Has quality of acting diminished globally?

Whew. What a crazy week. Now that the weekend is here, it is Bollywood time! A random musing to start off. Here is a piece from today's Wall Street Journal titled Does Acting Still Matter? An excerpt:

Acting isn’t hard, and anyone can do it without much training.

That notion seems to have taken hold in the theater world lately, but anyone who has sat through performances starring any number of famous but ham-handed actors knows how false it is. The craft of acting has been downgraded...The cult of celebrity is partly to blame, as are theater critics who focus increasingly on writing, directing and set design (Ms. Gardner owns up to minimizing acting in her own theater reviews.)

I think this is applicable across countries and industries, from theater to films. Including India and Bollywood. How else would one explain modeling being the most pursued profession with the idea of it leading to an acting career? Perhaps it should start the other way?

From whatever From whatever little I know of acting (little-known fact about me is that I was an avid fan of acting and actually acted in several theater plays during my middle-school years in Bombay), I wish we could get some sort of statistic of how many of those who started their Bollywood careers as item girls/guys actually 'acted' at some prior stage of their lives. I would guess not many at all.


Anonymous said...

I think it is more or less a result of the formulaic approach that film-makers eem to follow today that is responsible for the same..as a result melodrama and loud histrionics get mistaken for great acting..and Sanjay Bhansali's films rake in all the awards..when they should not have won a single one
For instance what many consider to be one of the best performances in recent times Rani in black was actually a bad performance..her mannerisms in the fim resembled more those of a spastic than a deaf-mute and blind..neither was her tone one that merited praise
Award givers sucking up to the big names,commercialisation have all contributed to this..for example in the year 2005 a brilliant Hazaron khwahishein aisi went unnoticed...
Even now when Vidya Balan delivers a quite outstanding performance in Bhool Bhulaiya she is compared to Shohna who won a nationa award for the same role..but the difference is that Vidya opted for a natural and subtler approach whilst Shobhana opted for a pretentious melodramatic one..and you obviously know which one got lapped up..despite that she might not win even a single award this year..becaue Kareena in jab we met was quite fabulous..its hard to compare the two but Vidya's role was far tougher..but will the award organisers fail to appease the Kapoor household?The answer is obvious
It is also sad to see that directors improvise no more on the sets..the likes of Rakeysh Mehra,Ashutosh Gowariker and MAni Ratnam do but their films come once in 3 years so the audience is far from satisfied

theBollywoodFan said...

Well said, and agreed. My take on award-givers is one of complete distrust, to the point of carelessness (the literal kind), really. I watch the award shows for the performances and to see what the actors' off-screen personalities are like (how else would I know that I would rather not be a Bipasha Basu fan?), and hardly for the awards.

What sealed the deal for me was that Aamir Khan, despite two excellent performances (Rang De Basanti and Fanaa) last year, failed to win one best actor award across several award ceremonies. I have nothing against Hrithik Roshan and I am quite a fan of his too. And no, this is not blind loyalty to Aamir ;) It is more of an impact assessment of the actors' respective films. Rang De Basanti versus Krrish or Dhoom 2? Hardly a contest, in my humble opinion. All the hype and commercialization that you talk about is exactly what's in play here.

Vidya Balan must have done well in Bhool Bhulaiyaa. Wish I could watch it. I cannot wait to check out her performance!