8 Feb 2008
Breaking through a cinema near you
New York Times has this article on breakthrough performances in Hollywood - roles in films that made you sit up and notice the actor and his or her career took a different trajectory after that. The most common case is of Amitabh in Zanzeer. After that film there was sea change in how the film makers and the audience saw him.
What are the breakthrough performances with our present stars? For Shah Rukh it would have to be DDLJ after which he became the lover boy of the 90's. Before that he had done interesting roles like in Baazigar but DDLJ endeared him to a larger audience. For Aamir maybe it was Sarfarosh from where he started experimenting with new ideas and directors.
Tabu had been successful commercially, but it was Maachis that made people notice her. The films she did after - Chandni Bar, Maqbool, Namesake, and Cheeni Kum put her leagues ahead of her contemporaries.
Both Abhishek and Saif Ali Khan had been around for some time till they got the role that turned the tide. For Saif it was Ek Hasina Thi - that little known film where he blew away the audience as the scheming but charming lover who has no guilt in putting his girlfriend behind bars just to save his neck. Try and catch this film if you haven't seen it yet. For Abhishek it was the con man in Bluffmaster. While both films did not do well at the box office, the performances set the pace for the coming years.
With Aishwarya it has to be Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Earlier she normally had "dumb blonde" roles in films like Jeans. But Sanjay Leela Bansali proved to us that she could act. Omkara did the same for Kareena. She was already commanding a huge price as a star, but no one thought she could do meaty roles. One look at the films she is doing post Omkara shows that she has catapulted into the A list.
Do you agree? What are the other breakthrough performances that you can think of?