In her 21-year career as a major star(her last film as a leading lady Dangerous Ishk was released in 2012) Karisma Kapoor has acted mostly in potboilers which did no service to her talent. Here are 5 that prove Kareena’s badi Didi can act.
1. Raja Hindustani(1996): two actresses who owe their stardom to director Dharmesh Darshan are Shilpa Shetty and Karisma Kapoor. Shetty’s makeover in Darshan’s Dhadkan included a nose job. Karisma’s hideous wardrobe and outlandish makeup(including wigs that looked like abandoned beehives) were thrown into the bin as her personality underwent a complete transformation .Her Aarti Sehgal was a class act.Dharmesh once told me he had to teach his ‘Lolo’ everything from how to walk to how to kiss. The film was an unofficial remake of Suraj Prakash’s Jab Jab Phool Khile with Karisma reprising Nanda’s role as the ‘pardesi’ won over by tourist guide Aamir Khan. They shared the longest on-screen kiss of Indian cinema.
2. Dil Toh Pagal Hai(1997): While she was a hot favourite with Salman Khan(every film a crass potboiler) , she did only one film each with the other two Khans. Aamir in Raja Hindustani, and the second lead opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Yash Chopra’s Dil Toh Pagal Hai. The role had been turned down by many actresses including Urmila Matondkar who didn’t want to play second fiddle to Madhuri Dixit. Karisma made the best of it contouring a subtle classy performance as Nisha who loved Rahul who didn’t love her back. Unrequited love as a show stopper.
3. Fiza(2000): A sister’s search for her terrorist brother Hrithik Roshan Fiza was the most dramatic role of Karisma’s career. She played Jaya Bachchan’s daughter and Hrithik’s brother with a passionate intensity ,right down to the Mother India ending.The film won her a Filmfare award for best actress. Apropos nothing, Fiza was directed by Khalid Mohamed who edited Filmfare.
4. Zubeidaa(2001): Shyam Benegal who had earlier worked with formidable actresses like Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil , chose Karisma to play the spoilt princess . He never regretted it. Her lioness’ act in Shyam Benegal’s Zubeidaa showed a rare quality of seductive tragedy and the film got Karisma enough critical notice. Said Benegal, “Karisma trusted the director completely. There was no resistance from her.”
5. Shakti: The Power (2002) : A powerful performance in an over-violent film copied from the Sally Field starrer Not Without My Daughter. The boundless brutality of Shakti took viewers all over the country by surprise. Despite being passed with an Adults Only certificate, children made a beeline for the film because of Karisma Kapoor’s presence. Shakti which opened to housefull boards nationwide slumped on the fourth day. The obscene volume of violence against women is the obvious reason. In the Telugu original, Karisma’s role was played by Soundarya (she starred opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Sooryavansham). Nana Patekar’s role of the obnoxious and aggressive father-in-law was portrayed by Prakash Raj, who plays a bit part of a hired assassin in Shakti. Director Krishna Vamsi is a former assistant of Ram Gopal Varma