Real-life couples don't sizzle onscreen

May 7, 2006 Priyanka Khanna

New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Yet another pair of good looking, madly-in-love Bollywood starlets who promised to burn the screens with their real-life sizzling chemistry have fizzled out onscreen.

"36 China Town", featuring real-life lovers Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapur as a hot couple, disappoints. Coming from the stables of director duo Abbas-Mastan, the let down makes one wonder whether real-life couples should be cast together at all.

In more than a few instances in the past, Bollywood stars who have become increasingly public about their love life have disheartened viewers (and directors) with their lack of comfort and uneasiness when it comes to portraying love scenes onscreen.

Shahid and Kareena's off-screen chemistry is far more interesting than that in "36 China Town". In "Fida", their first film together, Kareena shone much more with her other co-star Fardeen Khan than with Shahid.

Watching the awkwardness and discomfort between Kareena and Shahid onscreen, one would prefer the times when a kiss between the hero and heroine in a film was always represented by two roses meeting or a setting sun.

Though Hindi films are no longer shy of intimacy, many Bollywood actors, especially those who are real-life couples, continue to look uncomfortable with such scenes.

Off late, the ones who have pulled off love scenes convincingly have been unlikely pairs like Rahul Bose, who reportedly kissed Laila Rouass so passionately in "Split Wide Open" that her tooth chipped, and Naseeruddin Shah, who kissed Tara Deshpande with fervour in "Bombay Boys".

Before Bipasha Basu hooked up with beau John Abraham, she did not mind going the whole hog in "Jism". But now, there are no sparks between the two onscreen in their subsequent films together - "Aetbaar" and "Madhoshi".

Love booming on the sets of films is as old as the movies. But in Hindi films the chemistry, love, comfort and passion seldom translate onscreen. Pairs like Dharmendra-Hema Malini, Amitabh Bachchan-Jaya Bhadhuri and Rishi

Kapoor-Neetu Singh who sizzled onscreen have become a rarity today.

Remember how Aishwarya Rai and ex-boyfriend Vivek Oberoi went out of the way to play-down their onscreen kiss during publicity of "Kyun! Ho Gaya Na". When the film bombed, the lack of screen chemistry between the two was held responsible.

Good pals Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan have superb onscreen chemistry and have given Hindi film aficionados some of the most memorable moments. But Kajol and husband Ajay Devgan were stone cold in "Gundaraj", "Dil Kya Kare" and "Raju Chacha".

Ditto for Akshay Kumar, who sent temperatures rising with Ayesha Jhulka,

Raveena Tandon, Shilpa Shetty and now Priyanka Chopra. But with wife Twinkle Khanna he was as cold as a turkey in "Zulmi" and "International Khiladi".

If psychiatrist Stephanie Charters, from King's College London, is to be believed, sexual chemistry is definitely an important ingredient for winning onscreen chemistry.

The point is not that we need to show more for more sizzle onscreen. The point is that our filmmakers need to look into the merit of promoting films based solely on bringing together real-life lovers onscreen.

There is enough evidence to show that it is not only the chemistry between two actors that sells a film. It is the story and the treatment that does and is often most important.

But even now, a number of big-budget films are being promoted on the premise of guaranteed crackling screen chemistry between real-life couples.

This includes several upcoming films starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, who are rumoured to be seeing each another. Will Yashraj Films' "Dhoom 2", J.P. Dutta's "Umrao Jaan" and Mani Ratnam's "Guru" meet the same sad fate as their first film together "Kuch Na Kaho" or will the secrecy surrounding their supposed real-life romance help them.

And then there is the Shahid-Kareena pairing once again in "Chup Chup Ke" and "Milenge Milenge". It remains to be seen whether they will finally reveal their real chemistry onscreen or leave fans high and dry again.


Cold onscreen chemistry between real-life lovers Shahid Kapur and Kareena Kapoor is not the only thing going against "36 China Town". Excessive use of comedy in the Abbas-Mustan murder mystery could well cause its undoing.

While loving the stylish Subhash Ghai's Mukta Art's production, critics are lamenting the lack of a good script, a must for a suspense thriller. If the film does work on the box-office it would be on account of lack of competition and presence of good music, songs.

The cast comprises Akshaye Khanna, Shahid, Kareena, Paresh Rawal, Johnny Lever, Payal Rohatgi, Tanaz Currim, Upen Patel, Isha Koppikar and Priyanka Chopra (in special appearances).

The masters of thrillers have apparently fallen for the current fad in the industry for comedies. After a string of comedies hit it big at the box office, a mad rush to cash in on the genre has pervaded Bollywood dream merchants.

Howevr, going by the poor response to "Pyare Mohan", it seems the audience may be getting satiated with the genre. The marquees are getting too crowded with more of the same thing ("Malamaal Weekly" is still running, Satish Kaushik's "Shaadi Se Pehle" is yet to be taken off). It is, perhaps, time for a change.


Fate of Deepak Tijori's "Tom Dick and Harry" that releases Friday could well determine where the comic genre stands.

The film stars Dino Morea, Jimmy Shergill and Anuj Sawhney as bungling blind, deaf and dumb dudes.

The great response to last week's release "Gangster" could well point at the next emerging genre.

The Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt's film starring Emran Hashmi, Shiney Ahuja and new-find Kangna Rawat has taken the lead over Ram Gopal Varma's multi-starrer "Darna Zaroori Hai" and the talked-about Aishwarya Rai-Dylan McDermott starrer "The Mistress Of Spices".

The not too exciting reception of "Darna Zaroori Hai" at the turnstiles paints a dim picture for the upcoming spate of horror/supernatural films that include "Sacred Evil" and "Tathastu".

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