There is no denying that Dhanush did make a fool of himself by taking up Raanjhanaa.
During the recent Cannes Film Festival, when I ran into actress Vishaka Singh (Ankur Arora Murder Case, Fukrey) at the India Pavillion, she was all excited about having worked in the Tamil movie, Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya. This was her second work in that language, and she has acted in Kannada and Malayalam films as well. “Oh, I just memorise the lines (written in English or Hindi) and get someone to coach me how to pronounce the words”, she breezily replied to my question on language and comfort level.
I was tempted to tell her that she seemed so ill at ease in Kanna Laddu… and the reason could have been her inability to understand or express in the language of the movie. In a medium such as cinema where facial expressions are the most vital aspects of narration, it was important for an actor to understand the language in order to appear convincing.
Yet, actors and actress continue to act in films whose language may sound Latin and Greek to them.
Take Tamil actor Dhanush, for example. The son-in-law of Tamil superstar Rajnikanth, Dhanush was positively uncomfortable speaking Hindi in Raanjhanaa, touted as his first Bollywood outing. And he sounded so contrived.
Need Dhanush have done a Hindi movie at all?
Promod Kumar writes in Firstpost: Dhanush is “one of the most bankable stars in Tamil cinema…He is not yet 30, but has piled up an impressive body of work…And he is paid handsomely too.
“But then, why did Dhanush allow himself to be ghettoised like this? And behave like a fool in front of an average actor such as Sonam Kapoor or even Abhay Deol (both star in Raanjhanaa)?”
(Dhanush plays a dark skinned Tamil youth who wants to woo and win a fair and lovely north Indian girl, portrayed by Kapoor.)
Maybe, Dhanush is still smarting under the insulting assessment which a Mumbai film critic made some time ago. She called him a “pigeon chested paavam who looks like a paanwala on probation.”
Did Dhanush cross the fence only to tell this critic and maybe others that despite his unimpressive looks, he could act in a top Bollywood work with no less a celebrity than Sonam Kapoor as his leading lady?
However, there is no denying that Dhanush did make a fool of himself by taking up Raanjhanaa.
Language and Raanjhanaa apart, Dhanush is a very mediocre actor, who has continued to be the underdog in just about every movie I had seen of his. This includes Raanjhanaa.
As Kumar concludes in his piece: “Time to move on Dhanush. You look silly and pathetic doing this”.
I could not agree more.
Gautaman Bhaskaran is India Editor of FMT, and Chennai-based author, columnist and movie critic. He may be emailed at[email protected]