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'Raanjhanaa', 'Ghanchakkar': Are character actors the new heroes?

Shomini Sen | http://shominisen

Updated: July 2, 2013, 10:27 AM IST
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'Raanjhanaa', 'Ghanchakkar': Are character actors the new heroes?
Hindi cinema seems to have entered an interesting phase where character actors are gaining more prominence.

New Delhi: While watching the oh-so-slow 'Ghanchakkar', the only portions that seemed funny were the bits when actors Rajesh Sharma and Namit Das came on screen. The two actors played pivotal roles in Rajkumar Gupta's recent film which had actor Emraan Hashmi playing the lead role and Vidya Balan as its female lead.

In Anand L Rai's 'Raanjhanaa' when girls were not swooning over Dhanush's charming smile and Abhay Deol's enigmatic personality, they were laughing at Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub's one liners. Ayyub stole hearts as Murari, Dhanush's best friend in the film. For that matter, even Swara Bhaskar, who played Kundan's childhood friend got noticed for her spontaneity.

In its 100th year, Hindi cinema seems to have entered an interesting phase where character actors are gaining more and more importance and in some cases overpowering the lead actors with their sheer talent.

Zeeshan, a theatre actor, had grabbed eyeballs when he played the controversial Manu Sharma in Rajkumar Gupta's 'No One Killed Jessica' in 2010. The film was heroine centric, did not boast of a prominent lead actor but Zeeshan in his small role managed to create an impression. And he seems to be genuinely gifted as he plays a Faridabad rich spoilt brat in NOKJ with same ease as a benarasiya in 'Raanjhanaa'. Both characters strikingly different from each other but both played by a gifted actor.

Similarly, Rajesh Sharma managed to put a smile on your face with his 'Pandit' act in 'Ghanchakkar'. A known face in the theatre circuit, Sharma came into prominence when he played the helpful, gritty cop in NOKJ. He upped his ante by playing a hilarious pervert in 'Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurrana'.

Namit Das, a known face in the Mumbai theatre circuit and the ad world, played Ranbir Kapoor's 'confused in love' friend in 'Wake Up Sid'. Post that, Namit did feature in a few films but he made Idris his own in 'Ghanchakkar'. The climax scene in the film where confusion is at its peak, Das emotes mainly through his expression which is a pure delight to watch.

Swara, on the other hand is not new to adulation and praise. The Delhi girl has slowly been gaining prominence ever since her debut in 'Tanu Weds Manu' where she played Kangana's best friend. With an interesting blend of art house and commercial films neatly tucked under her belt, Swara is one star to watch out for.

The trend of casting talented character actors in key roles has been there for some time now with filmmakers wanting to take risks by casting unknown faces and not just stars in their films. And Nawazuddin Siddiqui can safely be called a flag bearer of this group. The man featured in four very popular films in 2012, and except for one (Anurag Kashyap's 'Gangs of Wasseypur'), he played characters in the other films. But in all the films, no matter how small his role was, he managed to shine and impress critics as well as the masses and even got a National Award!

Director Rajkumar Gupta, whose next film is in the scripting stage says, "I have always used character actors in prominent roles in my films. They are a talented bunch and if my script demands it, I won't hesitate in casting them in leading roles."

So then perhaps it's good news for millions of people who come to Bombay to try their luck in films. Because you need not look like a typical hero or heroine to get an ideal break in films. If you have talent, you can overpower the lead actors with your performance- just like these people have.

First Published: July 2, 2013, 10:27 AM IST
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