When Kajol talks about “feeling beautiful today”, most dismiss her as ‘plain’, ‘loud’, ‘full of herself’. What if this was Shah Rukh Khan? What if we imagine Kajol in SRK roles?
Browsing through the internet during these days of lockdown due to COVID-19, I stumbled upon this video of Kajol Mukherjee being interviewed by Anupama Chopra, in August 2018, before the release of Helicopter Eela.
What caught my attention was when Kajol talked about ‘feeling beautiful today’ – “I really believe today if I had believed that about myself then, I probably would’ve been looked at differently then as well. Believed it, been and looked at differently.”
The actress spoke about not always being comfortable in her own skin and why she describes her vanity now as ‘hard-earned’!
She says – “But beauty was a collection of features that other people had and I didn’t. I didn’t believe that I was beautiful. I think now when you tell me, ‘You’re looking stunning today and you’re glowing today and you’re looking much more beautiful today than you did at 16’ it’s honestly because I believe that I’m beautiful today.”
I’ve always loved Kajol since her Baazigar days and am surprised how she didn’t think she was beautiful then. Well, even the Oxford dictionary defines beauty as a combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.
For me, beauty isn’t physical. But looking at a few of the comments I feel people are still living in a world where only ‘fair’ is ‘lovely’. Some say that she is ‘plain and still not beautiful’ and some say that she is too loud. Maybe if she was a man, people would have drooled over the carefree and loud personality because hey! Only a man can be that loud, right?
The ‘main apni favourite hoon’ attitude is what makes her gorgeous. After all, being bratty is what makes her perfectly flawed!
Kajol has worked with Shah Rukh Khan in a number of films. They were touted as the most romantic ‘jodi’ on screen with their crackling chemistry. They’ve together ruled the industry until Kajol got married and decided to quit Bollywood for a long period.
I could also call her the ‘female’ SRK and can imagine what it would be like if Kajol did a few of Shah Rukh’s roles. After all, Shah Rukh is also not what is defined as ‘conventionally handsome’, right? And his persona has the same personality traits of exuberance, pride, and confidence, and I’m sure, he could also say, “main apna favourite hoon”, and is equally loud? Shah Rukh also, like Kajol, is a bit ‘dusky’. (What if we call SRK the ‘male’ Kajol?)
So now that we have established this similarity, I’m wondering how the viewers who say she’s plain, loud, vain, would take it if it were Kajol in SRK roles? Will she be appreciated for her acting just like ‘King Khan’ who is also dusky?
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SRK didn’t start his big screen career as the charming and romantic chocolate boy that he finally became popular as! He played the obsessive lover Rahul in Darr, who stalked Kiran (Juhi Chawla).
Without SRK, we would’ve never gotten the, “I love you, K-K-K-Kiran”! But maybe if Kajol had played this role, her madness, classic laughter and stammering would surely not be as ‘breathtaking’. I wouldn’t be surprised if she would be labelled as the ‘bad woman’, who is being horrific! Walk, Talk and Laugh like a woman – isn’t this taught to every Indian girl?
Well, if Simran (Kajol) wasn’t playing the simple girl and was the flirtatious Raj (SRK) instead, the one-liners “palat”, and “badi badi desho mei aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hai” could’ve gotten kajol’s character labelled as a ‘slut’, a loose woman who ran after boys. Am I right?
In this one, like SRK being obsessed with revenge, Kajol surely wouldn’t have been able to break the conventions of the Hindi film heroine. Even though she would depict that good and evil co-exist in an individual, she would be hated for it. Why?
Because her ‘not so cool’ looks wouldn’t be worth going gaga over. Only a man is entitled to look scruffy yet cool! Moreover, an Indian woman is expected to be benign with nothing evil in her. So, she wouldn’t fight back. She would sit back, accept her fate and not leave her widowed and amnesiac mother to seek vengeance unlike SRK did. After all, the world is a ‘bad place’ for her and she must abide by the rules to live happily.
SRK is still considered charming in 2016. It’s strange how the old male actors are still charming. Imagine Kajol playing the romantic lead role.
Oh wait! Won’t she be scorned for not being her age! She would be called an agony aunt and not a charismatic mentor and therapist. Male actors seem to be ageing like fine wine and are still the hero. The female ones with age, shed the title of a ‘heroine’ and are just called an actress.
Kajol surely would have won hearts being the girl-next-door just like Sunil (SRK). The barbie doll look and the fair skin holds no importance here. So it doesn’t matter how she’d look as long as she carries the innocence of an ordinary girl. But! Hey, she is supposed to study well right?
Unlike SRK, she would be studious, pass her exams, not make music her career, then be all ready for marriage and get straight into the kitchen with the stove being the only ‘hot’ topic in her life. Haven’t you heard – ‘achi ladkiyan naachti gaati nahi hai’ (good girls don’t dance and sing in public)?
If Kajol played Surinder, the ‘bechari’ look would go down well with the folks but a girl being a creepy stalker? No, we can’t accept that!
She would definitely be portrayed as the ‘bechari’ wearing a ‘ghoonghat’, making round rotis, to make her better half believe in her and fall in love again. The way to a man’s heart is his stomach. If not the rotis, a tandoori chicken could do the trick! Her better half would waltz around the house, with the chicken leg in one hand and would in his screechy voice sing, ‘Rab ne bana di jodi, haaye.‘ Finally, he found a wife who could mother him.
Men are loved for their crazy ways, but the same craziness in a woman will make people curl their upper lip in disdain, like here when we imagined Kajol in SRK roles. Women have always played only decorative roles – the damsel in distress, a demented feminist or a glam doll. But that is so far away from reality!
Women are increasingly becoming more vocal about their freedom of choice. That’s what Kajol too seems to be doing. You cannot change the people around you but you can change the way you think about yourself.
Bollywood makes a lot of movies from a man’s viewpoint. Don’t you think it’s time to get more realistic now?
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