SHE IS STUNNING AND CHARISMATIC, FABULOUS and confident and her acting genes are Bollywood Gold- She is Kareena Kapoor-Khan, the industry’s darling, their “Bebo”.
HAILING FROM THE MOST PROLIFIC AND ILLUSTRIOUSKapoor Khandan of Hindi cinema, acting was her destiny and she has more than justified the glorified Kapoor mantle and made her lineage proud.
The above statement, perhaps, sums up the gorgeously talented Kareena and her 15 year film career perfectly. Her confidence and sheer belief in her abilities, at times even eluding to a position of entitlement in the film industry, and her versatility to play different genres of roles and characters are irrefutable.
WITH HER VERY FIRST FILM “Refugee” (2000), she wowed everyone as a natural in front of the camera and her acting prowess resulted in her winning the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut, among a string of other best debut awards.
The very next year saw her in the big league in Karan Johar’s mega blockbuster “K3G” where she portrayed the character of a spoilt, vain and flamboyant “Poo” (short for Pooja) and was applauded and duly noted for her performance, alongside stalwarts like Mr. Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol.
“I have created a monster with Poo”
said Karan Johar in a TV show, and it was meant in the nicest possible way. Kareena became synonymous with the stylish, albeit arrogant, diva image, both in real and reel life, which led to her doing quite a few repetitive and similar roles in films. This type-casting, however, did not prove to be commercially successful for her and generated negative reviews.
But, her inherent talent and conviction in herself was not to be thwarted by a few wrong decisions and she was back in the critics’ good books with a performance-backed role in “ Chameli” (2004), where she boldly went against the tide and played a CSW with conviction and evoked empathy from the audience. She was only 21 at the time and to take on such a role, required both guts and self-confidence. This was followed by equally power-packed portrayals in female-backed and de-glammed roles in “Dev” (2004) and Omkara (2006) – the latter also fetching her the Filmfare Critics Best Actress Award. Her eagerness to shed-off the make-up when required and ‘look’ the part on screen, while enacting it brilliantly is testament to her talent and captivating on-screen presence.
WORTH A SPECIAL MENTION IS ALSO Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Heroine” the former being known to make female-centric films with meaty roles, where Kareena once again didn’t fail to disappoint with her histrionics and emotive skills.
However, the turning point, and arguably the best role of, her career has been in Imtiaz Ali’s colossal hit film “Jab We Met” (2007) where as the lively, vivacious and wholesome beauty, ‘Geet’, she won over both the critics as well as the masses. Kareena completely surrendered herself to the character and was an absolute delight to watch- a role she truly made her own and that won her the prestigious Filmfare Best Actress award.
PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS ASIDE, HER PERSONAL LIFE has also seen its fair share of excitement and controversies. Whether it’s making implicating or “in-your-face remarks” about fellow actresses (the legendary verbal spat with Bipasha Basu, the alleged remark on Sonakshi Sinha’s weight, to name a few) or talking about her love-life, Kareena has never been one to mince words.
HER BOLD PERSONALITY AND “IF YOU GOT, FLAUNT IT” attitude is refreshing and yes, even vindicated by her identity and who she is!
She was at the top of her game but that did not deter her from tying the knot with her beau and superstar, Saif Ali Khan and become the second half of a power couple, fondly branded as “Saifeena” by the media. She has always followed her instinct, whether in matters of business or the heart and she befittingly passed on from Bollywood royalty to actual royalty by becoming the bahu of the Pataudi family.
She rubbished remarks that marriage marks the decline of an actress in Bollywood by appearing in mainstream commercial films like Rohit Shetty’s “Singham Returns” (2014), opposite Ajay Devgan and Kabir Khan’s Salman Khan-starrer, mega blockbuster and highest grosser of 2015, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”.
Her upcoming film, Ki & Ka, shows her in an unusual pairing with Arjun Kapoor with an equally unusual theme, whereby the film breaks gender stereotypes and challenges, in a light-hearted way.
KAREENA PLAYS THE CHARACTER of Kia, an ambitious and a career-oriented woman. On the other hand, Arjun Kapoor plays the character of Kabir, an IIT graduate and a house husband. The sneak peeks and promos of the film package it to be a complete entertainer as a rom-com drama, involving problems and issues of a modern-day married couple, with performance-oriented lead roles. The music is already creating waves with the catchy dance number by Honey Singh “High heel tay nachey” being a chart buster. The film will also see veterans Big B and Jaya Bachchan in special appearances.
WHETHER WE LABEL HER AS CINEMA ROYALTY owing to her lineage or actual royalty through marriage, the regal and compelling presence of Kareena is indisputable. She was born to shine and be noticed and that she does in signature Kareena style. Her luminous, flawless beauty, her spontaneity and pure natural talent place her right at the top echelons of the Hindi film industry. Her aura exudes confidence and charm; she is style and perfection and is in the truest sense both a star and an actor.
This piece has been written by Mahvish Gul, a self-confessed aficionado of all things film.
She is a resident of Dubai and a Professor of Economics at the American University of Dubai [AUD]