Recent press conference we were invited to ask…
FANS OF Bollywood superstar Ranbir Kapoor will be intrigued by his role in ‘Shameshera’.
While the leading man or hero role is nothing new to Kapoor – who has established himself over many years since his debut in ‘Saawariya’ in 2007 – he readily conceded in this press conference – but not shown in our clip here – that he hasn’t really ever done a film like ‘Shamshera’ before. What he does he say is that films – and directors like Karan Malhotra – can stretch him and test his craft. He also says these films are made purely with an audience in mind – there is no directorial indulgence.
This is a big action thriller set in the 1800s – and right now most of traditional Bollywood is in state of high anxiety.
Many big budget films have flopped – ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ being a prime example.
Starring what many regard as the no1 star in Bollywood at the moment, Akshay Kumar – it failed to take off at the box office and has left producers with headaches and massive bills.
Our correspondent in Mumbai in last column even suggested that actors’ pay was going to have come down as a possible consequence of these string of failures. (Read that column here).
Kapoor is hugely popular but his choice of films have been more idiosyncratic than most in his position.
Born into a Bollywood dynasty – as the son of veteran star Rishi Kapoor (who passed away in 2020 and himself the son of the legendary and – who many see as the father of Bollywood itself – Raj Kapoor) and mum, Neetu, another Bollywood actor, he perhaps could afford to be more picky.
He has to date not done many big budget action films unlike many of his contemporaries. There was ‘Jagga Jasoos’ (017) – a Disney spectacular – it didn’t do well at the box office, even though it paired Ranbir with the very popular Katrina Kaif and got a better reaction critically in some quarters.
So, a lot is riding on this – and Malhotra himself is an upcoming director with one massive hit behind him, ‘Agneepaath’ (2012) a remake of a 1990 film and widely regarded as better than the original. More of a contemporary film, it also featured Sanjay Dutt, a legend in his own right and incidentally, the last character Ranbir Kapoor reprised in the biopic, ‘Sanju’ (2018). Some of the media questions centred around Kapoor working with Dutt in this film.
R. Kapoor is understood to play the younger character in ‘Shamshera’ – we haven’t seen the film.
Malhotra presents a certain indifference to our question – perhaps that is the only way he can answer that and moderator Salil Acharya asks a slightly different question to R. Kapoor.
Intelligent and considered, Kapoor frames the question in the context of his film career – this is something different and ‘I must try it to see and as continue to develop and grow as an actor’.
All good but in the end, if this doesn’t take off as you might expect, Bollywood will almost certainly be heading towards a massive re-think.
In recent months, most of the big hit films in India have emanated from the South and right now, there is a buzz and excitement surrounding Tamil, Telugu and Kannada cinema in India. There is trepidation in traditional Bollywood…
Presenter/producer: Sailesh Ram
Editing: Natalie Barrass