Okay, she is beautiful. She dances amazingly well. We’ll give her that. Oh, and she recently won the Smita Patil Memorial Award, which is conferred to actresses who have given great acting performances intheir career (at least that’s what we are told). Some would argue that she is a commercially successful star, and you can’t argue with success. But the recent failure of another one of her movies- Baar Baar Dekho, begs the question- how exactly is Katrina a superstar?
Phantom (2015) was appreciated by the critics, and managed to do some business, owing to its word of mouth publicity. But given the costs involved in the making of the film, it will still be considered a flop. Fitoor (2016) came with high expectations, but was panned by the audiences and critics alike. Her performance was especially singled out for criticism, especially since her co-star Aditya Roy Kapoor is still considered a newbie , and Fitoor was almost riding on her. Then came Baar Baar Dekho. This time too, she paired up with a relative newcomer, Siddharth Malhotra. This time too, her film sank without a trace.
Katrina Kaif plays a half British, half Indian girl, born in the UK, in Baar Baar Dekho- a smart move on director Nitya Mehra’s part to justify her accent. Otherwise, there was no implication of this particular character trait on the movie. But that is not the long term solution. She can’t be playing half British characters in all her films. Usually it is the actors who adjust themselves to suit the needs of the character they’re playing. Here, the situation is the complete opposite. The character is being adjusted to suit Katrina. Its almost as if the director knows that Katrina is not going to put in any effort to change her accent or try and suit the character.
Some would say it’s her choice of films, that is her undoing. While I partially agree (exception- Phantom was a decent film and should’ve done better), I would still like to point out that Katrina’s acting abilities are well below par. Phantom, for instance, would have been instantly elevated, had there been a better performer for Katrina’s part. The scene in which she pretends to be giving birth is particularly awful.
Even after working in more than 30 films, she is still a one note actress. Even her accent hasn’t improved. And we, the Indian cinegoers, let it slide for more than a decade. But there seems to be an awakening of sorts, at least when it comes to Katrina. Her performances sometimes are laughably bad, and now the audience knows it.
When she was working with the Khans and the Akshay Kumars, the films didn’t depend on her performances. She was supposed to look good, smile a lot, dance her heart out. Good acting wasn’t on the agenda. But believe it or not, the quality of cinema in the past decade has really improved, and that has meant an improvement in the acting standards also. This is the reason why a Kangana is commanding more respect (and according to recent reports, more money too) than Katrina. Maybe Katrina would’ve been better suited to stick to her tried and tested formula. While we laud her for trying out something new, it also exposed her weaknesses.
For all her beauty and grace, Katrina needs to act better to survive in an industry whose collective acting standards are improving. Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, and Parineeti Chopra are all better actresses than her, and have consistently given stand out performances. Katrina needs to find hers, and soon. Another critically panned performance, and she might find herself out of favor with the producers. After all, this is an unforgiving industry.
She’s beautiful and dances amazingly well. But sadly, that is not enough anymore.