The mainstream Bollywood in the ’90s and 2000s was heavily driven by the phenomenon ‘Masala’, which keeps on changing its definition. Then it was the quintessential song and dance, where a hero follows a heroine, and they fall for each other. Karisma Kapoor, who became the first Kapoor girl to enter the films, was the poster girl for mainstream. Back to back hits with Govinda and Salman Khan elevated her image as the masala star even more.
She became one of the topmost faces of her league, and everyone wanted her in their films. Over the years, the movies she did might not have aged well, but Karisma’s OTT approach to some of her characters has found a place in people’s heart. This definitely doesn’t mean she never got on board subtle projects. She did and aced them too. Just that they were less celebrated than the other.
So today, as Karisma Kapoor, aka Lolo, turns a year older, let’s look back at some of her most notable roles and also the ones that need to be celebrated more.
Loosely based on a real-life story, and set against the backdrop of partition, Zubeidaa is one of my most favourite films and has to be Karisma Kapoor’s best. A period drama that had Karisma as a second wife of a Prince played by Manoj Bajpayee, whose first wife was Rekha. Shyam Benegal put a lingering soul in Zubeidaa that spoke to masses and parallel cinema was consumed by not just cinema literates but the normal audience too. Thank AR Rahman’s amazing album as well.
I know you must be expecting Biwi No 1, Hero No 1 and the league to be mentioned in the list. But don’t you already know them well? Watch these and rediscover the actor. Directed by Khalid Mohamed and starring Jaya Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Karisma Kapoor and Manoj Bajpayee, Fiza was one of its kind. The unconventional film for its time was about a sister who sets out to find her brother who has walked out of the house to join a terrorist organisation.
DIL TOH PAGAL HAI
Let’s slowly move to what you were expecting. This Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor starrer is hailed as one of the cults in Bollywood. And why won’t it be? An album that to date resonates with the masses, Shiamak Davar’s amazing dance pieces, Yash Chopra’s magic of the flowing fabric, and Karisma Kapoor’s naive act to top it all. Dil Toh Pagal Hai is a guilty pleasure for many.
SHAKTI: THE POWER
A Hindi adaptation of Not Without My Daughter, Shakti: The Power isn’t the best example of filmmaking. But it definitely stands out for its casting choices. There were seasoned actors like Nana Patekar and Deepti Naval putting forward their best feat and Karisma took the challenge to stand with them on the same ground. She succeeded too.
HUM SAATH SAATH HAIN
Now this one in my opinion has not at all aged well. There are too many problems and claps and laughs in here. But I cannot deny the fact that Karisma Kapoor looked dream-like and acted believable in Hum Saath Saath Hain. Every single character was one note higher than they should be, and Kapoor caught it correctly. Accept it, you watch it as your guilty pleasure too.