It happens like magic. That precise moment when a star is born. The shot where Kareena Kapoor splashes water on her face and Abhishek scolds her for wasting water in Refugee. That moment when Rishi Kapoor sees Dimple Kapadia (then all of 15) in a miniskirt and polka dot top in a top-shot from the staircase landing of his bungalow in Bobby.
And when Kartik Aryan in Pyaar Ka Punchnaama rattles off that ‘Problem’ monologue about what women want (“Maang bharna and phir Zindagi bhar bhar maang poori Karte rahna”) a star is born. Remembering that moment when ‘It’ happened, director Luv Ranjan told me, “That monologue was not planned. Kartik just improvised and we went along. There was no cut. The entire thing was done in one take. Again in the sequel, we incorporated Kartik’s monologue because that was the USP of the Punchnaama franchise…it’s destiny, really.”
Indeed it is. There were other two heroes in Pyaar Ka Punchnaama: Divyendu Sharma and Raayo Bakhirta. It was Kartik who was chosen for stardom by destiny. Talking about that IT moment in his Rangeela, Ram Gopal Varma told me, “The minute Urmila (Matondkar) came on camera singing the title song, the audience in theatres across the country went wild. Stardom is like a collective endorsement of an actor’s connectivity. Sometimes it takes time.”
Ramu is right. It took Amitabh Bachchan 12 films before he got to Zanjeer. The difference between Zanjeer and the rest of Mr B’s films that came before is this: the IT quality was missing in the previous films.
That 'It’ quality was completely missing in Sridevi in her first film Solva Saawan. But it was very much there in her second film Himmatwala. Shammi Kapoor would have been just another struggler wading through flop after flop until Nasir Hussain’s Dil Deke Dekho happened to him.
Sometimes the ‘IT’ factor explodes on the screen immediately. Shah Rukh Khan was a star the minute he was seen on screen singing Koi Na Koi Chahiye on a motorbike. Rajesh Khanna became the most successful star of all times the minute he serenaded Sharmila Tagore with Mere Sapnon Ki Rani Kab Aayegi Tu in Aradhana.
Interestingly the romantic vibes in Aradhana were totally fabricated. Sharmila and Rajesh shot for this, the most romantic song of Hindi cinema, separately. Kartik Aaryan still gets requests for the ‘What Women Want’ monologue from his fans. It’s that IT moment that binds him to his fans forever.
Image source: SpotboyE archives