All Talk and No Action Monday, March 28, 2011

I am glad to have found  this piece on acting by Baradwaj Rangan.
Problematic as the exercise is, the appraising of actors isn’t all that difficult when the acting touches you, when you feel what you’re supposed to be feeling (or, sometimes, when you feel something else altogether) as the actors hit their marks. But how do you evaluate the performances of, say, Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep, the most widely acclaimed actors of our time, and whose exertions on screen – almost always – have left me confused about how to respond? It isn’t that they haven’t given great performances – or, at least, performances that I rate as great – in The Godfather Part II and The French Lieutenant’s Woman. But more often, I am aware of their acting, and how do you account for that? Do you marvel at the weight gain and the mastery of the Lithuanian accent and the precise angle with which the elbow is raised in proportion to the torso, or do you sigh that this is “acting” but not acting in the sense of sublimating the actor in service of the character?
Bulls eye, ain't it?

My mind couldn't help toggling between the piece and two movies from 2009 - 3 Idiots and Rocket Singh

While most people saw Rancho, I couldn't help seeing Aamir Khan. Every twitch of the muscle, slack in the walk, squinting of the eye told me it was Aamir acting as Rancho. The problem aggravated since I couldn't find faults with his acting. As a 40+ actor he had pulled off a teenager's role rather well. But, it was still, an act.

Compare it with Ranbir's act in Rocket Singh. I haven't always been favorably placed to Ranbir. But his act in Rocket Singh, in my opinion, is light years ahead of many senior performers in the industry. Ofcourse the writing was crisp and full of wit. Yet, it was Harpreet's charm and innocence that stayed with me a viewer, not Ranbir's cool mannerisms. That the movie didn't work will be a peeve I shall hold forever.

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