Character Building

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The nominations for 19th Annual Colors Screen Awards show that stars are opting for strong characters in supporting roles that will put their talent to test and bring them acclaim

For the screen adaptation of his acclaimed Gujarati play Kanji Virudh Kanji, director Umesh Shukla had signed on Paresh Rawal to play the atheist Kanji Lalji Mehta. But the debut director could not find the right actor to play the role of God in the film titled OMG: Oh My God!. He had always liked the chemistry Rawal shared with Akshay Kumar on screen and it was their comfort level which prompted Shukla to approach the star — also the producer of the film — for the character.

"Akshay was keen only to produce the film. But we offered him the role because he could very well personify God in a modern avatar. At the same time, the film could redefine the way people view Akshay and Paresh together since they have only done slapstick comedies together in the past," explains Shukla. Kumar's performance, which won critical acclaim as the film went on to become a huge hit, has bagged a nomination in the Best Actor in Supporting Role (Male) category at the upcoming 19th Annual Colors Screen Awards.

The films that released in 2012 strongly indicate the rise of content over star power. They also point out that Bollywood's A-list actors are now willing to play memorable characters that may not be central but will offer them scope to portray their skills. Sanjay Dutt stepped into the rather large shoes of one of Bollywood's iconic villain, Kancha Cheena in the Agneepath remake in the beginning of the year. For Diwali, he turned adversary to Ajay Devgn in Son of Sardaar. The former role has got him a nomination in the Best Actor in Negative Role category. Giving him tough competition is Rishi Kapoor, who plays Rauf Lala in Agneepath, and Bipasha Basu, another prominent Bollywood star, for her character as an insecure actor in Raaz 3. "Actors such as Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor are at a stage in their careers where they have little to lose. Also, they have the maturity and experience that allows them to experiment with characters," points out Karan Malhotra, who directed Agneepath.

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