Passion for Cinema on Shashitabh
Akshay Manwani has written a great piece called "Amitabh Bachchan - A Look at the Personalities behind the Persona" over at Passion for Cinema. In addition to looking at important directors, writers, and heroines, there's a very insightful discussion on what made Shashi Kapoor his perfect co-star. I totally agree with the author that part of what makes the Shashitabh chemistry work is that while other co-stars might have seemed to be in competition with the Big B, Shashi simply balanced him without being steamrolled. Maybe that's because they were different enough in strengths and styles that they couldn't really compete with each other, but each was talented and confident enough not to shrink from the challenge of combining their differences? Hmm.... It's an interesting read; I'd love a series of essays like this on various figures in the industry to see how they interrelate and how different types of influence or power have intersected with different talents, particularly since we always hear how tightly knit the film world is.
What also came to mind is that I watched Clerk this weekend, which seems to take all the stuff that was odd in Roti, Kapada aur Makaan and amplify it, leaving out most of the things that worked, especially the relations between friends and family members which seemed difficult but real; and most of the shades of grey. Everything seems to have become a cipher (and you can't see a thing because stuff keeps dangling before the camera, but maybe that's just me who finds this irritating).
Sorry about the long ramblings.
The next obvious question is: who is the target audience for bollywood TODAY? In other words, who makes that marginal difference between a movie's FAILURE AND SUCCESS: the answer is NORTH INDIAN NRI'S (read Punjabis and Gujratis; because they constitute 90% of the Bollywood movie population in UK, North America).
Therefore, you have every other actor (and Actress trying Sikh turban to humble themselves and bring target audience to pay $12 for a ticket rather than rs 40). NRI revenue is 30-40% for a movie today.
Hope this helps.