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Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Could This Be The Last Bright Season For Taimur’s Gorgeous Mother, Kareena Kapoor Khan?


Ali Peter John

Those days it was not as difficult as these days to enter ‘Prateeksha’, which was the only bungalow Amitabh had. It was easy even for an ordinary journalist like me who had seen Amitabh Bachchan signing his first film ‘saat Hindustani’, when facing a grim struggle and finally breaking the shackles (zanjeer) to beat the superstar and take his place as the ‘angry young man’ who rose to become the star of the millennium which he is to this day.

I had some very good contacts at the gate itself where the security chief, Wilfred Waz, who was an ex IAF man and my very close neighbour and the secretaries Amitabh had at that time, Sheetal Jain, Khare (who later joined Bal Thakrey as the  security chief at ‘Matoshree’) and Gangadharan. I also knew the drivers of both Amitabh and Jaya and down to every member of his pantry. It was a pleasant experience to walk into ‘Prateeksha’ at any time of the day, even if Amitabh was not there and spend time with the staff who treated me with all the respect for which I shall always be grateful to them. Soon I had the privilege of knowing Amitabh’s parents and they too make me feel at home, assuring me that Munna would come home at any time.

That one particular morning, I decided to visit ‘Prateeksha’ at 11:00 in the morning and was surprised to see a lot of hustle-bustle all around and Waz told me that there were guests for Mr Bachchan, the former actress Babita and her two daughters, Karishma and Kareena. Karishma had already made a successful debut as an actress and was doing very well, in spite of all the controversies about her being the first Kapoor daughter join films, which was against the tradition set by Prithviraj Kapoor and followed by Raj Kapoor. Babita had even separated from her one-time hero and later her husband, Randhir Kapoor, just to fulfill her ambition of turning her daughters into stars.

Amitabh, Jaya, Babita and her daughters were coming out of ‘Prateeksha’, when Karishma set her eyes on me and looked at Amitabh and said,“this is the man, this is the man and for a moment I thought I was like Jesus Christ on his way to Calvary to be crucified and Amitabh in his same belly tone voice addressed me and said,“Ali tum kitne sare logon ka bhala karte ho, to is ladki Ko Tum najarandaaz kyon karte ho?” And he gave me a very strange look and almost tried to wink. It took me just 2 seconds to know that Babita and Karishma had launched a formal complaint against me with the high command (Amitabh). I had my own reasons for doing what I did, but I didn’t feel the need of explaining myself, I was assured by the look on Amitabh’s face that my case was closed as far as he is concerned. In that same meeting I had also seen a little girl with pink cheeks who I guessed was Kareena or Bebo as she was called. Karishma made the same bitter complaints about me to all the other directors, but all her cries went in vain. She finally got her chance to think that she could get the better of me when she complained to my editor and as if in a tone of anger and what she must have thought was authority, she told my editor that she would not attend the ‘Screen Awards’ function only because of me. She believed that she had played her most clever card against me, but she lost again. I could however not use what ever was going on between us to overlook her talent whenever she proved it and when she did that absolutely brilliant scene as the loser in love who gives vent to her feelings by flinging a stone at the moon. It was that one little scene for which I could forgive Karishma of anything.

Things however did not go the right way for Karishma. Her films didn’t do well. There was the sudden announcement in public by Amitabh Bachchan announcing the engagement between his son Abhishek and Karishma. The excitement continued for sometime and the rows kept coming down for Karishma. The worst happened when the engagement was called off and Karishma was left in no woman’s land. She married a businessman from Delhi and had a son, but it was almost quits for Karishma. The actress came back to Bombay and tried to stage a comeback, which never really happened….

In the meanwhile, Kareena had grown up and within no time, she was a star on the rise and Karishma was happy being her advisor and chaperone. I had grown wary to the Kapoor sisters (they were among the first in Kapoor Khandan to give me this feeling, when I had the most cordial and more than friendly relations with all the Kapoor men and even some of their women). I knew it was coming. My magazine was against planning its annual Screen Awards and my management guys headed by Mr Hofi Vasuni, a leading theatre personality and Mr Vineet Chibber told me they wanted Kareena to perform at the show. I tried my best to wriggle out, but one morning I found myself with my friends standing outside the gate of the house where Kareena lived with Karishma. She had been told about the purpose of our visit, but she and her sister just stood at the entrance of their apartment and they didn’t even have the courtesy to call us in. Kareena just blurted out,“give me a crore and I will dance nude on your stage.”The sisters walked in, we walked out and were dumbstrucked without exchanging a word and letting our eyes do all the talking and I must say our eyes had a tough time that day. Was history repeating itself for me?

But, like I said about Karishma and talent, I must say that whatever may have happened on the personal front, I cannot deny that Kareena is one of the finest actresses we have today. I first discovered the talent in her in a small film called “Chameli” in which she played a cheap prostitute and what a way she she got into the skin of the character and not only made the film I hate, but it also received endless encomiums and all the leading awards, including several prestigious awards for the best actress.

The second time she proved that she was not a glamour girl but a woman of substance was when she played the many faces the struggling actress in Hindi films has to go through before making it or even not making it, in Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Heroine”. There was a little drama about the casting. Kareena was Madhur’s first choice for the role, but she backed out because, if I am not wrong she was pregnant and the role was so tempting that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan willingly stepped into the shoes of Kareena. But the drama had still to take another twist. Aishwarya is said to have had some serious reservation about some scenes in the film and finally turned down Madhur’s offer and Kareena was back as the ‘heroine’ and the way she played the role, it seemed like only Kareena was destined to do the role and rightfully, she did full justice to the role and added one more plume to her much-decorated act and awards and more challenging roles for the woman who the industry still loved calling Bebo.

Kareena has many achievements to get credit, but the one thing which stands out is her ability to stand up against victory with powerful Khans. She has worked with Salman Khan in films like “Kyonki”,“Dabangg 2″,“Bodyguard” and her most significant film with Salman, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”. They make a winning team and it has to be seen how long and how strong their team can grow as winners as both of them are not growing any younger with the passing of time.

Kareena has proved to be an ideal teammate with Shahrukh Khan in films like “Don” and “Ra 1″.

And if there is one Khan who has always made a big difference to the actresses he works with, it is Aamir Khan. He together with his directors have brought out the best in Kareena in “3 idiots”. And now when he is in the midst of making his most crucial film, “Lal Singh Chadha”. He has again opted for Kareena. There were many leading actresses of today who were considered by Mr Khan, the perfectionist, but the perfectionist was so serious about having the right choice that he not only opted for Kareena, but also made her who was among the top three or four leading actresses. He did something which only he could do when he asked Kareena to go through a screen test and that Kareena agreed to follow his decisions speaks volumes for Aamir’s dedication and sincerity and Kareena’s willingness to learn even at this stage when she is in a position to actually dictate terms.

Aamir’s  film is going to be like a litmus test for Kareena. She is + 40 now. She is the mother of the much-talked about Taimur Ali Khan and the wife of chhote nawab, Saif Ali Khan. In the not so good old days that Kareena’s age would be pushed into playing character roles, mother’s role or at best the title role in one of the many biopics being planned these days add will be planned in the next several months to come. Kareena must realise that she is indeed very lucky and make the best opportunity, because the best in her is still a long way to come.

As I come to the end of this testing piece of my long career, I wonder why no writers or directors are thinking (do they really think these days?) of creating great Mughal female characters for Begum Kareena Kapoor Khan to play. I am sure, the actress who has played the prostitute and heroine can certainly play queens, warriors and poetesses and dancers of another Era and another time. That will be the sign of a truly great actor who even her grandfather, father and the entire Kapoor clan and some day even chhote nawab Taimur Ali Khan will be proud of.

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Taimur Ali Khan

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