Movies. The one subject that intrigues, enthralls, engages, and involves everyone- from a 5 year old kid to his 70 year old 'Dadaji'- from the 'nukkad paanwallah' to the prime minister! ... This blog is for rare, relatively unknown, classics from the Indian Hindi Film industry- and 'kabhi kabhi' revisiting popular classics too- as it is hard to stay away from fast food for long!! Enjoy :)
Monday, June 27, 2011
Reflections: Actors and the Act of Acting
Now a days we see a lot of people trying to make a perfect top 10 list of actors. Well here are my views on acting and actors and why I don’t agree with most of such lists and why such lists should not be attempted.
First. It is the writer, and not the actor who speaks on screen. It is the scene, the context, the environment and the treatment which translates into a performance. So naturally the general view is that dark, disturbing and edgy movies comprise of the best ‘acting performances’. So Abhay Deol is hailed as a great actor after DevD, while most people rubbished his performance after Socha na Tha (actually how many people saw Socha Na tha?). After DevD worked and once Abhay was accepted as a great actor- people see Socha na Tha on TV and cant stop singing praises. This example brings me to the second point.
Second. The general sentiment is seldom argued. If ABC is a good actor, and DEF is an over the top actor. Then ABC is a good actor and DEF is an over the top actor. An example- when you ask people who are the best actors ever- people who want to sound intelligent and knowledgeable (almost everyone) will say Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Irfan Khan, PANKAJ KAPOOR. Then ask them how many movies of Pankaj Kapoor have you seen? “I don’t remember. Recently I saw Dus. He was brilliant”… So there are many youngster who havent seen any work of Guru Dutt, Ashok Kumar etc. but will still include them as the best actors ever.
Third. Histrionics / EDGY/ EMOTIONAL= good acting. Now again this is my view and people may choose to disagree. I didn’t like Aamir Khan the actor in TZP. Now this is blasphemous almost. If I say this to anyone- ANYONE- they will say- “Are you mad? How could you not like him?” Well I was very uncomfortable while watching him cry and shed tears when he saw child labor etc. (in the title song). His dialogues seemed too rehearsed- an actual teacher like that wont talk like they way he did in the movie- in that sense it was not a natural performance. But because he is a good actor in general and the movie was great- he was great in TZP. Now I hear that the people in Shaitan are such good actors- they all pitched in with fabulous performances- but the truth is- most of the times they were looking into the camera and acting weird. I am not an actor- but give me those parts and I would be able to do them (it’s another thing that I would have refused them). This brings me to the fourth point.
Fourth. There is one simple test. I am not an actor. Most of us are not. (its another matter that all of us are actors). So when I see a performance sometimes I wonder- can I do this? could I have done this? I could have easily attempt what Abhay did in DevD (thats what I feel), what Rahul Bose does in many of his movies, in fact what Aamir did in TZP (I could have made an attempt at least). Maybe this point sounds a bit weird. But how many of us can attempt Dabangg. So when a man does that and makes it a huge phenomenon- people just say that he is a star- what was there to act in it? common try. give it a try. Okay its a larger than life role. But if somebody can carry it off- he needs skill- and that skill describes acting for me.
Fifth- Now a days actors are defined by the company they keep. So Ranvir Shorey, Vinay pathak, Rajat Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla are brilliant actors. So if some one acts in their films/ or films of similar sensibilities- he is a good actor. Neha Dhupia a case in point ( I have made this point earlier but cannot resist)- After Qayamat she was deemed a bad actor- now a days she gets praise from leading critics and public alike- how perceptions change.
Sixth- it is very easy to experiment when there are almost no stakes. So a Irfan Khan, Kay Kay Menon, Abhay Deol can experiment and do hatke stuff and win accolades ( I am not saying that they are not good actors- I am really fond of both Irfan and Kay Kay) – it is just that they act in films and subjects that people associate with good acting. And people dont even remember their bad works- or they easily forgive them for that- who remembers a HISS when you have a YEH SAALI ZINDAGI to praise? Can someone like Salman Khan really afford to do such roles? When he tried in London Dreams- he tried to please the masses and mix commercial elements- and it ended up as a confused film- he did great- and had the same role been done by say a Kay Kay menon- it would have been hailed as an awesome performance- because it wouldnt have had the comic /fun elements salman’s character had-
Seven. And last ( I am tired of typing- and you guys would be tired of reading- if you are reading that is) ABUSES. EDGY STUFF. Dont know what is happening these days. So when Rani Mukherjee says fuck- it makes the audience go WOW- WHAT A REALISTIC PERFORMANCE- Vidya Balan in Ishqiya was good- but I feel she was as good in her bad films too- like Kismat Konnection- but there it was her wardrobe that got the attention- Bad film is not =bad acting, good film is not = good acting.
THESE ARE JUST MY VIEWS. People are free to disagree. As they are free to have as many top ten lists as they want.