New Delhi: Histrionics clearly has no parameters in Bollywood these days. No fixed definitions can demarcate a good actor from a bad except personal opinions. When the time comes to rate the performance of one actor against the other, all one is reduced to doing is – making personal opinions counter other personal opinions.
Nargis Frakhri, a 30 something, gorgeous Kingfisher Calendar Girl lands the role of Heer Kaul in Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Rockstar’. Starring opposite Ranbir Kapoor – who perhaps played out the best role of his career – Nargis is a damp squib. Her acting talents needs serious training. For a director like Imtiaz Ali, who transformed Brazillian model Giselle Monteiro in to a believable, shy, lovely Punjabi girl - one wonders why he went wrong with Nargis.
Playing the role that can be best described as a lively, mischievous Kashmiri beauty – Nargis looks the part to the hilt. She is perfectly beautiful. But at this point one must add – Ranbir’s acting force leaves her gasping – metaphorically and literally.
Starring opposite Ranbir - who perhaps played out the best role of his career - Nargis Fakhri is a damp squib.
Ranbir makes Janardhan (JJ) believable, he makes Jordan believable. From an awkward wannabe singer in the DU college canteens to the suffering romantic rockstar – Ranbir has proved his mettle. After stunning performances in ‘Rajneeti’ and ‘Wake Up Sid’ – Ranbir is clearly moving from strength to strength. And in this movie – Nargis is dead weight.
Nargis as Heer does not even manage to make her mischievous statements seem fun. She says ‘Jungli Jawani’ without the crazed naughtiness making it to her eyes. She doesn’t look one bit melancholic when she decks up for her wedding – almost asking JJ to run away with her. The scene is reminiscent of ‘Jab We Met’ – but in that scene – it seemed that Geet (Kareena) would make a dash for the door dragging Shahid Kapoor (Aditya) along – whether he wanted it or not. Heer instead, glides away to get married. When she cries at the concert hall – after asking Jordan to go away forever – her tears don’t even come. One sees her sob and then she wipes her dry eyes.
The serious lack of expressions, the fact that the smile never reaches her eyes and how she fails to get emotions across – makes this debut get serious ‘thumbdowns’. If it was not for Ranbir, the AR Rahman score and the poetry of pain – ‘Rockstar’ would not have worked. A pained expression that works for her little heart ache and her bone marrow aplesia – both – seems to be the only thing that breaks across her pretty face and the pink pout.
Now, in the absence of rules how does one possibly define good acting?
This school of thought would like to believe that as good actor should make the character he/she plays believable. Starkly and blatantly real – so as every moment of the movie we witness only the character in action – no traits of the man/woman behind the role. The audience should be convinced enough to take for granted – even for a few hours - that in reality – the actor is exactly like the role he/she is playing. If one was to see the actors in ‘real life’ they should be identical to the last role we saw them play.
When the audience watched Kareena Kapoor play the role of Geet in ‘Jab We met’ – they were convinced that the real life Bebo must be like Geet. Priyanka Chopra in ‘Saath Khoon Maaf’ made all her seven avatars seem real – at east for that moment on screen. It would be marginally redundant comparing Nargis to Katrina Kaif. Pretty faces and 'chemistry' cannot carry the weight of a film like ‘Rockstar’ too far. 'Rockstar' is Ranbir's and Ranbir's alone.
'Rockstar' is her debut in Bollywood and Nargis has a long way to go. She will perhaps learn with time – but till then – Sorry Nargis, Heer just did not work for the audience or the critics.
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