If she hadn't pointed it out, I'd have missed this brilliant phenomenon. Have you noticed, if you have cared to read film stories that is, how actors and actresses have this divine habit of saying "I am taking it slow" or "I am waiting for the right script" or "I don't like to rush into films that I might regret later" and so on?
It of course didn't dare to cross my mind that most of the actors who say these exact words are in three words 'not going anywhere'. They have very little scope to make an impact in this glamour-riddled industry. I'd also like to add that they aren't exactly bad actors but shoved aside by doctored destiny or competition. Either they aren't great looking enough (after all, cinema is all about fantasy, no matter how real) or don't have the right contacts (read: they're not on the right couch!). They could be fabulous on screen - intense, passionate with impeccable dialogue delivery and a good sense of timing. But no, they won't make it.
The bad actors with zero screen presence won't make it either. Unless they have a face that can give men something to dream about at night.
But that's the women.
Male actors have it better; well, at least in most cases. Or else can someone explain to me how some of the ugliest actors, who aren't spectacularly versatile on screen either, are called super-stars?
And if they don't make it as lead actors, they become 'character artistes'. But I'd take a character artiste over a commercial hero any day.
Film journalism is bizarre. Very few people actually write about 'cinema' anymore; not the way feature stories used to be written about Raj Kapoor, Satyajit Ray etc.
Today, it's all about what's happening in the actors' bedrooms or at social dos and who's smoking up or snorting the wrong stuff. And most importantly, are they wearing the right clothes and driving the right car or scratching some competitor's eyes out or not.
There sure has been a change in the cadre recently. They don't make men or women like they used to, anymore. Blame the genes and the motivation above all else, I'd say.
Nargis will always remain Nargis. There can never be another one. Madhuri Dixit could look like Madhubala but the enchantment of the actors of yesteryears can never be replicated. It's practically impossible.
But yes, the climb is similar. I bet at some point in her life, Nargis would have said, "I am waiting for the right script" to someone. As for the rest and more, some pulled strings, some did not and got lucky and some just waited at the gates of studios to see if they would get lucky. And then there will always be some actors who could shine and yet, will never be heard of.
I love the movies - in almost any language that I can get my hands on, with subtitles in some cases, if you please. And I love the charm some of the actors create on screen. Sometimes, I want to be like them but in many cases, I want to be with them. But it's a world that's murkier than the Ganges.
It's a good thing I write about food. You know when it is spoilt.