New poster boy of middle-class India

New poster boy of middle-class India

There is a famous saying -- the more things change, the more they remain the same. We all have been surprised and entertained by two earthy and...

There is a famous saying -- the more things change, the more they remain the same. We all have been surprised and entertained by two earthy and entertaining movies in the last three odd weeks. One a sweet comic love triangle called ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ and the other ‘Shubh Mangal Savdhan’.

In this day and age, where the experts and the well-read will keep informing you that the audience today have short attention span and they want something new every day. Where everything is hype and hoopla, these two movies have won audience appreciation and are running strongly against big names. When you look at their cost of making to what they have delivered these are big business-returns movies.

There is one common element in both the movies, the sweet sincere charm of Ayushman Khurana. This actor is just five odd years old in Bollywood and, thank god for that, so far his acting is sincere and the vibes of honest acting come to you strong from the screen. Like all good actors, Ayushman uses his eyes and his smile to perfection in getting to his audience.

Then if you look at this actor’s emergence in the last five years, the similarity between what he has delivered and what Amol Palekar did for Bollywood in the 1970s are so strikingly similar.

Amol Palekar came in unannounced and his films ‘Rajnigandha’, ‘Chhoti Si Baat’, ‘Gharonda’, ‘Damaad’ and ‘Baton Baton Mein’, were epic realistic middle-class cinema. When the term “realistic acting” was not even in the fashion Amol Palekar brought it to the table with such ease and casual confidence that in the era of Bachchan and the guns, Palekar’s movie won the box office big time.

Sure the most celebrated example has been Rishi Kapoor but trust me Amol Palekar’s movie ignited a genre. Rishi Kapoor, with all due respect, was still old school Bollywood romance in a better package.

Ayushman’s movies have actually been the example of going against the trends just like in the 1970s Palekar cinema. His films have touched the middle-class Delhi and surroundings, just like Palekar’s movies were middle-class Mumbai. Ayushman has already like Palekar built on his own distinct acting style, which like Palekar is winning audience hearts. His movies like ‘Vicky Donor’, ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’, ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ and now ‘Shubh Mangal Savdhan’ are big surprise box office winners. And even today he is yet to get his due recognition when compared to the kings of realistic acting like Irrfan Khan or Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

In the 1970s, the common point of the experts was this is the age of drama and violence people do not want reminders of their own silly mundane lives. Palekar’s movies did exactly the opposite of that and scored brownie points and the obvious box office moolah.

Ayushman films have come in an age when screen count and promotions matter, the big business idea is to make money on long weekends and festival releases and by the next morning sun of the festival and long weekend if the movie is forgotten as the night that went by it does not matter. Yet his movies like ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ and ‘Shubh Mangal Savdhan’ have proved that the audience has not changed and they want content and for that, they will keep coming back to the theatre.

Ayushman’s movies like Palekar’s from the 70s remind the audience of their own daily lives and their issues. If you look at all his films they talk about today’s middle-class problems. Male fertility in ‘Vicky Donor’, vigour in ‘Shubh Mangal Savdhan’, couple compatibility in ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’. The movies are good examples and compelling tales like Palekar’s on how the great Indian society fights its problems daily and solves them and finds a way out.

Like Palekar, Ayushman has become the poster boy of the new Indian middle-class youth, which wants the best for themselves and their loved ones. His movies like Palekar’s are not preachy yet they come with a social message.
Ayushman’s and Palekar’s films speak of hope despite problems. Ayushman is the new Amol Palekar.

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