non-Rahul movies of SRK are Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na and Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, which deserves Kudos but as you rightly said, he needs to break the mould and leave directors like KJO. Another person who is on similar track is Sachin Tendulkar, not accepting to the fact that every new game he'd play, may add few runs to his name but definitely taking away a big chunk of his fan following.

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    1. Yes, those two were different too. Commercial success hampers decision making and SRK is getting sucked in the box office vortex.

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  13. The image that keeps coming to my mind is of all our aging superstars, from Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand through Rajendra Kumar, Jeetendra, Amitabh Bachchan and now Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, is that they seem to run on the same spot for decades on end. I don't know whether it is their fear to take on new material that belies their image, of if they just don't get any new material they can experiment with. Sure, there'll always be an occasional Swades and Chak De, India! (I totally agree with you that those two are SRK's best - in fact so good that even if he had stopped working in films after making them, I would remember him forever), but I don't know if experimental film makers would even approach these actors with their work. For example, for the life of me, I can't imagine the maker of Vicky Donor or Barfi or Kai Po Che or whatever reaching out to a Salman with their offering.
    I think the oldies are now solid prisoners of their own image.

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    1. You have summed it up nicely. SRK and Salman are prisoners of their image.
      Look at how smartly Ranbir balances box office with different characters he plays - Sid, Rocket Singh, Jordan, Barfi.

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  14. Aamir Khan is applying his mind outside the box office and garnering a lot of crores from the management skills he keeps on honing all the time. This guy has a plan, and he knows it. Others are just milking an old cow.

    Nice post there. Pretty much stands up in support of the oft quoted statement of change being the only constant.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. Plus SRK can afford to take risks. He has made enough money.

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  15. So well written, Alka and there comes a time when a superstar has to change genre to challenge himself as an actor. I love AB and AK who constantly challenge themselves. I liked SRK in his earlier movies plus Chak De Indian and think he plays himself too much. Cheerz for the wonderful write up:)

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    1. True. SRK and Salman have become prisoners of their own image.Look at how smartly Ranbir balances box office with different characters he plays - Sid, Rocket Singh, Jordan, Barfi.

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  16. Seriously. That is why I chose not to watch this film!

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  17. I have few friends in the film industry.....but,SRK is one man I can't stand.
    I have seen only one movie of his BAAZIGAR and that too because of Kajol.

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  18. It's sad - I thought he was fantastic, but the sheen has worn off in the last few years. He just tries too hard now and it shows :(

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  19. I think SRK is already a prisoner of his social chamber. Why else the attempts at remaining Rahul. The announcement of being forty in CE was apparently a way of telling the audience that SRK is now doing age appropriate roles but that trick didnt work. And the self deprecating humor is a thing of the past. I wonder how the audiences can take his crap, and that of people like Rohit Shetty. That guy is making a celebration out of mindlessness.

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  20. I loved him in Chak De and Pardes too...can't understand why he is stuck in a rut.

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  21. Even I felt he was far better in Chak De and Swades. Have you watched Hey Ram? He had a supporting role in that and he was really good. Rahul is getting a little too much!

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  22. Remember watching him in the tele serials like Circus etc.....
    He did some good work in some of the movies but in every movie its "Shah Rukh Khan" that you see and not the character.(except maybe Swades)

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