Girl power rocks

More the cheerier. For sure, the show world needs more heroines — just a fistful dominate, and are everywhere, be it in A-grade projects, endorsements, television and thus, the collective imagination of the nation. Needless to carp, the window has to be opened wider to allow a gust of fresh air.

Indeed the brightest spot this year, so far, has been the acceptance of Shraddha Kapoor in Aashiqui 2. Fragile and vulnerable, she projected the personality of a songstress who outpaces the man responsible for her rise to fame. It’s a role which fuelled the career of Judy Garland (A Star is Born) and Jaya Bhaduri (in the Hollywood musical-inspired Abhimaan).
Tough shoes to fit into, especially for a 24-year-old, virtually written off after her initial jabs at acting (Teen Patti, Luv ka The End). Auspiciously in her third outing, Shraddha has effectively conveyed the helplessness of a young woman, who must combat male egotism to salvage a relationship which has spiralled way out of control.
If the part had been essayed by one of the established actresses, the element of vulnerability would have been quite conspicuous by its absence. Imagine Kareena Kapoor or Priyanka Chopra as the emotionally ravaged heroine of Aashiqui 2, and you’ll know what I mean. Like its progenitor, the second edition connected with the audience because of the fact that Shraddha — and Aditya Roy Kapoor — came in without any image or star baggage.
Cool. The daughter of Shakti Kapoor and Shivangi Kolhapure has earned her spurs, and should be in the running for assignments usually reserved for Parineeti Chopra and Anushka Sharma. Following the success of Aashiqui 2, Shraddha has received her quota of publicity (not much, but enough).
Surprisingly though, there hasn’t been a peep about her replacement in the Yashraj banner-produced Aurangzeb. Sashaa, daughter of yesteryear’s actress Salma Agha, debuted with this crime thriller, but was curiously almost blanked out of its posters, hoardings and pre-release publicity campaigns. Whatever the reasons may be, it’s not entirely fair to a debutante, is it?
Come to think of it, quite a few of the new girls on the block just don’t have recall value. Like Puja Gupta of Commando or Pooja Chopra of Go Goa Gone. It’s hardly likely that they would be halted in their tracks, for autographs. Just can’t put a face to their name.
Now, how can a new heroine prevent such indifference? One solution: paid-publicity. Not such a great idea that, since PR-engineered interviews always sound the same: Parents’ objections were won over, Bollywood is so wonderful, and gush-gush statements on the lines of, “I would love to work with the Khans… and Rajkumar Hirani.”
Another solution is to soldier on, let a performance speak for itself, like Richa Chadda did. The Delhi girl hung on, doing theatre and ad films, till achieving the status of one of the best actresses in town after Gangs of Wasseypur.
And something tells me that the little-known Megha Burman, currently on the endorsement-theatre route, will make it, too. She just has to wait till some B-town filmmaker realises her potential.
Also seen in a striking cameo in Ballad of Rustam and in lead roles in Bengali and Tamil cinema, and next in Telugu, Megha exudes the kind of gentle feminity which is returning slowly but stealthily to the movies. Megha can’t be aggressive, can’t butter up casting agents, and avoids the casting couch. Like it or not, that couch is still a part of Bollywood’s essential interior décor.
Now that Shraddha is here, and more on the way, let’s raise a toast to that. Cheers!

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