Friday, September 21, 2012

Bend Your Knees, Everyone! It´s Queen Bebo´s Birthday!

"Fat is not sexy!" 
Oh Bebo, how I love thee. You are a never ending source of entertainment and amusement with your air-headed comments, self absorbed attitude and bubbly way of life. Please, NEVER change.

My relationship with Kareena is a rather special one. As always, it started on the superficial note of looks. I remember when I first saw Kareena in K3G  - which happened to be also my first Bollywood movie -  I thought of her as rather ugly. I didn´t think much of her, being more focused on the total adorableness that is Shah Rukh and Kajol as a married couple and forgot her shortly after the movie ended. 

Poo´s introduction sequence in K3G starting at 1:00 min. Look at the attitude! Bebo rocks and she knows it.

Then I saw her again in Asoka and again I was more focused on how yummy Shah looked and how I wished him to stay with Devi, the buddhist wife (I found her much prettier, LOOKING EXACTLY LIKE AN INDIAN JESSICA ALBA) and not caring much on the whole Shah-Going-Batshit-Because-Of-Kaurwaki´s-Presumed-Death-angle. 

Twins, seperated at birth? Maybe clones? Maybe there is some factory situated in some deserted wasteland that produces actresses who look exactly alike to place them in movie industries all over the world in a wicked plan to take over the earth?

Being way too distracted by discovering the plans of a secret conspiracy, I couldn´t appreciate the valuable efforts made by Kareena in the movie. And she´s awesome, people! Displaying how versatile she is, she goes from shallow Poo to the fierce and independent warrior-princess within seconds. She even has a sword!

I always wanted a sword when I was little.
Discovering Bollywood in only two years takes a long time and it took me a long time to watch something with Kareena again. As it happened, it was Jab We Met and like with almost everyone, it completely won me over to Team Bebo. (And you know there is no coming back from Team B... if you want to keep your head). It also happened on the superficial way again, through looks.* I felt like I was watching a new Kareena, someone who reinvented herself, having not only better hair but also considerable acting chops. Her Geet was maybe irritating sometimes with her loud and brash behaviour but it was also a sweet and genuine performance. Kareena really outdid herself in that movie. I could have watched Geet for hours even after the movie ended.

And look! Isn´t. She. GORGEOUS?
From then on I watched every movie with Kareena I could get my hands on. I discovered that she is a really good actress, who can play almost every role. She is astonishingly pretty, having a really interesting face and amazing eyes, always displaying a fierce and fresh energy that radiates from the screen.

But the defining thing about Kareena? Above all, she wants to prove herself. People say she can only play shallow Poo-roles? Well, see how I can play a foul-mouthed prostitute. People say she is too fat for bikini roles? Well, see how I can become the first Bollywood actress with a size zero body. People say she does not play in the A-League because she has yet to shoot with all of the Three Khans? Well, see how I can play along all three of them, WITHIN ONE YEAR. Kareena knows that Kareena is the best and she wants everyone else to better believe that, too.

Coming from one of the oldest, most powerful and influential families within the industry, THE Kapoors, Kareena was not encouraged to take the job as a Hindi film actress. Let´s just say, the Kapoor women are not famous for their acting chops. Until now, Kareena and her sister Karishma are the only ones to become actresses. I don´t know that much about Kareena´s family background, having read once that her parents are divorced and that her father was strongly dissatisfied with her decision to become an actress. From the little I know, it seems troubled. For years, Kareena didn´t want to talk about her father, displaying a really close relationship with her mother and sister instead.

A young Bebo with her mother and sister, Babita and Karishma.
In recent years Kareena became more restraint and more concerned about the things she talks about but at the beginning of her career Bebo was known for her unabashed, direct and ouspoken way of saying exactly what she thinks. About herself... and also about other people. Princess B was not someone to hold back with words. Here are some of her famous quotes:

"I am a hell raiser. I do my own thing. And I believe what I do is the right thing."

"My co-stars call me selfish. They say you are only interested in yourself and what you are only interested is yourself and what you are doing in front of the camera. I reply, I can`t help it; it`s what got me where I am."

"My film-makers have accepted me. They know I'm in a league of my own. Madhuri Dixit gave her first hit after nine years. Sridevi never had a historical hit. And yet they were the top actresses because they were immensely talented. The same goes for me too."  

There are a couple of people who are not on speaking terms with Kareena but who is she to care about what other people think:

"Sanjay Bhansali is a confused director. He is a person who does not stand by his word. He doesn't have any morals and principles in life."
"I'm not at all a Salman fan. I don't like him, he's a very bad actor."  (Oh Bebo, I completely understand.)

And above all, Amisha Patel, whose role in Kaho Na...Pyaar Hai was originally intended to be Kareena's debut. The following is excerpted from an interview with Kareena in the March 2002 issue of Filmfare magazine:

Q: Why have you been making nasty statements about Amisha Patel then?
A: Listen, I have no problems with Amisha Patel. In fact, I even called her up after Gadar. I thought she was good and I told her so. Even at one of the award function I went up to her and said hello. If that's not graciousness then what is? What more can I do to make peace? On the contrary, her mother has been bitching about me to all and sundry. She's been going around saying that who does Kareena Kapoor think she is. She has given only flops. She'll never make it. Fine. So what happened to Amisha Patel's Zindagi Ka Safar? If Amisha's so confident of her talent then why is she screaming about her hits? Okay so I have given only flops. But why am I still being paid more than her? It's only talent that matters here. Raj Kapoor sold off his last shirt while making Mera Naam Joker. But he's considered the greatest showman even today. I have the talent. I'm confident. And I know I'll be remembered always. I don't want Amisha Patel's history hits. I don't want to be mediocre in hit films. I'd rather be brilliant in flop movies..."

And the best one:  

"Yeah, I'm getting my price. Producers are even willing to pay me more than what I ask. But unfortunately, I can't do every film. So I have to turn down offers. (Laughs) Chalo, at least this way others get work." 
Don´t you just love her? Of course it´s completely arrogant, self-centered and totally bratty but it´s also entertainment gold. I would never want to be Kareena´s friend but I as a bystander I love her comments. Besides, to see someone who so unabashedly, unapologetically believes in himself is automatically something I would envy and admire. You gotta have guts to not care at all about what others think about you. It also reminds me of someone else at the beginning of his career who also had a lot to say about his innocent view of the world.

A couple of years and some PR-people later, Kareena has learned to hold herself back in the public but attitude is something you can´t hide. Queen Bebo has cemented her stand in the industry as the Number One actress, rising to the top in only ten years leaving everyone else to stare up in awe and admiration.

"Main Apni Favourite Hoon" You totally are, Bebo, and we love you like that.
*And before you disregard me forever as this superficial wannabe movie critic who judges people only by their looks: Sorry it´s just how I roll. An attractive actor gets me more inclined to look further into his/her work than a not-so-good-looking one. If I discover an amazing talent along the way, than their exterior is just an extra bonus, if not, then I forget about them as quickly.

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