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Couples and chemistry

V. GANGADHAR
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Cinema In Hindi or Hollywood films, inspired casting and perfect pairing can turn out hits

What makes star pairs click? Why did the famous producer-director, Alfred Hitchcock, cast a young Grace Kelly with Hollywood's senior stars, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant? What made director William Wyler persuade established star, Gregory Peck, to co-star with the inexperienced Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday , which turned out to be a classic?

Can one forget the most famous couple, Richard Burton and the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor? Although Burton was the better actor, his pairing with Taylor produced hits such as Taming of the Shrew and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf . These are cases of inspired casting. Right actor for the right role! If there was chemistry between the leading pair, the screen sizzled. Rather than trying to outdo each other, they worked to bring out the best.

Some directors believed that performances became elevated and were realistic if the hero and the heroine were in love in real life and an example was the famous lovers of the Hindi screen, Nargis and Raj Kapoor.

Sometimes, acting skills rather than sex appeal or good looks created a star pair. This generally worked for actors who were not cut out for glamour roles. A good script, an intelligent director - even with limited funds, such a pair could turn the film into a hit. One such screen couple was Farooque Shaikh and Deepti Naval.

During the 1980s, they represented intelligent and light comedies, which appealed to and drew the huge number of family units to the theatres. During the 1970s, Shaikh and Naval were TV personalities who were brought together by director Sai Paranjpaye in Chashme Buddoor . The film had a youthful, realistic, middle class charm but it also had enough commercial ingredients to click at the box office. The pair then drifted apart and at that time the focus of Hindi cinema also changed. Even the roles offered did not interest them. Farooque and Deepti, who enjoyed each other's company and appreciated their respective talent, had no regrets about not reaching the top in terms of money and fame. He did theatre, and both of them had interesting TV assignments. But Farooque at 63 and Deepti at 54, after nearly 27 years of screen separation, will now be seen in a couple of movies and are excited about it. They have interesting roles in Hema Malini's home production, Tell me, O Khuda , starring Esha Deol. Hema Malini was keen to rekindle the nostalgia of the Shaikh-Naval combination. The pair will also be playing the lead in producer Avinash Singh's, Listen, Amaya , which has a 2012 release date. Once again, cinema-goers will get to watch these two enormously talented actors.

V. GANGADHAR

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