Bollywood got more than its usual quota from the fashion world this year. But nobody from Katrina Kaif to Celina Jaitly could quite step into the stilettos of Aishwarya Rai and company
THEY WERE supposed to step into the stilettos of Aishwarya Rai and Sushmita Sen. They were supposed to give us moments of good cheer, moments to remember. They managed all right. Only thing is they forgot to add that dash of class, which separates an average effort from a memorable one. Truth to tell, at times these models-turned-actresses were so plain that one was reminded of Jane. They put their best foot forward, they learned to dance, they tried to emote. All to no avail. To put it straight: Beauties simply went bust.
There was no more glaring example than the three who rubbed shoulders - and a lot else - in Kaizad Gustad's Boom. Much was expected of Katrina Kaif, she of doe eyes. People were waiting to see Salman Rushdie's girl, Padma Lakshmi too. And Madhu Sapre's debut had been waited for long enough to make infinity intelligible. Yet, when the beauties put their well-plumed heads together, all that was conspicuous was the vacuity of their expressions.
Something similar happened later in the year. Celina Jaitly, she of beauty titles and a reputation to watch, acted the part of a girl with visual impairment in Feroz Khan's Janasheen. Seldom have girls got as flamboyant a man as Khan to direct them early in their careers. Seldom has anybody messed it up with such disdain. Jaitly gave it all, even got into skimpy bikinis to play the violin in a surging sea of passion. To no avail. You can take a horse to the pond, sea in this case, but can't make it drink. That is what happened with Jaitly. Her economy of expressions was matched by economy of clothes. The film sank, and with it, the girl.
Priyanka Chopra made a reasonable beginning with Anil Sharma's The Hero. But she was not the heroine there - that privilege was Preity Zinta's. And when she did get a chance in Raj Kunwar's Andaaz, people saw through the act. The girl was okay to look at, okay with acting too. Yet, she wore so little that one wondered if she could ever do the Indian heroine roles!
Much like Lara Dutta, who kept pace with Priyanka in Andaaz and realised there was more to acting than just attempting to reach the top on the pile of clothes you shed along the way. She did as much in Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost, wore skimpy blouses as an unlettered village girl, decked up her belly button. People looked elsewhere. And no satiation was round the corner in this desert tale.
Much like Nauheed Cyrusi, who flashed her arresting eyes with `devastating' effect in Inteha. She should, however, be grateful for the chance. She was denied even that privilege in Supari. Never mind. Nobody took notice. And those eloquent eyes languished for want of company.
Much the same fate awaited Masumi, she of girl next-door persona. She got a nice role in Chupke Se. The problem was, the film lived up to its name. It arrived stealthily, silently. It departed the same way too. This was the unfortunate experience of Gul Panag too. The little girl with a smile so sweet came in that tearjerker called Dhoop. The film found favour with the critics, nobody read what was written about this celluloid ode to Kargil hero Anuj Nayar. The film flopped and Gul failed to bloom in Bollywood.
Mehak Chahal and Shehnaz had better luck. Their films, Nayee Padosan and Ishq Vishq clicked with the masses but the girls did enough to merge with the crowds.
You could replace one with the other and nobody would have missed anything. Just like Rimi Sen, who sank silently in Hungama.
And Neha Dhupia who was nothing short of a calamity in Qayamat.
One girl who cried out for attention was Mallika Sherawat. She hit the headlines with statements kissing the obscene.
Her debut film, Khwahish, however, failed to live up to the expectations. With it were negated all surging desires for a quick romp for the queen that never was.
One could not, however, accuse Diana Hayden of looking for a quick bite of the success cake.
She opted for low-profile cameo in Khalid Mohamad's Tehzeeb. She remained the same way after the film failed to click.
Like other beauty queens, she gave it all. Again, her `all' was not enough. No such compunctions made Yana Gupta lie low.
The Czech beauty sang Babuji Zara Dheere Chalo. People walked in to see her act, walked out after she stopped shaking a leg.
That, incidentally, was the experience of almost all the fresh-eyed beauties from the ramp who tried their luck on the silver screen this year.
Few golden moments, plenty of flak awaited them. Not quite a model year, one would say.
ZIYA US SALAM
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