Pack Up time for 35+ lot of divas

June 10th, 2009 - 8:52 pm ICT by Sampurn Wire  

Pack Up time for 35+ lot of divas How many of us remember the memorable songs from “Kuchh Kuchh Hota hai”? Rani Mukherjee prancing around in short skirts and trendy bags..with moves ala Zeenat Aman. She had arrived. Guys wanted her, girls wanted to be like her. Just around the corner was a cute, effervescent girl…with a dimpled prizes for guessing that one. It was Preity Zinta. Whether it was her charm in Kal Ho Na Ho or her portrayal of a neurotic girl in Armaan, she charmed the hearts of millions of Indians…that alas was many moons ago.

Cut to circa 2008 – 09. Enter Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif. These girls have taken the country and the film industry by storm. While Priyanka is everyone’s favourite “Desi Girl” Sonam has become the new “Masakalli” of the Indian junta. Katrina has not only managed to become the “it” girl with the filmwallas but also rules in the brand endorsement market. Every brand wants her pretty face to say how good their products are. Om Shanti Om capitulated Deepika into the superstar status overnight. It’s a dream for any new girl to be launched by with SRK and this girl lived to tell the tale. Good films fell into her kitty more easily than for anyone else. From a Yashraj banner to an Imtiaz Ali film, it’s been a dream-like ride for a girl who till very recently was walking the ramps in fashion week as one of the many models.

Which brings us to think…what happened to the likes of Rani, Preity n company? Perhaps this question is best answered by taking a look at the market dynamics of the Film industry. Any industry is a reflection of the times we live in and the film industry is no different. Today’s mantra is “what’s next”. With more than 50 % of our population being under 30,we are catering to an essentially restless, fast paced creature whose tastes are young and changing at a rapid pace. This explains the reason why turnaround time for our leading ladies is becoming shorter with each passing decade. I wont even go to explaining the reasons why of Madhubala, Nargis and the likes ruled the industry for as long as they did because that’s like a whole generation away. Let’s look at starting from the 80s, actresses like Hema Malini and Dimple Kapadia ruled the roost for many many years. In spite of being married with kids they managed to be at top for over a decade, getting plum roles and more plum pay packets. They were followed by Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla, who for the longest time were the queen bees. They faded away much later than today’s leading ladies. In today’s times, you’re lucky if people want you 5 years hence.

One of the most important reasons from the film industry’s perspective is that a film will almost never get sold on the basis of an actress. Sad but true. A film till today is essentially a “hero” driven vehicle, though there have been exceptions to this rule like a “Black” but that’s what they remain, an exception. Junta still wants to see a Shah Rukh Khan or an Aamir Khan film. I have my doubts if they will ever see a film which will have a Deepika starring with a “nobody”. I highly doubt it. With the scheme of things in the industry, an actress is the most easily replaceable. Actors are the one’s who will always be finalised first and then the actresses and if a scenario happens where one is not available, the other one can fit her shoes just as easily. It’s ironic because on one hand we have a young population who is fairly well versed with Hollywood where actresses are almost equals to their male counterparts. They have roles written for them like a Lara Croft which goes on to become huge blockbusters but the story back home is yet to change. We are yet to see a desi version of Lara Croft or even something like The Reader. The main reason being that films with powerful female leads with “not-so-big” male actors just haven’t found acceptance with the Indian audiences and therefore it’s extremely difficult to sell such a film. We still want to see our heroes, fighting, emoting and dancing with the pretty ones but I don’t if they will accept things the other way round.

With multiple options being the mantra of the day, its no surprise that there are so many actresses in the marquee and they keep changing before you blink an eyelid. Well, all I can say is “make hay while the sun shine” ladies because you never know when the sun goes down on you.

Shivani Prabhakar | Samurn media

Author is a senior marketing personnel with Tips Industries and a trade analyst based in Mumbai.
Pack Up time for 35+ lot of divas

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