Friday, February 20, 2009

Family man in Bollywood

Remember the likes of the golden boy of the Sixties, Rajesh Khanna. He stormed into the hearts of women with his soul stirring films like Anand.
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan More Pics


His films that went on to become silver and golden jubilees, had women queuing up at his residence and flooding the actor with marriage proposals. The actor supposedly got letters written in blood threatening suicide if he didn't agree to marriage to that particular woman. Even as Khanna's personal life made for juicy fodder to a celeb hungry nation, its populace swooned when he declared marriage to a sixteen-year-old Dimple Kapadia.

A decade earlier, it was the light-eyed Raj Kapoor, ruling the hearts of billions. His films were treated as extensions of his personal obsession of the female form. And Kapoor never believed in holding himself back. His much married status not withstanding, the hot blooded Kapoor had torrid affairs with all his leading ladies and those he decided to launch.

Cut to present Bollywood. The current crop of actors, much married and relishing every moment of their stardom refuse to step around in the industry, sans their better halves. Gone is the time when our very own Ghajinji aka Aamir Khan kept his marriage a secret to avoid ruining his chances of making it as the next Bollywood sensation. Today the Khan lights up everytime Kiran Rao, his wife is brought into a conversation. He also speaks about his children and confesses he misses playing dad to them all the time. Talk of the Khans, and who can forget the much smitten junior Nawab, Saif Ali Khan. Married to yesteryears actress Amrita Singh, who was a decade older to the Khan and then divorced, Saif is taken over by the dewy eyed, Kareena Kapoor. In almost all interviews, Khan blushingly confesses he wants to settle down with her all over again.

So what exactly is happening in B-town used to a hush hush policy when it came to their personal lives? Generations down, actors pledge their loyalty and openly flaunt their 'commited' status. No longer is the grapevine goes on an overdrive alleging relationships about an actor. Says film analyst, Amod Prakash, "The concept of looking at films has changed over a span of time. Earlier, films were looked upon as means to easy money, lavish expenditures and leading a flamboyant lifestyle. People who were associated with the industry relished such a life and yes after some time, the fame, the adulation went to their head. Then it became really tough to lead a simple life anymore."

Look at poster boy Farhan Akhtar. Despite creating waves with his debut film, the guy goes about announcing that he is married and father to two lovely daughters. Shilpa Shetty is gifted the IPL by her business man beau Raj Kundera who is Shetty's latest arm candy. Are better halves now more conspicious today because they all have very strong identities of their own? The demure Sussane Khan Roshan reveals, "I believe in doing my own thing and I am a success at it. Its great to be known for my own abilities and ofcouse, even as I am proud of everything that my husband has achieved, I take pride in whatever I have achieved. It gives me a sense of satisfaction that at the of the day I am enjoying everything that I do."
The trend in the industry is to wear your heart on your sleeve and take pride in doing so. A case in point being newbie Deepika Padukone who followed in the steps of Saif Ali Khan and tattooed her beau Ranbir Kapoor's name on her shoulder. Kangana Ranaut is also making headlines for her much talked about 'committed status' with new comer Adhayaan Suman. Psycholohgist Suchita Paul points out, "In the early days, the more the number of affairs, the greater a star's desirability factor. But now, everyone just wants to work and keep themselves grounded. People have realized the value of life and how important it is to spend quality time with your near and dear ones. One more thing is that women have become independent, they have begun to step out and thus they demand their glory under the Sun. So everyone has realized the importance of respect that both partners need. It helps to cement bonds and makes you want to stick around with your man/woman."

Says actor Sammir Dattani, "Relationships are for keeps for everyone these days. Being public figures, everything we do happens to be in the public glare. There are so many questions that we are asked, but then that is part of our profession. How one handle these queries depends on the individual. Also it's no longer about being single or committed in the industry. What matters is whether you are doing good work and only that can get you recognition."

Director Mohit Suri, who directed Emraan Hashmi in Raaz 2 insists that it's because of the audience's acceptance that film makers can experiment more and more with their scripts and characters. "If you look at the actors today, they are much fitter than what they used to be atleast a decade before and they are all raring to go. Do they look their age? Infact they work so hard to get into the skin of the character, such that the association is built with the audiences. Viewers today don't want to know if the actor is married or not, they root for him anyways."

No wonder then that SRK networks with his children and wife around him. Something that even advertisers have spotted given the infinite number of family products that he endorses. Advertising professional Mohit Desai suggests, "Actors have become extremely image and brand conscious. The kind of products they endorse is directly linked to their public image. The moment that is tarnished, they know that they will be dropped as brand ambassadors. So it forces them to stick to their a squeaky clean images. Even an actor like Akshay Kumar, who was notorious for his affairs more than his films, is slowly cleaning up all the mess he made in his younger days. Today he is the most sought after actor not just in Bollywood, but also in the ad world who want to cash in on this image of his."

Aarti Khanna, a die hard fan of Shah Rukh Khan states, "I just love the man. One never hears any controversy about him, he is always accompanied with his wife and speaks openly about his children. He isn't restricted as an actor, he is also a business man and a complete charmer." Point taken. So it does seem that it is as much the moolah as it is a conscious shift in focus towards a healthier lifestyle for our entertainers in the industry.