Shraddha Kapoor has so far in her Bollywood career played the heroine in films led by male protagonists. But her newest movie, 'Haseena', gives her the opportunity to shine in a movie focusing on a female protagonist, and that too in a criminal bio-pic of sorts.
'Haseena' is Shraddha Kapoor's opportunity at a serious film career.
'Haseena Parkar' is all about the titular character, played by Shraddha Kapoor, and her rise to power from an innocent young girl, to that of a crime lord. The story of the movie is based on the very real life criminal Dawood Ibrahim, who has already been the subject of many Bollywood films such as 'Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai', 'Company', and many more.
This film, however, is about Ibrahim's sister Parkar who, after her brother had to flee the country, ran the criminal enterprise on his behalf in India. Parkar was considered a menace to society and faced many criminal charges against her. The real life story sees Shraddha Kapoor as Parkar, being forced to become a hardened criminal through circumstance and being associated with the same guilt as her absentee brother in the eyes of society and the law. Being a film adaptation, the story will obviously make the character be more sympathizing than just a cold-blooded criminal, and the trailer shows ample amounts of that.
Ibrahim was said to have been connected to Bollywood itself, involved in many corrupt dealings, and even murders within the industry. So it should be interesting to see just how far a Bollywood movie depicts events in his and his family's life. Especially given that Ibrahim is still at large.
Joining Kapoor playing her on-screen brother, is her real life brother Siddhanth Kapoor. 'Haseena' is being directed by Apoorva Lakhia, the stylized director behind movies like 'Ek Ajnabee' and 'Shootout At Lokhandwala'. Lakhia is a director that is more miss than hit. And his hyper action style doesn't seem to fit the story of this film. Scenes in the trailer where the action looks so extremely polished and unnecessarily exaggerated, feel completely out of place in a movie supposedly a gritty throwback to the life and times of a criminal.
The trailer looks interesting and all, but I am having a very hard time believing Shraddha Kapoor in a role such as this. The way that her look had to be accentuated and modified to de-glamorize an actress associated mostly with her good looks than acting talent, has me completely unconvinced of her capability in this role. Especially given that there are countless other actresses who are more suited for the role in both look and acting talent.
There are many outlets and industry insiders praising Kapoor's dedication and commitment to following through with the unique look of Parkar. Praiseworthy fluff pieces have been dedicated to her weight loss, and use of facial prosthetics to sound more like an aging woman. All of which is great. But why is a fair skinned actress been made to look darker through make up, when there are countless dusky Bollywood actresses, who are far more accomplished??
Kapoor looks uncomfortable and unconvincing as an everyday woman with a dark complexion. But the fact that a commercially successful fair skinned actress was cast in this role without any merit or any accomplishment to back it up, is going to extreme lengths to ignore actresses that naturally look the part, and are more deserving.
Bollywood has issues with representation. I'm reminded recently of 'Mary Kom' where popular actress Priyanka Chopra was cast as a North Indian woman, through the use of heavy facial prosthetics. Again, unnecessary.
But for 'Haseena', the issue is so much simpler. Skin color. On the one hand, Bollywood stars endorse fairness cream, then spout inclusive and generic statements when confronted. And now, a fair skinned actress who has yet to prove herself of even being capable of sustaining a film on her own, is given an opportunity in yet another commercial film. While veteran actresses, the industry for decades, are not even considered? Off the top of my head, I can think of 5 to 6 actresses that have proven themselves in Bollywood to be able to lead a film such as this as its main protagonist.
It's an issue that shouldn't be an issue. Skin color, should of all things, be the last thing that we should be modifying with special effects, instead of finding someone who looks the part. You can tell me that there aren't enough actors of a certain ethnicity to fit a role ('Mary Kom'). I may understand that. You can tell me that an unknown minority actor will not sell a big budget commercial project, and I can see where you're coming from. ('Exodus: Gods & Kings') But there is no way you can tell me that there aren't enough dusky Bollywood actresses to fill a role that has been given to a second generation actress who has barely been in the industry for a minute.
'Haseena', to me, suffers from being horribly miscast. Kapoor's histrionics, even the brief amount we get in the trailer, are cringe-worthy and look forced. While she may definitely grow into a worthy actress, given enough time in the industry, this film deserved an actress who has already proven her mettle in the industry. Especially when you consider that bio-pics usually have character actors filling the roles, due to the hard hitting dramatic performances required.
It reveals a lot about the Bollywood mentality that a darker skin toned actress will not be given an opportunity to play a character with similar skin, but an inexperienced fair skinned actress will, and then have her skin darkened appropriately for the character. Awesome!