September 29, 2007

Lights, what about some Action!

Of late a lot of Indian actors are landing up with meaty roles in international films. This is a good thing as most of them have decided to partake on non-sense of an international level rather than being happy at home. I wonder what is the real good thing about it anyway? Celina Jaitley has just signed her second international project. Of course she couldn’t be a part of The Pink Panther sequel as that role is now a part of Aishwarya Rai’s resume. Celina went to town saying that ‘some people’ get their agents to comment that no one was offered the role but their client. Why is she so pissed about? The producer of The Quest of Sheherzade, her second international production, claims that he is aware of her work and possesses the sensitivities that are necessary for the project. Well if films like Jaansheen, Tom, Dick, and Harry, Shaka Laka Boom Boom can get her work then god save us. Celina now wants to do a German film, as she is very fluent in the language. Is that right Ms. Jaitley? Well fear not for your first English film, ‘Love Has No Language’, a joint New Zealand-Australian venture, seems to take care of that problem.

The other custodian of Indian culture is perhaps too busy representing India at a global level and when she isn’t caught up with that she is busy accepting honorary doctorates. Shilpa Shetty hasn’t signed a single ‘foreign’ film but thanks to her newly found status as Bollywood is doing a stupid musical called something like Bollywood Nights or Days or Afternoons. She was talking about it as if it were the most important event to unfold; she assured the Indian news channel interviewing her that though the West knew about the kind of films we made (is the cat finally out of the bag!?) she would ensure that they get a first hand experience of the song-dance routine of ‘Bollywood’. Way to go Ms. Shetty! Keep up the good work and someone might just recommend your name for the Rajya Sabha.

Queen bee Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has done a few ‘International’ projects in the past though the validity of a film like Provoked in terms of being an international film is doubtful. She is, as Julia Roberts feels, the most beautiful woman in the world and yet manages only second-rate Hollywood films like The Last Legion. The Michael Douglas film about diamond traders is still to take off; the rumors of how she was supposed to play the female lead in Hitch are still doing the rounds and there is no news about the film with Meryl Streep. One thing is for sure (as sure as it get in films) she is finally going to play Mumtaz Mahal. Ever since she started acting Aishwarya was poised to portray the Mughal queen on numerous occasions- an abandoned Bharat Bala version, one version called Journey Through India and a Shekhar Kapur version; there is always a Shekhar Kapur version of every exotic Indian subject! This time around Sir Ben Kingsley will play Shah Jahan to her Mumtaz.

Aishwarya Rai, Celina Jaitley, Lara Dutta, Shilpa Shetty and Bipasha Basu have all been taking about how their looks can pass them off as Latinas or Spaniards. Well looks are one thing and the intention is another. All these actors just refuse to behave normally. Aishwarya won’t kiss on screen and she calls herself the next Penelope Cruz. Celina Jaitley might harbor intentions of being the new Salma Hayek but she won’t find that easy if she claims like a good Indian woman she won’t show skin on screen. Lara Dutta and Bipasha will do anything for Yashraj films but will think twice when it’s some international project.

I’m not saying go all out or female actors are only meant to show skin but let’s be practical here for once. Why is that every time they play a walk on part or get interviewed on Oprah Winfrey they think they are on national duty? Why is that every time Shilpa Shetty opens her mouth to speak it’s as if national policy was being discussed? There is nothing great in this trend of the West taking interest in us. If people like Shilpa Shetty think this is thanks to them then let me tell them that this has been the case ever since the West got a whiff of our spices! It’s pure economics and nothing else and one more example of the world really being flat!

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