Anil Thakraney: Khans are misusing their charisma

14 Aug,2013

By Anil Thakraney


I haven’t watched Chennai Express although everyone I know seems to have. Now, after reading the sad reviews, I am not sure I want to blow up three hundred bucks (plus popcorn). However, trade reports indicate that the film grossed a hundred crore plus rupees on the opening weekend, which means the junta is hitting the halls in hordes. Clearly, it has to do with Shah Rukh’s appeal, which shows no signs of waning.


It is the same story with all those crappy Salman Khan flicks. These two Khans (and Akshay Kumar, to an extent) get the crowds in on the strength of star power and aggro marketing, and the producers make a lot of money even if the script sucks. While good movies with not-so-famous actors fare miserably at the box-office. And even if word gets out that the Khan film is a disaster, it’s too late in this age of multiplexes, satellite rights and brand tie-ups, the money has already been pocketed. I blame the masses for this blind idol worship; they seem to be okay with the two Khans acting themselves in every single film, no matter what the character demands. It’s quite a unique situation, this does not happen anywhere else in the world. Clooney, Pitt and Depp don’t carry their persona into the films, they get into the skin of the character.


All this basically means a whole lot of moolah gets pumped into rubbish. And many Bollywood financers would give two hoots, they are here only to do dhandha. The onus then is on the two Khans. They need to evolve, hone their acting skills, and only agree to perform if the script is super-exciting. And they don’t need to tax their brains too much, the role model lives in their own backyard: Aamir Khan. AK has found the correct balance between star appeal and story. Despite the fact that a film from him gets a huge initial draw, he rejects most of the scripts. While the other two Khans continue with their hit-and-run strategy (er, in Salman’s case, that takes an entirely new meaning!).


Bottomline: If Bollywood wants the world to take it a bit more seriously, its biggest stars need to get their act together. SRK and Salman must understand that movie-making is an art, a creative process, it’s not the same as selling cars and underwear. Which the two anyway do in the ads.


PS: A collection of outstanding print work. A reminder for lazy Indian creative directors that you can have fun with press ads, that life does not begin and end with the TV commercial.




Anil Thakraney is a senior journalist and commentator. He is also Editor-at-Large, MxMIndia. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached via Twitter at @anilthakraney


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One response to “Anil Thakraney: Khans are misusing their charisma”

  1. Guest says:

    The two Khans could well ask, If it isn’t broken, why fix it, even as they deposit the pickings in the bank.