New Delhi: The success of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ fetched an international recognition for Anil Kapoor. Probably this was the reason that he went for a tiny role in ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’. He might have thought that doing a small role in a big Hollywood film is more worthy than sticking to Bollywood only. He threw parties and talked a lot about ‘MI4’ which made the Indian audiences thrilled about his presence in the film. However, the film’s release brought disappointment for the audiences who saw the actor doing a blink and miss role. What hurt more was the insignificance of his character in the film.
Similarly, the initial trailers of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ were reluctant to feature Irrfan but eventually he got space. He proved more sensible than Anil Kapoor and didn’t brag about his role in the film. This led to the speculation that he might have a small role in ‘Spider-Man’. The audiences were in a way prepared to see him as some minion in the film, so when he appeared as Dr Ratha on the screen people guessed that he may not come again in the film. And when he came again in the story towards the end, it was seen as a bonus for him. His not talking about ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ prior to its release actually proved to be beneficial for him. Not many criticized him for a small role as it was expected, unlike Anil Kapoor, who made his role sound almost at par with Tom Cruise in ‘MI4’.
Now, when the trailers of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ are out, spectators can find Amitabh Bachchan along with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire in them. Media reports have divulged the fact that Big B doesn’t have a very long role in the film. In fact, Amitabh Bachchan wrote on his blog bigb.bigadda.com, "I play Meyer Wolfsheim for about a few seconds... yaa...by the time you look down on your popcorn to pick another morsel, I'd be gone from the film... he he... kinda short service."
Amitabh Bachchan is still one of the most prominent faces of the Indian film industry. He commands respect from critics as well as the common movie enthusiasts. He is one man who has redefined the meaning of cinema and popular culture at many occasions. He is among superstars of Hindi films even at the age of 69. Hollywood may believe in casting right person in the right role but it’s very unlikely that Indian film enthusiasts would love to see the megastar in a tiny role.
Doing small roles could be a part of the strategy for many actors who want to graduate to bigger roles but Amitabh Bachchan is probably not a part of that league. His calibre and status is no lesser than Hollywood biggies in his own territory.
Freida Pinto could be an example in this regard. The way she planned her career is a perfect example of going by a strategy. Her PR team has done an exceptional job in presenting her as ‘no alternative’ face for Asian-ethnic characters. She has invariably featured in established magazines’ lists of popular celebrities. From Andre Agassi’s charity show to a high profile red carpet event in Cannes, her publicists are everywhere.
Further, she is a smart actress when it comes to picking the right role. She never went for smaller, sidekick kind of roles despite knowing that her face doesn’t suit the typical Hollywood heroine’s requirements. It’s been just seven films for her but she has risen to the level of grade one actresses of Hollywood.
Indian actors need to understand the value of important and significant roles if they don’t want to end up as a forgettable character.
Western film enthusiasts still remember Amrish Puri, Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah but they probably won’t remember Kabir Bedi in the same breath.
Anupam Kher will soon be seen sharing screen space with Robert De Niro in ‘The Silver Lining Playbook’, Irrfan will again be visible in ‘Life of Pi’, some other actors will also try to break into the Hollywood league, but all of them need to choose between a presence and a significant presence.
And yes, bragging about one minute appearances will only make it difficult for them as the fans would be asking for explanations after the release of their films.
- First Look: Amitabh Bachchan in 'The Great Gatsby'
- The Great Gatsby book excerpt: Amitabh Bachchan's character of Meyer Wolfshiem
- The Great Gatsby: Big B in a blink and miss role
- 'The Great Gatsby' trailer brings alive glamorous America of 1920s
Do you think doing a tiny role in Hollywood films is a good strategy for established Bollywood actors?