In the blitz of promotional interviews for the recently released war film Shershaah, one stood out. The film’s leads, Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani, were featured in Filmfare magazine. The cover photograph sold old-school stardom; both bronzed and colour-coordinated, they looked suitably glamorous (in sharp contrast to the middle-class characters they play in the film). In the interview carried within, though, Kiara said something intriguing. She talked about how driven and focused Sidharth was on set. She said: “He constantly likes to have an acting coach with him. They’d just jam together during the breaks and add certain nuances. I really thought he was just a pretty face before.”
The good news is that no actor in Bollywood can afford to be “just a pretty face” anymore. A few decades ago, the prerequisite for being a Hindi film actor was the same as that for taking Poo to the prom in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham — “good looks, good looks and good looks”….