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From Mallika Dua to Kanan Gill: Are comedians the new tadka in Bollywood movies?

And to see the same icons, who once mocked at such trends, change sides and jump the bandwagon is plain heartbreaking

Nairita Mukherjee Noir_Memoir 26 April 2017, 9:17 PM
Mallika Dua is super excited about her cameo in Hindi Medium

Mallika Dua is super excited about her cameo in Hindi Medium Image: Facebook

Every now and then (on the pretext of reinventing cinema), Bollywood sets out in search of new masala. Once added to the already heady concoction, it is supposed to make the venture a lip-smacking success. This season, the garnish is comedy. Not the kind we've seen so far with Govinda gyrating on screen, though, but the kind that is considered cool by the web series-watching young brigade.

Case in point: A film that hit (and hit out) too close to home was Noor, based on Saba Imtiaz’s novel Karachi, You’re Killing Me!, which essentially chronicles the life of a journalist. Casting Kanan Gill as Saad — with his 603k Twitter followers — Sonakshi Sinha's best friend (yes, men and women can be friends and not be romantically involved. This is modern cinema), was another brilliant marketing strategy. All he did was be Kanan Gill. And that prompted his female fans to make a beeline for the threatre, screaming his name every time he came on screen. The ability to act: N/A. But we'd like to imagine, in a parallel universe, Kanan is ripping his own cameo apart in an episode of Pretentious Movie Reviews, like did with Sonu Nigam's Jaani Dushman, because someone needs to.

Another example is Baar Baar Dekho, that already had Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra backing it. It had AIB's Rohan Joshi in an absolutely needless role of the hero's quintessential best friend. His sole purpose was to crack non-funny jokes throughout his limited screen presence, with an air of arrogance, until eventually it was discovered that the joke was on him. That the film tanked ceremoniously for the lack of a plot line and acting ability from the lead pair, is besides the point. He did, however, garner a few oh-was-that-Rohan-Joshi moments from urban cine-goers, and create a social media presence, which we know he is already good at.


And if that wasn't enough, we now hear that Mallika Dua will be seen in a cameo in Irrfan Khan's upcoming film, Hindi Medium. Reportedly, Mallika, who will be seen playing a true blue Punjabi on screen, will have the audience in splits when they see her and Irrfan's camaraderie, a source from the sets confirmed.

Does this give the films a marketing boost? Yes. But on the opposite side of the spectrum is something far deeper. You see, the reason why the web series format rose to popularity is because they were so starkly different from Bollywood films or Indian television. And this difference was established primarily by mocking at the erstwhile popular mediums. And the Rohan Joshis and Kanan Gills of the web world had a lot to do with it. To see the same icons change sides and jump the bandwagon is just heartbreaking.

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