Joined: 10 April 2005
As a baby-cum-star-sister, she was cute. Now, Kareena Kapoor is cuter, so to speak, and she knows it as she attempts to manipulate you into writing up a storm of complimentary articles.
With the release of her film, Mr aur Mrs Khanna, with Salman Khan coming up next, you can bet she'll have the media eating out of her hands.
Whatever Bebo wants Bebo gets. Right now, her gambit is to assert that she is the number one Bollywood actress.
She would like to get married to beau Saif Ali Khan, but if the date and year are announced, she goes straight off the market like stale fish.
Kapoor, or Bebo, or even Beboo as she signs herself on cellphone messages, is a girl-woman who believes she can tantalise every male — be it a boyfriend of the moment or her fans. She can chew you up or she can purr happily, she can be sharper than vinegar and she can be sweeter than glucose.
You've got to take Bebo for what she is. As mom Babita once put it, half exasperated and half indulgent, "That girl, she listens to no one," adding after a dramatic pause, "Not even to me." Am I revealing facets of Kapoor that I'm not supposed to? Tchah, no way. She's been her self-centric self since she was 14.
If she found Aishwarya Rai's doll-like walk imitable, she wouldn't shy away from doing the Rai-strut across a hotel lobby at midnight. Onlookers would be in splits, she was a terrific mimic even if sister Karisma would warn her not to be rude.
Accompanying Karisma to out-of-town shoots, the kid sister would sit it out in hotel rooms whenever she thought the day's schedule didn't have much excitement to offer. That she would be a go-getting star was a foregone conclusion. The hawk-eyed Hyderabad studio baron, D Rama Naidu, who had introduced Karisma in Prem Qaidi, would keep reiterating, "Kareena will be one big heroine."
Like a sea finds its shore, she eventually found the camera. Karisma kept any shred of news about Bebo safely locked, as protective as a lioness. If you asked Bebo about the industry talk linking her with Vicky Nihalani, she'd look at you with melting eyes and say, "Come on, you know me, he's just a friend." And what about the talk that she'd escaped out of her hilltown boarding school with Nihalani by her side? The answer would be equally obscure.
Those days, Bebo would ask with concern, "How was I? I was okay no?" She was uncharacteristically uncertain, the way she was at her first photo-session at click maestro Shantanu Sheorey's studio. Half a dozen changes, a thousand facial expressions, two thousand postures and pirouettes, but only two or three of the photos worked.
The ones that did were mind-blowing. She had watched sister Karisma slog. Bebo didn't have to slog. Neither was she a great dancer like Karisma, nor given to study and observation. Bebo depended instead on spontaneity she was a Kapoor, she was born to be a star, it would come to her with a little help from gym exercises, a zero-figure diet, prayers and the inherited genes.
Santosh Sivan was to cast Aishwarya Rai in Asoka. On noticing Bebo at a studio, he visualised her in the project. Would she do it? Ask her, I advised. She would. He loved directing her and would often call up to say he was thrilled with the choice. Then there was silence. At a tough, riverside location, I learnt from others she had kept Sivan and his unit waiting. Some said for five days, some said for a week.
When she did arrive, Sivan made up for lost time with his super-fast shooting speed, but he stopped talking to me about her. I could sense he was hurt by the delay but was too gentlemanly to discuss it. Well, as expected, he went on to shoot more with Aishwarya Rai than Kapoor subsequently.
Glitches are endemic. Bebo's had her share of them. She can be loving and she can be furious. She's made some wrong decisions and some right ones. Evidently, she loves winning awards and has screamed at anyone who denies her one. When Bebo calls the media on the eve of her movie releases, in a practice patented by Bollywood's film stars, most journos simply roll their eyes. Karisma never did that; there's plenty Bebo still has to learn.
I once met her in an elevator with Shahid Kapur. "Hiiiiiiii," she went,
"You've been ignoring me."
Excuse me, no one can ignore Bebo, everyone else in the elevator looked like androids compared to her. She pumped my arm, kissed the air and then she was off. Now with Saif Ali Khan by her side, she lies through her teeth. She will plant stories about her ex-flame in the press and Khan will describe her as an "unstable person" behind her back.
It pains me to see a bright young girl turn into a media manipulator. If you criticise her, she can't take it. She wants to be glorified. Sorry that's just not possible and I conclude by stating the obvious, Kapoor is not a patch on sister Karisma, as an actress or as a human being. Someone had to say this. I just did.
Joined: 25 February 2008
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