Aishwarya, Rishi Kapoor & Katrina In Our Awkwardly Miscast List

We present our list of awkwardly miscast actors in 2016.

4 min read
Aishwarya Rai in <i>Sarbjit </i>and Katrinka Kaif in <i>Fitoor.</i>

This year has seen several misfires, some difficult to digest and some only worthy of laughter. Here’s looking at some of the mega casting fails that made our eyes wide, and grins wider.

Aishwarya Rai in Sarbjit and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in <i>Sarbjit.&nbsp;</i>
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Sarbjit. 

When you have to accent it up, please, please refrain from dialling Aishwarya Rai. Starring in two of this year major releases, Rai was all wrong for either part, for her inability to enliven another language. Playing Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir in the thoroughly over-pitched and hysterical biopic, her attempts at rural Punjabi were like a soapy hand trying to hold a racket, almost always missing the shot.

In her second major release, Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, she is perfect in every way, except for the fact that she had to portray an Urdu spouting poetess. Whenever she spoke the torments of the heart in Urdu couplets, it felt as if she and the Urdu-speaking woman were two different entities, never quite merging with each other.

Vicky Kaushal in Raman Raghav 2.0

Vicky Kaushal in <i>Raman Raghav 2.0.</i>
Vicky Kaushal in Raman Raghav 2.0.

When we met Deepak burning dead bodies on the banks of the Ganga and falling head-over-heels in love with Shaalu in Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan last year, our hearts warmed up to Vicky Kaushal’s earnestness, his uninhibited charm. But this year, the warm memories of Masaan have been washed off by his drug addled cop act in Anurag Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0. Pitched against the volcanic talent of Nawazuddin Siddqui, Vicky Kaushal had it tough anyway, but what pinched the eyes was how much of a misfit he seemed inhabiting a disoriented, brooding cop. What felt like the easygoing allure in Masaan turned into playacting, for the actor never looked right for the role, from the word go.

Vir Das in 31st October

Vir Das in <i>31st October.</i>
Vir Das in 31st October.

This year, we saw Vir Das, known for his stand-up routine, taking up the role of a hapless victim in one of independent India’s bloodiest periods. Das hasn’t really progressed much in his filmography, but as a Sardar grappling with unsurmountable terror and tragedy, he was so miserably miscast that you could never take him or the movie seriously. His character almost screamed the fact out that the makers were short of budget, and had to settle for someone known, even if never fitting the role.

Rishi Kapoor in Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)

Rishi Kapoor in <i>Kapoor &amp; Sons.</i>
Rishi Kapoor in Kapoor & Sons.

Unlike a Benjamin Button-esque narrative in which a character prances through ages, Rishi Kapoor’s dadu in Shakun Batra’s dysfunctional drill Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921) is old from the very start. It was substandard to see the film’s insistence on Kapoor playing the role of an 80-something grandfather instead of an older actor, thus making way for cakey-looking abysmal prosthetics. Also, the fabric of the film clearly suggested the new age subtle handling of events, but Kapoor’s take on the about-to-die character gave it jarring turns, completely out of sync with the rest. For one of the better acted films of 2016, Kapoor unfortunately, provided its Achilles heel.

Art Malik in Mirzya

Art Malik in <i>Mirzya.</i>
Art Malik in Mirzya.

Why would anyone in their sane mind would cast Art Malik in a Hindi film production? Malik, quite accomplished abroad as far as acting chops are concerned, appears like an alien in Mirzya, as he did in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s earlier film, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. His anglicised accent never quite fits in, and sounded just like it was: a gora speaking Hindi.

Aditya Roy Kapur and Katrina Kaif in Fitoor

Aditya Roy Kapur and Katrina Kaif in <i>Fitoor.</i>
Aditya Roy Kapur and Katrina Kaif in Fitoor.

To begin with, Abhishek Kapoor’s greatest mistake was to misunderstand the real strength of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, a coming-of-age tale which he interpreted as a romantic epic, taking a cue from Alfonso Cuarón’s 1998 adaptation. The next misfire was to cast Aditya Roy Kapur and Katrina Kaif, both are impoverished as far as acting is concerned, to meet the inner turmoil of Pip and Estella. Essentially, a dead-on-arrival lead pair.

(The writer is a journalist and a screenwriter who believes in the insanity of words, in print or otherwise; he tweets @RanjibMazumder)

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